There are those who have the natural propensity to act authentically when given a part in a play, however different from their reality. There are those who stumble over the thought of becoming another character, especially when outside of their comfort zone. Well, the latter was me during the last round of police interviews.
The MET currently operates on the basis of involving community assessors in the senior interview process for Borough Commanders, Chief Superintendents and Superintendents positions. Community assessors can include magistrates, those in council office and senior leaders working at a Borough level. The process is thorough, fair and open hence being involved has been both a privilege and an eye opener.
Training is given each time the next round of interviews take place. All community assessors are brought together at police headquarters and fully briefed as to the rigorous process, scenarios outlined and tasks explained so that the assessors know how to work with and support the MET during the interview process. Having been involved in interviewing in a variety of contexts, I was looking forward to hearing about the latest process. Then the killer blow came. I had to role play!
I went cold. I felt sick. How on earth could I role play in an interview? I was going to be one of three characters – either a leader of a mosque or council leader following a terrorist attack or senior citizen community leader following a murder. All the relevant and appropriate information was distributed and all I had to do was act.
I was reassured by my fellow assessor who had conducted at least seven days of interviews so I felt grateful to be placed with someone who was experienced. We were then given our papers and scenario for the day and as we could not take any briefing notes away with us due to confidentiality, we speedily read the material again to ensure we knew what to do.
So then it was clear – I was a senior citizen community leader following a murder and had to act angry and scared as I faced a potentially brand new Borough Commander in a briefing. The grilling questions were designed to be purposefully challenging and seeing potential senior police leaders under enormous pressure, authentic.
But beneath the professional, sharp and sometimes guarded exteriors, the police are like you and me – human, loved by God, faults and all. Perhaps some of the most poignant occasions were ones where conversations with those officers, involved in interviewing with us, would open about life, the universe and everything. Jesus came to our world to bring love and reconciliation between humankind and God where relationships had been fractured and broken due to our own selfishness, greed and pride. So we must always be open to give a reason or answer for the why we believe what we do and live as others witness. “Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.” 1 Peter 3:15
Author – Linda Ward.