The Police Service of Northern Ireland consists of about 13,000 police and civilian members patrolling throughout 29 district commands in Northern Ireland.
On November 1, 2001, the long-standing and historically well-known “Royal Ulster Constabulary” (RUC) became the Police Service of Northern Ireland to ensure that the predominantly Protestant police service hired and maintained an equal proportion of Catholic members. This transition was viewed as essential to ensure a balance of religious backgrounds in all members of the police service.
The history of conflict in Northern Ireland, much of it historically directed at the police, had created a culture of division and a tremendous challenge for the new police service, a challenge where a new vision of leadership change would be critical. Such leadership change would have to focus on behavioural issues rather than structural or process issues.
The Grid Solution
To ensure that the focus of the new service would be more on behavioral changes than process changes, PSNI chose Grid as the obvious best solution.
In the spring of 2003, a proposal to hold joint police and community roundtables was accepted and a year-long rollout was put in motion. The Irish Republic Police (known as the Garda Siochana), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Swedish Police Service and Latvian National Police, government officials and community members, other public sector employees and even members of the England’s well-known Centrex Police College attended with PSNI members.
The chief constable and his entire senior command team, both police and civilian, completed roundtables after hearing one consistent message from their members: “The chief constable and his team must complete this program if it is going to have a lasting effect on our organisation.”
The benefits across the service from having the initial 500-plus members attend the program have been spectacular, and a five-year plan for completing a critical mass of the present 13,000 members has been put in place. The top team has stated that Grid solutions would be PSNI’s change model for leadership development, problem solving, and decision making into the future. In addition, members of the Department of Education, the University of Ulster, and others also have decided to implement similar development using Grid solutions.
According to member feedback, Grid solutions have not only been the best employee and leadership development programs they have ever undertaken, but the programs have really changed their lives. Most commented that the programs would forever change the way they approached decision-making and problem solving in both their daily work and home lives.
The director of the Police College of Northern Ireland had this to say about Grid: “I have now been in policing and education for 32 years, and I have never seen a more beneficial and pragmatic program than…Grid.“
- Police Service of Northern Ireland
- Northern Ireland