Meet The Beat – Inspector Simon Guilfoyle, Low Hill Police Station, Wolverhampton LPU
In this Meet The Beat interview I put some questions to Inspector Guilfoyle who is currently a neighbourhood policing supervisor working on the Wolverhampton LPU.
How long have you been in the job and what have you done before you joined your current role?
I joined West Midlands Police in 1995. Prior to my current posting I was the Wolverhampton City Centre Inspector, and before that I was the force lead for Community Resolutions. Before that I worked at various stations doing mainly response policing or neighbourhood roles.
Why did you join the police? What had you done before joining?
I joined the police to help people, make a difference and catch baddies. Prior to joining I was a cocktail barman at the world-renowned ‘5th Nightclub’ in Walsall.
Tell us about your current role, where do you work, what do you do and what does the work involve?
I’m based at Low Hill, Wolverhampton, responsible for the North East sector, which includes Wednesfield, Heathtown, Fallings Park, Low Hill & The Scotlands, Bushbury North, Oxley and Pendeford. My role as Sector Inspector ranges from meeting with partners to going out on patrol round the area.
Why did your current role appeal to you?
In true policing tradition, it appealed to me because I was posted here! (Actually, given a choice of the sectors I’d have chosen this one anyway. It’s got everything).
What’s your shift pattern like?
On paper it’s Monday-Friday office hours, although fortunately I don’t think I’ve ever worked a week sticking to that pattern. I choose to work some lates or come in early to go out on warrants etc when workload permits. I also provide 24/7 shift cover when needed, working earlies/lates/nights.
What are your favourite parts about your role and the job in general?
Getting good results. Seeing the teams making a difference. Getting good feedback from partners and members of the community. I also like getting out and about with the troops.
Is there anything you don’t like about your job or is there anything you’d change?
Yes and yes. In my opinion we need to do more to reduce inefficient processes, such as the requirement to produce detailed plans for activities that amount to little more than daily business. I’ve studied systems (which is more interesting than it sounds), and there’s a lot we could change about our organisation that would result in a more efficient operating model and better service for the public. Check out my blog for more.
Let’s talk paperwork and files – is it proportionate to the work we do or do you think some of it is unnecessary?
I’m not going to pretend I’ve done a court file for a few years so wouldn’t know about that, but in terms of paperwork, yes I do think it often becomes disproportionate. This problem extends beyond our own organisation and has its root cause in organisational risk aversion, i.e. ‘cover your back’. Unfortunately, we will continue to record excessive amounts of information on a ‘just in case’ basis, until such time as this culture is eradicated.
Are you happy staying where you are or are there other roles in the police you’re interested in?
I enjoy my current role. Apart from a few years on the shift when I was a PC I don’t think I’ve held down a post for much more than a year! (Dunno what that says about me). When you become a supervisor you tend to get move round a lot more. I remember thinking after I joined the job that my first team was my entire world. Your perspective changes as you go along. There are other jobs I’d be interested in doing in principle, but won’t say what they are in case I get headhunted within days…
What would you say has been the most memorable thing you’ve done or been involved with since you joined the police?
Too many to say. At one end of the scale, designing and implementing Community Resolutions for the force (and other forces) was a real high point as it has made such a difference to victims of crime, as well as having wiped out a load of unnecessary internal bureaucracy. At the other end of the spectrum, earlier this year I disarmed a knife man who had just stabbed someone five times then pulled the knife on me. That was interesting.
The police stereotype is that we all love doughnuts and coffee – is it true?
Nope. I can’t remember the last time I ate a doughnut.
Have you ever done any of the following – foot chase across rooftops, driven through a pile of cardboard boxes down a narrow alley, had a rough shift with a partner who only had one day until retirement?
1. No comment. 2. No comment. 3. No.