Dear Professor Foskett,
I know that this will not be the only letter that you receive on this subject, but I wanted to add my own voice to others who will be raising concerns about the potential loss of the Centre for Professional Ethics at Keele. I missed your own input at the seminar on Ethics in Policing in the Autumn, but I know that you shared your own pride, on behalf of Keele, in the centre of excellence that PEAK provides. You were right to do so and the seminar on ethics in policing was a major first for the UK police service, which has frankly been slow to take ethics to its core.
I know that you will have some extremely difficult choices to make about where and how to make cuts. Having just stepped out of my role at the head of the National Policing Improvement Agency I know that you are not alone in having to make cuts on a scale that few of us in the public service have experienced.
One of the obvious ways of judging areas for cuts is to reflect on whether they are likely to be critical for the future. I have have just completed a Review of Police Leadership and Training for the Home Secretary. The final report will present a radically different view of police training and leadership development with ethics as one of the strands given a much higher profile and a new, central role for Higher Education. It is clearly up to Keele University to decide whether it wants to continue to compete for business in this area, but I would judge that the Centre has just made a timely investment of effort in an area where ethics are about to become central to a new professionalism. I think you would be premature to decide to close the Centre before you have had a chance to reassess the landscape in the light of the Review. Moreover, I judge that policing will not be the only professional area that will find a renewed focus on ethics attractive in the new era of localism and distributed power.
It is clearly your choice. If there is anything that I can do personally to assist your choice in due course, then please get back to me.
Peter Neyroud QPM
Doctoral Researcher, Institute of Criminology,
Cambridge University, CB3 9DA
General Editor, Policing: a Journal of Policy and Practice
Peter Neyroud Research Associates Limited
Registered Company no. 7321631