I've been reading some interesting stuff about Job Stress and how your occupation actually changes the way you think. This is not related to police work in particular but all different roles. The pressures exerted by management the role itself and by colleagues actually changes your perceptions and behaviours and makes you act in certain ways. It is fascinating stuff and got me thinking about how I might have changed in my views over the years.
I don't know how you would measure it, as we don't do Psychometric testing as a rule. If we did my old friend Dandelion would say we recruit complete psychopaths. We no doubt will have a few lurking in our midst but have they been created by this job? They are outnumbered presently in my opinion by weak willed individuals employed through a catch all recruiting process.
My class at training school completed one of those Psychometric tests just as a laugh. I took it seriously and answered it truthfully. You might know the type, numerous questions where you have to agree or disagree in the strongest terms or not to a particular statement. I can't remember many but your views on religion were sought. I strongly disagreed on that one. There was also one on liking fires - and as I'd set fire to the next door neighbours dustbin as a child I strongly agreed.
It was so long ago that the results were plotted on a graph and shown on an overhead projector, which was cutting edge technology at the time. The instructor showed that most of the class were within the expected range of normality. The only graduate in the class was over on the left with liberal views which was also normal for somebody with that education and thinking. He then moved the sheet to reveal a little cross off the scale on the edge of the universe which was mine. Apparently Genghis Khan should have been where Jupiter was and there was me out alone on Pluto. I like to think I'm different and didn't have any desire to join the rest of the class on planet Earth or the graduate on Mercury. As I'd just left HM forces I don't think that result was actually so shocking. I'd just had three years of ingrained discipline and training put through me and would have followed any order without question, including killing. I had been moulded into what the Army wanted. In reality I painted a lot of things green but that button was there to be pressed.
Several year's later, on my Sergeant's course we did another one. This was a bit different with similar statements but based around Team Task and Individual. To become the ideal manager you had to have a fair balance of three circles overlapping when they were plotted. I'd cheated a bit as I didn't go so strong on the strongly agree or disagrees. The result however showed me as the perfect leader. Looking back I was pretty hot at the time work wise and the personal life was only just going bent.
Ten years further on and I must be due another one. If I'd taken it a couple of years back god only knows what would have shown up. I would like to think I'm actually more centred and open today. As a result I trust nobody and that includes management at work and our government.
I think the only role the police use these for are undercover operatives. I believe there is a 3 hour Psychometric and a psychiatric assessment to be passed before being selected for training. I've often wondered why they don't do this for firearm's roles. I've seen a few "red misters" go onto specialised jobs with guns.
As I near the end of my career I do so a bit battered and bruised both physically and mentally. I am however aware of how I came to be here. My old man always said the job will flog a willing horse till it drops and I think he is right. Hopefully I'll be able to steer a few away from making my mistakes. To do so they will have to change and understand that your job is not your life. You are unlikely to change the world but you can change yourself.