“There are no bad people, just bad thinking habits”

18 May 2016

That was the message from Dr Peter Jones speaking about Unconscious Bias at the Annual Police Federation Conference in Bournemouth.

A Chartered Psychologist and Chartered Scientist Dr Jones has delivered presentations about the subject to various police forces across the country.

Explaining that people process information both consciously (slowly, rule driven and limited in resources) and unconsciously (automatically, fast and intuitively driven) at the same time, he told the audience that comparative data, available for the first time, showed Unconscious Bias in policing shows a low gender leadership bias compared to other services such as the NHS, Financial Services and Academia.

He went on to explain the many ways in which managers can address unconscious bias’ and identify them at an early stage. This included recognising when officers, staff or people themselves are likely to be rushed, stressed, anxious, tired or hungry when making decisions.

Ending the session discussing the impact Unconscious Bias could have on stop and search, Dr Jones suggested that officers should slow down, consider the mitigating effect their decision making will have, think about roles model even and finally, talk about it.

Other top tips include:
Watch for triggers – Be able to recognise when a police officer is stressed, tired or anxious
Extend your networks – Work with a wider group of people, take up invitations to events where you can so that you can get to know your colleagues.
Talk about it and walk that walk – Always talk about unconscious bias and whenever you can, attend any key networking community events.