Monday, 29 October 2012

Zero Tolerance to Zero Tolerance

Last week I watched the TV programme 999: What's Your Emergency. When I saw PC Claire van Deurs Goss putting on lip gloss I thought it was a bit strange as she was driving at the time and some drivers go to court if they are not giving enough attention to their driving. The officer said that "lipstick is more effective than a Taser" when dealing with some dangerous situations. That may be the case but driving may be fairly dangerous when you don't give it your full attention. She was disciplined.

So how would you manage this situation? Would you say that the officer was in control of her vehicle and she is quite right when she talks about her attitude to policing? Lip gloss is important. Maybe you would say that this officer was setting a bad example but she was in control and you as the manager should be seen to do the right thing and make an example of her. Maybe you think that there should be 'zero tolerance' to driving without due care and attention and she should lose her job.

I don't agree with the last scenario but you often hear about zero tolerance and I never quite know what it means. Does it mean lock them up and throw away the key or does it mean an apology will suffice? The people who use the phrase want to be seen as tough but they don't know what they mean by zero tolerance and neither does anyone else.

We are going to hear this phrase many times in the run-up to the Police and Crime Commissioner elections. I would like to ban the phrase 'zero tolerance' as it is meaningless. There should be zero tolerance to zero tolerance.

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