#WeCops - Wednesday 8th February 2023 9pm (GMT Standard Time) The role of active bystanders in reducing harm in Policing

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This chat is guest hosted by @Graham_Goulden @MrGerryCampbell

At this time UK police is under the spotlight and in many cases the criticism is justified.  The recent criminality exposed within the profession has sent shockwaves across the country with many asking how we can trust any police officer.  The types of offending and misconduct makes this especially true for girls and women.


Whilst wider society has been shocked the same can be said for most other police officers who quite simply feel let down by a minority of harm-doers.  A police officer is, as they say the face of the police service.  


What can be done to build trust and confidence in our profession?  What can be done to help officers act to reduce the harm from these behaviours? Whilst much of current focus is on rooting out the ‘bad un’s’, academia presents policing with an opportunity to help officers act early to reduce harm.  Despite the frustration of the many we know that any culture will be defined by the worst behaviours it is willing to accept.


For many years police critics have complained that officers who allow police misconduct to happen do more damage to the community’s trust than the officers who commit it. Yet they have not been a focus. Officers across the country have been told they must intervene, but they have not necessarily been taught how to do so.


Peer intervention is a tool that will support policing.  The discussion will present opportunities for participants to discuss the ongoing issues as well as learning more about the role that peer intervention and active bystander-ship can play in both supporting them, their communities, and police forces across the country.  The discussion will also be an opportunity to share results from an ongoing pilot of this work within a UK Police Force.





Graham Goulden is a retired Scottish police officer who spent the last 8 years of his career as a Chief Inspector within the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit.  In this period, he became a passionate advocate of the bystander approach to help reduce harms in communities and against individuals.  In retirement he now works across public and private sector organisations using this approach to help build safe and supportive workplace culture.  


Along with Gerry Campbell, a retired Detective Chief Superintendent from the Metropolitan Police he has designed the AS1 Peer Intervention programme to support UK policing.  Using the ‘science of prevention’, his experience both in the UK and working with policing in the United States, Graham says the role of active bystanders in policing are critical in both ‘turning the tide’ around current the media narrative as well as building trust and confidence in policing.