ONE of Scotland’s only women chief constables has ordered her force’s hard-boiled male officers to get in touch with their feminine side.
Norma Graham, the head of Fife Police, is planning “emotional intelligence” seminars and an end to ill-fitting boiler suits for females.
Chiefs have also provided specialist absence management training “to promote understanding of women’s health and maternity concerns”.
The initiatives are revealed in a report called “Gender Representation in Fife Constabulary”, which was produced to “identify potential barriers to gender equality within specialist roles” at the force.
The moves, which follow growing concern about political correctness within the Scottish police service, were today branded a potential waste of time.
But the force – in common with many in Scotland– seems determined to drive out the boorish, macho culture of policing immortalised in TV shows such as Life on Mars.
The report reveals that “work is ongoing within the force with the development of an emotional intelligence seminar”.
It will be targeted at officers working at the high-pressure, sharp end of policing, such as firearms, road traffic, searches, and detective work.
The seminars are likely to cost thousands of pounds to deliver as the report makes clear they will involve an “outside agency specialist”.
“First and second line managers” are being targeted for the sessions, which will help officers to better understand their own feelings and others’.
The study also reveals that female officers are disadvantaged by some of the clothing issued to police.
Boiler suits, as well as knee and shin pads designed to fit men, were “too large to fit women”.
And the force’s overalls are “one-piece” making it “far more difficult for female officer to go to the toilet that their male colleagues”, says the study.
The report author recommended changes. He said: “There is a general feeling that the uniform offered by specialist units is a ‘one size fits all’.
“The force should carry out an investigation to ensure appropriately sized uniforms are made available to female officers in specialist units to show they are valued and provided with serviceable and fitted clothing that allows them to do their job effectively and also maintains the professional image of the force.”
But Scottish Conservative justice spokesman David McLetchie, MSP, fears little useful will be achieved.
He said: “I sincerely hope that this is not another touchy feely course and that it will actually prove to be beneficial to police officers.”
Mr McLetchie added: “These skills could be of use in some of an officer’s duties such as in the interrogation of suspects and I hope that this course actually helps them and proves not to be a waste of time.”
Ian Kelly of UK Men’s Aid, a group which campaigns against anti-male culture, dismissed the whole notion of emotional intelligence, defined as a skill or ability to identify, assess and control your own emotions, those of others and groups.
He said: “I don’t understand what emotional intelligence is supposed to mean. Emotion is sadness or joy.
“Each gender is in the force to carry out a particular task and therefore that should be the job to be done. If the person is not emotionally suitable to do the job they shouldn’t be doing it.”
A Fife police spokesman said: “This report is part of Fife Constabulary’s work striving to deliver a diverse workforce which includes gender equality.
“The force is committed to ensure functions, policies and procedures are inclusive and non-discriminatory.
He added: “Some of the recommendations, such as ensuring that the correct size of overalls issued to female police officers, have since been taken on board and once again without cost implications.”
The force refused to provide any details of when the seminars would take place or how much they would be likely to cost.
When Norma Graham became the head of Fife Police in 2008 she admitted that some women people from minorities still faced “difficult times” in the Scottish police service.
However, she added: “I’ve been involved in policing from the age of 16 and I have done a variety of jobs in different roles. At no time have I felt I have been subject to any direct or indirect sexism.”
Earlier this year it emerged that Tayside Police have warned staff to stop using the phrase “manning the phone” to try and avoid accusations of sexism.
Officers are instead told to say “staffing the phone”.
The word “lady” has also been banned by the force unless used in conjunction with the word gentlemen, according to a Tayside language guide.