I forwarded a link to a retired American police officer friend and below is his lightly edited reply. I was unsure whether the phenomena Dom refers to were seen in the USA too. His reply:

An interesting and on-point article!

Some stand out thoughts I had while reading it:

Clonelike (I’ll call them “bobble heads”) exist (and are maybe even prevalent) to some extent in all police administrations, as well as in career politicians, school and hospital administrations… and gangs… and even church administrations of all denominations. Yes there are halls of power throughout.

Free-thinkers — and especially free-speakers — need not apply. “Don’t rock the boat baby!”

toxicity* (You bet!) but in varying degrees found in most if not all organizations (as referenced above.)

* I will define toxicity as in any present state of existence that is not growing and expanding to the positive.

Why - at this point - did I think of Sir Robert Peel‘s principle of “the best measure of police is the absence of crime.“? That is primarily why we are in the business I’d say. (I.e., reducing crime, reducing fear of crime and enhancing quality of life!) But that is more a reflection on the relationship between police and their respective communities as well. (How is that working for us? Not well at all here in American cities.)

High fliers… there is nothing wrong with aspiring to improve and move towards the top, if so desired… Yet doing it for the right selfless reasons; not the “prize of national recognition.”

Those that do not have this selfless ethics I will call piranhas and when one “swims with piranhas,“ you best survive by becoming a piranha.

So, to answer your question, yes, this happens in the USA and I would venture to say in every region of the world.

Yet – and this is most critical my friend – you find many pockets of selfless officers… And thankfully they are the ones doing 90% of the work! (same with nurses and teachers, etc.) 😊

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Thanks David, a wise reply. This resonates especially:

'Those that do not have this selfless ethics I will call piranhas and when one “swims with piranhas,“ you best survive by becoming a piranha.'

The bullied often become bullies and I suspect toxic management is no different.

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Tell me about it, 26 years in…8 to go. Now getting inspirational for the ‘ almost ‘ dash for retirement cash !

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Was always in awe of those wily old sergeants who slide into the rank of inspector with two years to go, like a stunt driver hoofing a car into an impossibly tight parking space. You can't teach it.

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Just before I retired in 2002 I helped author an HMIC report called Open All Hours on the subject of reassuring the public by having open police stations, attending more incidents, answering the phone promptly, and engaging with the public. It’s still available online, have a look at it.

It was written by a team of officers with lots of street experience and came up with many practical recommendations for improving police/public contact.

Twenty years later most of it has been ignored in favour of spending the effort on the Rainbow Nation and investigating Facebook.

I’m glad I didn’t have to stay on.

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