Dr Ian Hesketh

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Senior Policy Adviser, College of Policing

Ian joined the police at the age of 20 in 1989, having completed a British Aerospace apprenticeship as an electrician. He went on to add an MBA in Business Administration (Executive) (2011) and a PhD in Management (2016), -both from Lancaster- to his name, plus a teaching qualification. He is also an Honorary Researcher at Lancaster University Management School, with a focus on police wellbeing and leadership.

Find out more about Ian’s role in the Police force here.

As part of his MBA, Ian did a study on Advanced Strategic Leadership with course director Prof Steve Kempster. This led to work with Assistant Chief Constable of Lancashire Police Tim Jacques to develop modelling tools to apply the leadership techniques to the force. Developing these ideas Ian realised that the key to success would be the wellbeing of the workforce. Following on from his MBA he decided that Lancaster University seemed to provide him with a learning experience with which he could really excel.

Such was his enjoyment that he decided to carry on with a PhD in Management and Social Psychology, during which he studied wellbeing in policing, focusing on the efficacy of personal resilience programmes and the role of leaders, supervised by distinguished academic Professor Sir Cary Cooper and Dr Jon Ivy, both of whom he speaks about with the highest praise: "The secret was in the supervision, it was superb. I know people studying at other universities who were abandoned to their own devices."

He considers that the staff and the environment made it the perfect place to undertake a PhD. He talks with warm regard about the great people at LUMS and the fantastic atmosphere they create for further development, along with the first class reputation for notable research.

Out of this research emerged Ian’s new concept of ‘Leaveism', describing the phenomena of employees using flexitime, annual leave and rest days, rather than taking sick leave. Since then he has written a series of papers with his former supervisors, developing the concept.

It was not only about study. As a member of Lonsdale College, Ian threw himself into being a Student Ambassador at the University, a Management School PhD Representative and a mentor.

Although his PhD research is finished, he continues to expand the boundaries, with an enhanced confidence to speak on subject areas with authority. He often works with Cary Cooper and Jon Ivy, and has published a number of academic papers, as well as being commissioned to write two books on the subject. His current research interest is to look at resilience in policing and whether it can be taught, given that police are considered to be a hardy bunch, he says. The policing and the research complement each other, with the latter being carried out in his spare time.

He has also worked with police in executive positions that are interested in wellbeing, to set up a police leadership course at Lancaster University. This gives senior leaders an evidence base from which to operate from and has been a huge success; and very popular with participants. He wants to see it extended across the country. Says Ian: "We need to prove the optimal way forward, not having the highest-ranking officer making a decision on little evidence."