Police officers should get 20 minutes a week to reflect on what they have done over that period and this would help to improve their performance levels, according to a report by the Royal Society for Arts (RSA).

The ‘Reflexive Coppers’ report said that officers had to change too quickly between roles, such as community work, talking to families, supporting rape victims and dealing with rioters.

Wanting to promote a “self-reflective” culture, the report said: “Police are rarely given the chance to reflect on the kind of tensions and dilemmas that stem from this dual aspect of their role, and the operational and personal challenges that relate to the psychological underpinnings of their behaviour.”

The report recommended that there should be “a series of small changes such as encouraging officers to take a short time (around 20 minutes) every week to explicitly reflect on their decisions, habits and attention, and perhaps begin promoting the value of this to senior officers so that this would not have to be done on their own time”.

The RSA’s Dr Jonathan Rowson said: “The quality of police interactions with each other, with the public, criminals and victims of crime all depend upon their capacity to better understand their own minds and the minds of the people they deal with.

“The police service might benefit from tools for self-examination beyond standard professional training, including the development of a shared language to talk about how and when self-awareness connects to recurring challenges at work.”