BRAIN FOOD: Unlikely managers - Customs officer

BRAIN FOOD: Unlikely managers - Customs officer - HM CUSTOMS & EXCISE, SOUTHEAST BRIGADE, DOVER

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

HM CUSTOMS & EXCISE, SOUTHEAST BRIGADE, DOVER

Name Chris Wolley

When did you become a manager?

I first became a team leader 25 years ago. I am now operational manager in Detection - we detect the smuggling of prohibited items. There are 12 officers in each team, six teams altogether.

What does management mean to you?

It means being an active manager - I go out with one team a day a week to communicate overall strategies from higher managers to the troops. I have to be very supportive of my frontline troops, who often get a lot of abuse. Sometimes the pressures on them are phenomenal - for instance, a lorry driver who has been found smuggling and turns violent. You need to diffuse the situation, arbitrate, and deal with complaints.

What do you love/hate about it?

I love the variety - we're waterborne and landborne and cover a large area. I hate dealing with people who aren't performing too well. In the civil service nowadays, there aren't too many avenues to send them down.

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