17 Year Old Recruits. Is This What Policing Needs?

There was an article in The Thunderer, and others, yesterday announcing that recruitment into the Police Service will be opened up to 17 year olds. This seems to have quite literally polarised the world of Social Media.

Personally I’m opposed to it. The main reason that I am opposed to it is one of Life Experience. I was 19 when I joined, and 20 by the time I first hot the mean streets of North West London. with the benefit of hindsight I’m not certain that I was adequately equipped. I had survived 16 weeks at Hendon, none of this Distance Learning, CBT Malarkey, then 2 full days per month local training until I had completed my first two years.

Do I think I was adequately prepared? No, but not because I hadn’t been sufficiently trained, but because I didn’t have sufficient life skills and experience to back it up. All the time I was paired up with a senior Constable all was well. The senior Constables and some of the Sergeants and Inspectors were brilliant, they also patrolled the streets, they knew what me and the (very few) other recruits needed and we were properly tutored and mentored. I get the distinct impression that would not be feasible today.

In the other corner is a group that I assume includes a number of serving officers who are ex military. They quite reasonably point out that we recruit 16 year olds into the military, train them, then send them off to foreign parts to fight and possibly die. That is absolutely correct and I can understand why it is used as an argument against me. The difference, in my view, is that they fight as a unit, under close supervision on the battlefield, and in company with soldiers, sailors, airmen, far more experienced than they are. Police Officers can find themselves either alone, or part of a team of only 2, who are faced with anything from a difficult domestic dispute to a rampant, machete-wielding murderer, at close quarters. Once again it’s just my opinion, and I accept that there will be contrary opinions out there.

Also lining up against me, unsurprisingly, is the Collage (sic) of Policing. They most definitely think it’s a good idea, but they would wouldn’t they, they have to help Boris reach his target of 20,000 extra officers. At 17 years old they can’t possibly be Graduates but I can see the attraction of the Apprenticeship root, hopefully leading to a degree but without the Student Loan. I can’t help but wonder how many of them will hang around once they’ve got their Degree, as we all know that a Degree does not have to be relevant to a particular profession to get you a job.

The College of Policing said: “Reducing the age you can apply to be a police officer from 18 to 17 means the police service is able to recruit from the biggest possible pool of people at a time when it is looking for an unprecedented number of new officers.

“The restriction on 17-year-olds applying, particularly through the police apprenticeship route, meant the service could potentially have been losing good candidates to other careers.”

I’m not sure about that last sentence but it will certainly make it easier for Boris to reach his 20,000. I’m not convinced that the Collage should be a positive part of that, smacks of getting involved with Politics to me. I’d rather they came up with some innovative ways to improve grass roots Policing than made Boris’ life a little more comfortable.

Apart from anything else, these 17 year old recruits won’t even be old enough to get a round in at the bar. A minor issue I agree, but it makes one think.

Finally, this scheme does nothing to address the problem of mid service officers leaving the serving early. Retention is rapidly becoming a huge problem and one that does not appear to be being adeqately addressed.

I refer you back to a recent piece wot I wrote. https://retiredandangry.co.uk/the-ever-thinning-blue-line

The number of Voluntary Resignations as a percentage of all Leavers is rising. The 5 worst affected Forces individually, and I have no idea why, were Bedfordshire at 65%, Kent at 53%, Surrey at 52%, Northamptonshire at 49% and Cambridgeshire at 45%.

Those are stunning figures, and whilst they represent the 5 worst affected Forces, it does not make comfortable reading for anyone with an interest in Policing.

So, I leave you with this thought. Which ‘solution’ would be better for Policing? 17 year old recruits or solving the Retention problem?

Direct Entry Supernintendos & Inspectorators – An Analysis

This week has seen the publication of an assessment of the College of Policing’s Direct Entry Scheme for Superintendents and Inspectors. Before I go any further it is only fair and reasonable to point out that it was written by Isla Campbell and Sarah Colover.  Isla Campbell is Staff Officer to the CEO of the College of Policing, Mike Cunningham,  and Sarah Colover is a/the Senior Research Officer at the College of Policing, a position she has held for a little over 5 years.

You can find it here

I know absolutely nothing more about either of these two ladies.   It might be a fair and unbiased assessment.

I am endebted to ‘the real Sam Vimes’ for taking the time to wade through the treacle that is the College’s own assessment and extract the nuggets.  It has saved me the time of doing it, and I probably couldn’t have done a better job to be honest. For those of you who do Twatter you can find his thread here

 

For those of you that don’t Twat (or can’t be arsed) I’ll have a go at replicating the (really useful) thread below.

  • So finally the College has released it’s evaluation of Direct Entry and Fast Track. It’s worth analysing some of the facts buried in this report. Shall we take a dive into this headline scheme from the College of Policing….
  • Firstly let me caveat this by saying I have no ill feeling towards the individuals who put themselves forward for these schemes. Some DE are decent, some are awful. They stepped up to join and be counted and that isn’t nothing. This isn’t about whether people have degrees either.
  • It’s also interesting that DE and FT have been lumped together as they are in quite different schemes. But I suspect this is to cover the particular failings of DE by blending it with FT
  • So, this scheme that is supposed to revolutionise Policing, that the College still touts as a success, what has it cost and what have we actually gained? Well the cost is pretty easy to figure. 16 million quid.
  • ‘During 2014/15–2018/19 the spend on the FTDE programmes was almost £16 million. 40 % on DE Superintendent salaries; remaining £9.6 million funded design/delivery of the development programme overall including the core team, recruitment, marketing and business administration’
  • So that’s obviously a fair chunk of money. So what have we got? ‘As of June 2019, 401 individuals had joined a FTDE programme and 196 had successfully completed’ 62 FT External Insp; 98 FT Internal Insp; 25 DE Superintendents, 11 DE Insp) Nationwide, that’s tiny.
  • How about attrition rate? For External FT Insp 18 of 62 quit before completing. So that figure above is actually worse than stated. I haven’t had a chance to fully read the Supt report but I’m told out of 25 only 9 are left. These figures are shocking.
  • So, why is attrition so high? What were the challenges? Well to paraphrase the report. For FT Insp it was the jump to sergeant. Who knew that being a skipper was one of the hardest roles to do without experience. Hint: everyone knew.
  • What else, again, paraphrasing. Candidates were reliant on goodwill of others whilst learning and surviving once in post. Again, who would have thought that the only way many of these people would succeed was with help from people who had done their time. Hint: Everyone
  • What else? ‘Being classed as supernumery (not being on a teams numbers) allowed officers to focus on learning and pursue development opportunities’ Again big shock, not having to do a day job allows you to work on projects and pad your portfolio, WHO KNEW! Hint: well..you know.
  • How about it’s stated aim of increasing diversity? Well as far as I can tell as the figures only show applicants, not numbers who are still in the job (ie they are probably lower) currently 7% of Police are BAME and the much vaunted scheme has raised that to…….9%
 
  • Obviously this depends on what your goal is. My view is that if you get the same % of people joining as reaching senior rank this shows a level of equality, obviously for some they think an over representation at senior ranks rather than on the shop floor is better. TBH…
  • What is clear in the Met at least is that this aim of increasing diversity with FT at least has failed. I have worked for/with 6 FT Insp. All but 1 were middle class, well educated, white guys in their late 20s to early 30s. Sandhurst types one and all. Not bad ppl at all but…
  • f you took a photo of them you wouldn’t know they weren’t family. Clipped pronunciation, officer class with an eye on SLT, with an average of 2 years experience. Is this who we want in the most critical roles dealing with the gritty realities of UK crime? Is this diversity?
  • At the end, this gem ‘While there is not sufficient interest from forces to offer the programme in 2020, 10 forces have indicated they are likely to participate beyond 2020.’ Translation: oh mate, I’d love to but, would you believe it, I’ve forgotten my wallet. Next time deffo.
  • So out of 30+ only 10 want to continue? That’s near on 70% think your scheme is not worth having? How is that a success? In what possible light is that anything other than a failure?
  • I also think there is an issue with the sample size in drawing conclusions about how good the programme is. Out of more than 30 forces that ran the programme only 10 Chiefs wanted to be interviewed about it. If it created such brilliant talent why so much distancing?
  • So if we split the scheme into DE and FT the DE has certainly not been a storming success and Fast Track? Well what has that shown? That if we improve training, mentoring and opportunities we can develop our people. That’s just cost us 16 million quid to find out?!
  • 16 million quid to get an answer you could have found by asking any skipper or Guvnor up and down the country.
  • Last point. I AM NOT BASHING THE PEOPLE WHO SIGNED UP. Anyone who puts on the blue is a decent individual taking risk to try and serve their communties, however no amount of management speak and cherry picking figures from CoP can cover up that this was utter waste.

Many thanks to ‘Sam’, an almost Forensic dissection of the Direct Entry Scheme to date.  Please feel free to leave your own comments below.

More College Smoke And Mirrors?

A recent set of College of Policing Board minutes makes the bold claim that the Police Service will be recruiting 53,000 new officers over a three year period.

This presumably includes Boris’ famous 20,000 officers.

My problem is this, since 2005 (at least) the Police Service has never recruited more than 10,000 new officers in a single year. After 10 years of #Cuts, where the hell are the facilties for training all these officers? How good will their training actually be? Can we actually attract 53,000 new recruits, especially given Graduate and Apprenticeship Entry looming?

Para 4.2 of the attached minutes makes this bold claim, but does anyone actually believe it?

What The College Did Next by Enid Blyton

The only problem is that it’s not a children’s novel, it’s a reality, and it’s coming to a Police Force near you soon.

Not content with Graduate/Apprenticeship Entry as part of the grandly entitled Police Framework Education Qualifications scheme, they’ve snuck in Apprenticeship Entry for PCSOs.

A key feature of the new PCSO entry routes is an enhanced connection between professional learning and professional practice.

▪ Level 4 PCSO Apprenticeship entry programme (England) (the End-Point Assessment is only applicable to England).

▪ Level 4 PCSO Apprenticeship entry programme (Wales)  (details of the Apprenticeship Framework (identity number: FR04078) are via the link)

▪ Level 4 (non-apprenticeship) PCSO entry programme

Forces can work with different awarding bodies for you to gain this Level 4 qualification.  The professional curriculum covered and the level of professional education and competence you will achieved is identical.

▪ an Ofqual-regulated Awarding Organisation (in which case the qualification is titled a Level 4 Diploma in Community Policing Practice)

                Or

▪ a Higher Education Provider (in which case the qualification is titled a Level 4 HE Certificate in Community Policing Practice)

 

 Qualifications required and how do I apply?

Applications are submitted through your preferred force, and you should check eligibility and recruitment windows locally.  

The College of Policing’s web pages have further information about recruitment and the new police constable entry routes.

No, I don’t understand it, but one thing is for certain, the College are driving a Bulldozer through Sir Robert Peel’s famous qoute

The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

If the College carry on with their unpopular PFEQ programme they will have successfully transformed a once world-respected Police Service into a sorry, upper class, shadow of its former self.

I have no idea how many of you knew about this plan for PCSOs but I certainly didn’t before today.

I have been called a dinosaur, resistant to change, in the past, and I don’t always object to that. Dinosaur? If that means Old School then Yes. Resistant to change? Resistant to change for change’s sake. Yes.

I do hope the PCSOs’ union takes this up with the College.

#Degreegate 2.0

I find myself totally gobsmacked.  I thought that Degreegate had become just about as ludicrous and pointles as it could get, but I should have known better.

As we know, progressively, there will soon be ONLY 3 routes into the Police Service;

  • Apprenticeship. Join as a constable, and follow an apprenticeship in professional policing practice – you earn while you learn. This route normally takes three years with both on and off-the-job learning. On successfully finishing the programme, you complete your probation and achieve a degree.
  • Degree-holder entry. If you have a degree in any subject, you can join and follow a work-based programme, supported by off-the-job learning.  This route normally takes two years, and the learning you have undergone is recognised in a graduate diploma in professional policing practice when you complete your probation.
  • Pre-join degree. If you want to study first, you can do a three year degree in professional policing at your own expense, and then apply to a force and follow a shorter on-the-job training programme. Being a special constable can be included in this route.

Routes 2 and 3 require applicants to already hold a Degree of some kind and the Apprenticeship route requires applicants to obtain a degree at the conclusion of their Probationary period.

 

My ancient O Level in English Language leads me to believe that ultimately, one way or the other a Degree will be mandatory to join any of the Police Forces that adopt the College’s Policy of Graduate Entry.

 

That’s what I think anyway.

 

Yesterday the College published a lengthy thread on the subject on Twatter.

I’m sorry, it is long, but somewhere towards the end of it is this pearl of wisdom

So, there are no proposals to make a Degree mandatory for promotion up to and including, Chief Officer rank.  Well I’m sure that the Direct Entry Superintedents will be absolutely ecstatic with that news.

Firstly, how many Senior Officers above the rank of Inspector probably haven’t already got  degree?  Secondly, if it is becoming mandatory to either have or obtain a Degree at Constable level, over a period of time the Service will become 100% Graduate by default, natural wastage seeing thick old plebs gradually replaced by the College’s favourite Graduates.  The General Public is not 100% Graduate why should the Police Service be?  Why does it NEED to be?  Oh yes, Winsor, that was it.

I am fully aware that this is just my ‘unique’ slant on it, but all I can say is that I’m glad I’m not still serving and don’t have to put up with this bollocks (apologies folks).  If that make you happy College then I’m happy for you.

#Degreegate – The Votes Are In

It cannot have escaped your attention that there has been a lot a discussion on Social Media about the forthcoming Graduate Entry Scheme into the Police Service.

I will no doubt be described as “Dinosaur”, “Hating the College” or “Resistant to Change” by some other Policing Commentators, but, like them, I am entitled to an opinion, and I am entitled to express it.

I don’t ‘hate’ the College, or anybody there, I just happen to hold a different opinion to theirs. I am resistant to “Change for Change’s Sake” but not to change for a positive purpose.

At least one officer was of the opinion that I didn’t know what I was talking about, and that there was a route into the Police Service that didn’t require a Degree, the Apprenticeship.

The three routes in will be:-

Apprenticeship. Join as a constable, and follow an apprenticeship in professional policing practice – you earn while you learn. This route normally takes three years with both on and off-the-job learning. On successfully finishing the programme, you complete your probation and achieve a degree.

Degree-holder entry. If you have a degree in any subject, you can join and follow a work-based programme, supported by off-the-job learning.  This route normally takes two years, and the learning you have undergone is recognised in a graduate diploma in professional policing practice when you complete your probation.

Pre-join degree. If you want to study first, you can do a three year degree in professional policing at your own expense, and then apply to a force and follow a shorter on-the-job training programme. Being a special constable can be included in this route.

So, I did know what I was talking about, whichever route one chooses to follow to enter the Police Service, at some point, involves having or obtaining a Degree, thus making, in the fullness of time, the Police Service establishment 100% Graduate.

I have thought about this long and hard. Having completed 30 years service across a variety of roles including some specialist roles I do not feel that not having a Degree held me back in any way. However, I was the “Supervisors’ Nightmare”, a Career Constable by choice. I concede that there may be a case for officers to possess an appropriate and relevant Degree if they wish to progress beyond a certain rank, e.g. Inspector to Chief Inspector, but Street Duty, Front Line officers do not need to have a Degree to perform satisfactorily and make progress within the Service.

With this in mind I posted two very simple, and essentially similar, polls on Social Media. As I am sure you are aware on e the poll is unleashed onto SM it is entirely out of my control who answers the questions, what their occupation may be, or their views on Policing in general. In short, I don’t believe I can be accused of ‘fixing’ them.

The first poll was placed on Facebook and asked one simple question with a pre-defined choice of answers, Yes or No.

  • The College of Policing are making it a requirement of entry into the Police Service that all recruits either already have a Degree, or obtain one via an Apprenticehip. Is a Degree necessary?
  • No, don’t be daft, of course it isn’t
  • Yes, all modern day Police Officers need to have a Degree

Unfortunately not very many people voted in the Facebook poll but the results were clear:-

A grand total of 69 people voted, ALL of them voting NO.

The poll on Twitter was far more successful Again it was restricted to two questions, basically Yes or No.

3,756 votes were cast with only 4% voting in favour of 100% of the workforce possessing a degree

In tandem, and nothing to do with me, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary ran a very similar poll on Twitter. It has not yet closed but latest scores are

With nearly 3,000 votes cast their poll also shows that only 4% were in favour of Degrees for Police Officers

CONCLUSION

it is quite clear to me that there is no appetite amongst Police Officers or the Public to have mandatory degrees in the Police Service, at least not by the proposed methods.  Three polls over the weekend have all shown a level of support of no higher than 4%.  Perhaps now is a good time for the College of Policing to revisit this policy. Maybe they could engage the services of a reputable company and conduct their own National Poll and see if that produces a different result.

Whilst I was co-ordinating my two polls I became aware of a few issues that whilst relevant to Policing in general wheren’t totally specific to Degree Entry, although some most definitely were.

What happens to the (majority of?) officers currently serving who do not have a Degree?  Will they be left isolated, passed over for promotion or Specialist Roles?  For the next 35 years or so the Graduate Entry Scheme in ANY of its 3 guises will create a 2-Tier Police Service, the Haves and Have Nots.  I can’t believe that that is desirable to anybody outside College of Policing or National Police Chiefs Council. Why would it be?

It has been mooted by many (including me) that the skills and knowledge that Police Officers accumulate is quite possibly already at the same level as a Bachelors Degree, it has just never been formalised.  It was pointed out by one person that Level 6 NVQ is already equivalent to a Bachelors Degree, so why didn’t the Police Service take NVQs on board years ago?  Because at that time it was in nobody’s interest to make Policing a ‘Skilled profession’.  It is most certainly not an Academic Profession, not below the second floor anyway, but would lend itself perfectly to the NVQ route I would have thought.  Those that want to give up Policing and go on to Senior Management or the College of Policing would still be able to follow the Degree route if they chose.

As Police Officers approaching retirement we were told on oh so may occasions “you might not have a piece of paper but you have many ‘Transferrrable Skills’ that are highy valued in the workplace”.  Is/Was this true?  If so why aren’t those ‘Transferrable Skills’ sufficient for the College of Policing?  Why are they trying to fix something that might not be broken?

According to the Office of National Statistics only 42% of the adult population had a degree in September 2017. If the Police are the Public and the Public are the Police why do we demand that 100% of Recruits either possess or attain a Degree?

In the words of PCC Marc Jones

Put frankly these current proposals would push @lincspolice over the edge. The extra cost mean we could afford fewer Officers and the extractions would reduce it by 40-60 more. Simply unaffordable, undesirable and not thought through.

Finally, in relation to Policing in general, it has become apparent to me via many comments on Twitter responding to the poll, that there is a lot of anger in the community about the lack of Police resources and activity.  Many people have completely the wrong impression about Police Officers ‘sitting in their comfy offices and not wanting to report crimes or help victims of crime’.

I find a lot of Police I deal with now, spend more time trying to justify why the suspected perpetrator carried out the offense, rather than attempting to prosecute them. The Victims are often made to feel guilty for reporting crime, and are encouraged not to press charges.

I want coppers to do coppering, you know keeping order stopping criminal behaviour stuff like that.

Trying to grasp argument here. Is the crux we have apparently more than enough police but just sitting around waiting for things to happen rather than a proactive police force

While a fraction of those recruited into the #Police may of once had honourable intent over the course of their career pier pressure, paycheque mind control & bullying they are whittled down to accepting their fate, sitting out careers for their pensions like a mute sitar player

Plus many, many more in similar vein, or just rubbishing Graduate Entry generally (they’re on my TL somewhere).

PLEASE College of Policing, stall the Graduate Entry Scheme, undertake your own poll, engage with both operation officers and PFEW in an attempt to modify this madness into something will ultimately benefit the Service.

College of Policing, A Beacon of Transparency

It may be a surprise to some of you but I am not a huge fan of the Direct Entry Scheme for Inspectors and Superintendents into the Police Service. Sorry to shock you, but it’s true. I am, however, curious about it.

We hear quite a lot about it but I was never really sure what sort of numbers we were talking about. So I set about finding out.

A couple of Freedom of Information requests to the College of Policing should sort that out.

1. Nationally, how many Direct Entry Inspectors have been recruited

Answer:- 54 (since the programme started in 2016)

2. How many of these have subsequently resigned or been dismissed?

Answer:- Information is held but is considered to be exempt from disclosure by virtue of the exemption provided under section 40(2) of the FoIA. The figures recorded are low and disclosure combined with information available in the public domain, creates a risk of an individual being identified. For further information about the College’s application of section 40(2) please refer to Appendix A.

3. Nationally, how many Direct Entry Superintendents have been recruited?

Answer:- 32 (since the programme started in 2014

4. How many of these have subsequently resigned or been dismissed?

Answer:- Information is held but is considered to be exempt from disclosure by virtue of the exemption provided under section 40(2) of the FoIA for the reasons given above. For further information about the College’s application of section 40(2), please refer to Appendix A.

It seems that they’re quite keen to let me know how many have been recruited, but not so keen to let me know how many have dropped out or been ‘let go’. I find that quite startling really because the very next paragraph is:-

The College is committed to openness and transparency. To assist you in your enquiries and in the spirit of the FoIA, it may be helpful for you to know that the number of Direct Entry inspectors who have resigned or been dismissed is 10 or less.

And

The College is committed to openness and transparency. To assist you in your enquiries and in the spirit of the FoIA, it may be helpful for you to know that the number of Direct Entry superintendents who have resigned or been dismissed is 10 or less.

Personally I don’t find that terribly helpful or transparent, because it doesn’t really tell me anything concrete that I can work with. However, it does tell me:-

A) Up to 18.5% of Direct Entry Inspectors have fallen by the wayside one way or another since 2016.

B) Up to 31% of Direct Entry Superintendents have quit or been let go since 2014.

Is this just simply a ‘Healthy Churn’? Maybe it’s the College making good on their promise to help officers to leave and become Policing Ambassadors in the big, wide world.

Or maybe the Direct Entry Scheme simply doesn’t work for a large percentage of the people in it.

Just a thought. Without the College being so helpfully transparent it would have been almost impossible to assess how successful the scheme has been. I’m sure that the majority of serving Sergeants and Chief Inspectors awaiting promotion are suitably reassured.

Oh, and by the way, for the benefit of any #FOIA Geeks who want to know what Appendix A says about the College’s Refusal to comprehensively answer questions 2 and 4, enjoy:-

Section 40(2) FoIA – Personal Information (applied to items 4 and 5 of your request)

40

(2) Any information to which a request for information relates is also exempt information if- (a) it constitutes personal data which do not fall within subsection (1), and
(b) either the first or the second condition below is satisfied.

Under section 40(2) FoIA (by virtue of section 40(3A)), personal data of a third party can be withheld if it would breach any of the data protection principles to disclose it. Personal data is defined in section 3(2) of the DPA 2018 as:

‘any information relating to an identified or identifiable living individual’

Section 3(3) defines an identifiable living individual as ‘a living individual who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to –
(a) an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data or an online identified, or (b) one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of the individual’

The two main elements of personal data are that the information must ‘relate’ to a living person and that the person must be identifiable. Information will relate to a person if it is about them, linked to them, has some biographical significance for them, is used to inform decisions affecting them, and has them as its main focus or impacts on them in any way.

A figure representing the number of individuals whom have resigned or have been dismissed from the Direct Entry programme may not in itself constitute as personal data. However, the low numbers identified as a result of the searches conducted, if combined with information in the public domain or otherwise, creates a substantial risk of an individual being identified. As such, it is our view that the information in question is categorised as personal data.

The data protection principles are given under Article 5 of the GDPR. Article 5(1)(a) states that personal data shall be ‘processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to the data subject’. We consider that those attending the Direct Entry programme would have a reasonable expectation that certain information about them, held by the College, would not be disclosed further. The College has a duty of care towards those whose data we hold. It would not be fair and hence, a breach of Article 5, to put this information into the public domain without express consent having been given.

For your information, section 40(2) in these circumstances is an absolute exemption and there is no requirement for the public interest test to be considered.

Personally I can’t regard that as very ‘transparent’. I only know the identities of a handful of the recruits to this scheme, I’m certainly unaware of the identity of any who have dropped by the wayside. I only asked for a total number, how on earth I, or anyone else, could work out their identities from that is completely beyond me, but then I don’t have a degree, maybe that’s the reason.

Mixed Messages From @NPCC, @Police_Now @MetropolitanPolice and @CollegeOfPolicing?

I’m old, I’m confused and my brain hurts.

Firstly, the much-revered College of Policing has proposed completely shaking up the entry route into the Police Service;

The three proposals are

Proposal 1. Establish a qualifications framework for policing so that individuals can gain recognition that has meaning and credibility

Proposal 2. Opportunities for existing officers and staff to gain accredited and publicly recognised qualifications for their existing skills, if they wish to do so

Proposal 3. Develop three entry routes for new constables

undergraduate degree in policing

graduate conversion programme

higher level apprenticeships 

Hardly confusing at all, all about improving the professional image and status of Police Officers.  No bad thing per se but it fails to recognise that Police Officers already have a good, professional status but it does need to be formalised and recognised.

Then we have the Gold Service from much-vaunted Police Now.

To get with the Police Now programme, In brief, you will need to:

be between the ages of 18-57 on application

have lived in the UK for the last three years

have indefinite leave to remain and work in the UK

be working towards or have achieved a 2:1 at undergraduate degree level or non-UK equivalent

have received a GCSE grade C or above in English language and be fluent in the written and spoken word.

So, sign up to the flagship Police Now programme to fast track to tomorrow’s leaders.

The Metropolitan Police contributes to my eternal confusion by offering Direct Entry to the CID for Specials, and this is where I need some help.

Will the successful applicants from the ranks of the Specials become part-time detectives, as and when their main job permits?  Is this a back door into the Met and they will become warranted, Regular Tecs? 

If they remain as Specials will they need to be graduates first?  How do they fit in Detective Training School with their ‘proper’ jobs? If they don’t achieve some formal accreditation in Investigating Stuff their work will be torn up,for **** paper the first time they appear in Crown Court.

If this is actually back door DE entry as a Tec, this is surely demeaning the role of the traditional Constable.  He/She needs a Degree or equivalent, a Tec needs to be a Special with who knows what academic qualifications.

I am not against Specials, I knew some very good ones and counted them amongst my friends, but this is really worrying and confusing and urgently needs clarification.  The government has already tried bolstering the Armed Forces with Reservists and that did not go well.  Policing is too important to risk getting it wrong.

Not for nothing are some Tecs in the Met labelled Cops In Disguise.

Sort yourselves out please, all of the above, work together, openly, and come up with a sensible solution that is acceptable to current and future officers alike.

It cannot be impossibe.

Is The College Naive Or Am I Just Double Crusty?

All this talking about #DegreeGate got me thinking, took me off at a completely different tangent.

IF all new recruits (and I accept that is not finalised yet) have to have a degree then this is adding significantly to the recruit’s financial debts.

Regardless of their antecedents, any new recruit at whatever age will have whatever debts and baggage they have accrued according to their age and lifestyle.  So far so good, that is normal.

Under the new proposals they can apparently add up to £40,000 Student Loan debt to their previous total, more in London.

…..a typical student on a three-year course outside of London might expect to graduate with around £35,000-£40,000 of student loans.

So I asked the College a few questions on Twitter, and to my amazement I got some replies

I am indebted to at least one officer who has assured me that he/she was accepted into the Service with £20k Student Loans, but we all know that nothing is ever certain in life and one could be 100% confident that the debts are manageable and then a Tory government comes along and changes your financial security at the stroke of a pen.  We have seen that already since 2010.

To quote from the Unmanageable Debt Process

Debt that becomes unmanageable can place police officers and members of police staff in a vulnerable position and more likely to become engaged in corrupt activities in order to try and improve their financial position.

So I still think that relying on ‘thorough vetting’ is very naive and at the very least recruits with substantial Student Loan debts should be Risk Assessed and subjecrt to ongoing reviews.  I know that sounds intrusive and OTT and everything else but the Police Service has to do EVERYTHING possible to reduce or eliminate the potential for corrupt pracrtices or approaches, and recruits should be willing to submit to it.

Finally, more on the theme of yesterday’s post admittedly on a slightly different aspect of the discussion, a final comment on the need for degrees.  The College posted this from their Chief, Alex Marshall

college statement

I fully accept that the College are exploring Apprenticeships as well, and maybe that’s a better way to go, but in his second paragraph Mr Marshall says

“Police are functioning at graduate level now and we are letting officers and staff down by not recognising their value in the wider world of work……”

Maybe the answer lies in that statement.  Maybe we need to develop a Vocational Qualification that is Degree-Equivalent that one achieves when successfully passing the Probationary Period.  Is that too simplistic a view?

I thank you and have a good weekend one and all

#DegreeGate – Genuine Need Or Cynical Ploy?

And so #DegreeGate rumbles on and still nobody is much clearer, with many simply remaining to be convinced.  Many, like me I suspect, are waiting to see the ‘evidence’ that this is a good idea.

Being a bit of a researcher and a fan of ‘the truth’ I went looking.

I found a video on YouTube put there by the College of Policing.  It is called PEQF: What is the evidence base? and featuress the College’s Director of Knowledge, Research and Education, Rachel Tuffin.  Rachel is clearly a well educated and well qualified woman and has the honour of having been awareded an OBE for services to policing, specifically championing evidence-based policing.

The title of the video implies that herein lies the answer, what is the ‘evidence base’?

Watch the video and see for yourselves

 

I have watched the video several times now, and I must be older than I thought, because I don’t see it.  To be honest, all I saw was a young lady, waving her hands around a lot, saying that it was interesting, important and a challenge, and a good idea.  I didn’t see or hear any ‘evidence’.

Undeterred I tweeted a short poll aimed at current and ex Police Officers

The results of that were 330 people voted of which 95% voted NO, they didn’t think they could have done their job any better with a degree.

This morning Peter Kirkham posted a similar poll on Twatter

So, I still remain to be convinced.  I have known many fine (in my opinion) cops both with and without degrees, and my opinion is still that there may well be a place for a degree as part of the development/promotioon process but I do not see the need or benefit for one at the recruitment stage.

Looking at it brutally, it costs, say, £9k per annum in university fees to get a degree.  Up to £27k if the course is 3 years.  The College of Policing states that it costs £25k to train a Constable, even if I assume that means up to end of Probation, I don’t know why it costs that much, but I can see why they woant to shift the burden of cost onto the recruit.  Unfortunately having spent your £27k, there’s still no promise of a job.  If you join under the old rules and don’t make the grade it hasn’t cost you, or the organisation, anything like £25/£27k.

So, is there reaally a genuine need for a degree or are the College just using smoke and mirrors to deflect the costs of training?  Have the hundreds of thousands of cops trained across the length and breadth of the UK previously been ubstandard in some way?

Speaking for myself, I don’t have a degree.  Did I resent not having one? No,. it was my choice.  Do I feel that I could have performed my duties better if I had one?  Honestly? No, I don’t.  I feel that my training provided by the Met kitted me out adequately for almost all eventualities, and I can think of numerous Front Line scenarios where a degree would not have benefitted me one little bit.

As laws and procedures changed, we were given extra training to bring us up to date.  Some was better than others to be fair, but very little, if any, was computer-based, tick the box, cover your arse training.  It was proper training with an ‘instructor’ wheer one could ask questions until one fully understood the issue of the day.

When it came to participation in meetings and briefings, to their credit, my bosses didn’t just send Tommy because he had a degreee, they sent Billy because he knew what he was talking about and was the best person for that particular subject, degree or no degree.

Finally, for now, the Home Secretary is absolutely furious that the Police Service is “too white”.  I would be interested to hear what Impact Assessment the College of Policing has done to make sure that this proposal doesn’t make the Police Service “even whiter”.

All this, and for £19 a year.  Has that Barista Job at House Of Commons gone yet?   https://houseofcommons-careers.engageats.co.uk/ViewVacancy.aspx?enc=mEgrBL4XQK0+ld8aNkwYmP6f9HQomm5Qwf54UUcmqeJ1Jk+K2ZB1Bb1KXjmvT220Nlzq0ZeMk54lC0lgscJp5+Z8dEZeSGIxbZhu/JU3OZ1sZ9ku75/EfbfVXSw/71YGdDQx9MiV3lOcxIQ+6HfKcQ==

ADDENDUM 

I forgot this one from yesterday

As yet, no response from the College
 

And do you think I will ever get a reply to this one?