#Specialgate

Before I go any further this is NOT a post rubbishing Specials. If you search through my posts I don’t think I have ever done that, there are good and bad just the same as Regulars, and I have worked with some very good ones who went on to join as Regulars.

This post is about the College of Stupid Ideas and how #Degreegate will apply to Specials.

First we had their controversial admission that the lack of a Degree will not be a bar to promotion

Times have moved on and I was interested to know what the position was with members of, or entry to, the Special Constabulary. After all, PCSOs will now be subject to their own Apprenticeship Entry Scheme from this year.

So I asked the question

The answer that I received was this

However, somebody else got a different answer

At the very basic level Specials do very much the same job as Regulars, recently some have even been recruited into Specialist roles presumably due to the difficulty in filling those roles with Regulars. Every day of every week however Specials are carrying out the same roles as Response Officers. So my question is this:-

If Specials on the Front Line are not required to have a Degree then why are the Response Officers they work alongside required to have one? Or, more accurately, new recruits will be required to either possess a relevant Policing Degree or obtain one. The probationers and new recruits of the future will be working alongside Specials who are not required to have any sort of Degree.

I emphasise once again, this is not a dig at Specials but of a policy coming out of the College that does not seem to have been properly thought through.

Don’t get me started on Boris’s magic 20,000 extra officers. I truly hope that he can deliver it. I’m just struggling to see how he can faced with an average of 7,500 officers leaving the Service every year, so he really needs to recruit approx double his stated figure. The logistical problems of that are endless thanks to Tory cuts.

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#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.

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#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.Last Updated on

Degree Level Recruiting

I’m sorry, I’m off again, but in my own defence it is a topic I feel very strongly about.

Today I was sparked off by a Tweet from West Yorks Federation, followed by a series of Tweets from a very unlikely ally

Some of the responses were equally interesting

and finally (but there have been many more)

Apart from the arrogant insanity in enforcing Graduate or Apprenticeship entry routes only, what are they going to do about the 10s of thousands of perfectly adequate Police Officers currently serving without a degree?

There will be some commentators out there who will brand me Anti Degree/Graduate. I am most certainly not, I can see the benefits completely, but I am hugely Anti making them compulsory at point of entry. I have worked with Graduates and Non Graduates, some of each were good (most) and some were plainly awful. The most important factor I can think of is that one of the best (in my opinion) SIOs I ever had the privilege to work for would not be given a job as a PC under the new rules. Crazy.

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?

Marc Jones makes a good point, what are the implications for serving officers who do not currently possess a Degree? Will they be required to obtain one or resign? Will serving officers without a Degree be automatically overlooked when selection processes are taking place for specialist roles or promotion?

Serving officers should be encouraged and assisted to obtain a Degree if they choose to. They should not however be held back if they do not. I spent my entire 30 year career as a Constable (by choice, not a failure to pass exams), I worked in a variety of specialist roles, was never turned down for anything merely because I didn’t have a Degree.

I can only ask the College of Policing to rethink this madness before further, irreparable, damage is done to a Police Service that is already battered and reeling.Last Updated on

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

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#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?

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Some Thoughts On Some Thoughts

Some things just don’t go away, they hang around like an unwelcome guest, or the after effects of Brussel Sprout Soup.

This last week or 10 days, whatever it is, has seen Direct Entry and Graduate Recruitment take centre stage.

The WORST argument (in my opinion of course) in favour of Direct Entry Inspectors and Superintendents comes from the College of Policing themselves.

Never mind he arguments for or against, the main issue that completely stunned me was the apparent disregard by the author of the effects on suitably qualified Police Officers awaiting potential promotion from within, in the traditional manner;

Another frequent question I am asked is ‘will the Direct Entry at inspectors and superintendents be taking promotion opportunities from serving officers?’

I come back to my earlier point that the police service needs to be the strongest it can be with the best person for each role being fairly and correctly selected. 

The numbers of Direct Entry officers that are entering the service are extremely small compared with the numbers in the rank or aspiring to the rank.

We are well aware there are thousands of fully qualified and talented officers awaiting promotion and what we are doing is absolutely not designed to negatively affect their chances. 

In other words, there are so few of them, relatively speaking, that they don’t matter.

MY big question would be “If these Direct Entry Insps & Supts possess such desirable qualities why cant we train our own?”  An officer awaiting promotion to Inspector or Superintendent has built up a whole wealth of experience along the way.  They will have acquired a significant amount of knowledge and assorted skills, yet not the right ones it seems.  So why can’t these officers be simply taught these desired skills that they apparently lack?  

Or is there a totally different agenda at work at the College?

Moving on, the very same College thinks that all recruits into the Police Service should possess a degree in Policing Skills.

Under the proposals, new police applicants would need to complete either a degree in practical policing or a conversion course after graduating in another subject.

Dr Sam Peach, who has put together the plan for the college, said: “The majority of other professions have graduate entry in the UK.

“There’s a lack of parity with other professions and because of that the police is not recognised as a legitimate profession.

“We are looking to have degree-level qualifications for constable and masters for superintendent.”

Why would 100% of recruits in the future require a degree?  I fully accept that Policing has become complex over the years, but I never once felt that I was missing out, inadequate or incompetent in any way because Ai didn’t have one.

Let me say here and now that I have absolutely no problem with Cops With Degrees, my issue is entirely with the perceived need for 100% Graduate Cops, and not just any old degree either.

Would we be having this conversation if ACPO hadn’t ‘dumbed down’ recruitment over the years?

What effect will this policy have on the Home Secretary’s edict to increase Ethnic Minority Officers in the PolicecService.  Surely recruitment of ALL Ethnic Origins will FALL?

Does anybody think that this policy will INCREASE the numbers of recruits of ANY. Race, Gender, Sexuality or Religion etc?

If establishment numbers mysteriously rise more than normal during the pilot study I will happily shut up and never mention it again, but I truly don’t see how it will.

I have also heard it mentioned that Police Officers without a degree, addressing an audience predominantly of graduates, may feel inadequate and awkward.  In my experience if you know what you’re talking about and are comfortable with your subject this should not be an issue for the majority.

Can we cope with fewer, better educated officers?  I doubt it, some scenarios just need numbers, pure and simple.  If a PSU full of graduates turns up at a riot, wil the rioters pack up and go home in the face of that particular opposition? Maybe, time will tell.

What do the College intend to do with the tens of thousands of officers across the ranks that don’t have a degree?  UPP abounds.  The Federation will be busy, assuming that they have their degrees.  

Existing officers will be encouraged – but not required – to improve their qualifications to degree level.

There is definitely a place in Policing for Officers with degrees, particularly on promotion.  However, I seriously question the need for 100% Graduate Profession.  I remain to be convinced, but for those of you who may think that I am ridiculing our current crop of Graduates in somecway, I most definitely am not, nor do I defend the alleged use of Bag Carrying comparisons.  I didn’t see it, nor did I use it, but I do still have the right to hold and express an opinion, I do not have to fall in line and agree with Dr Peach and other proponents of the scheme.

Job for life?  Vocation? The only job I’ll ever have/want?  Or just a 5 year ‘tick box’ posting.  Cut back on training costs, cut back even more on pensions.  Oh Cruella WILL be pleased.Last Updated on