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.

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This Parrot Is Dead

I know a dead parrot when I see one and I’m looking at one right now.

Well, not really a parrot but a Superintendent’s Direct Entry Programme.

Many forces have indicated their continued support for the Direct Entry Superintendent Programme beyond 2020. However, our understanding of the current appetite for Direct Entry Superintendents would indicate there is not a sufficient requirement in order to establish a meaningful cohort for next year. So a decision has been reached that there will be a pause on recruitment into the Direct Entry Superintendent programme for 2020, with a view of reassessing service appetite in subsequent years.

A Pause you say? Does that mean a pause while the Superintendent’s Direct Entry Programme quietly disappears, or is this moribund parrot going to rise, Phoenix-like from the ashes to be stubbornly resurrected in a few years time when they hope the crusties will have gone quiet?

Or maybe this quietly sees the beginning of the end of several of Theresa May’s Vanity Projects?

  • Winsor’s Independent Reviews
  • Tom Winsor as Head of HMICFRS or whatever it’s called today
  • IOPC
  • Direct Entry Supernintendos
  • Direct Entry Inspectors
  • Graduate Entry Scheme and Apprenticeships

I have no idea what the cost to the Public Purse of the two Direct entry programmes has been, and evverybody has an opinion on how succesful and relevantthey have been, but the numbers do not really make sense to me.

In April this year I wrote a post concentrating on the Direct Entry programmes, it might have been a little bit critical bit critical but the numbers are simply these:-

In 3 years since the Programme began there had been a TOTAL of 54 Direct Entry Inspectors recruited, and in the 5 years since teir programme began there had been a TOTAL of 32 Direct Entry Superintendents.

And then it gets worse, the College of Policing decided not to tell me how many of those meaagre numbers had subsequently left (for any reason) but they did give me a clue (yes, I know it’s strange)

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

Not exactly a glowing recommendation of such a controversial scheme, but I do know one thing in life.

This parrot is dead, it is an ex-parrot

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Direct Entry Detectives

Time to put some meat on the bones and look at DE Detectives in a bit more detail.

I have restricted my interest to the Metropolitan Police who ‘invented’ the scheme. I should point out that there are some anomalies in their data that I don’t begin to understand.

According to data supplied under the FOIA to somebody else, the initial campaign in June 2017 attracted applications from 4,437 people, 2,134 female, 2,290 male plus 1 who preferred not to say.

The ensuing ‘short listing’ saw 2,293 fall by the wayside leaving 1,292 females and 1,198 males still in the process.  Only 425 candidates are shown as having failed the initial stage of the process, so I can only assume that they withdrew voluntarily for their own reasons.

Next came a ‘Verbal Reasoning’ stage. Of the candidates still remaining 231 did not complete the process, 111 females and 120 males.  Of the candidates who were successful at Verbal Reasoning 1,013 were female and 896 were male, plus 1 who preferred not to say.

The third, and final, stage was an interview.

264 females and 261 males were successful at this final stage, plus 1 who preferred not to say.

That makes a total of 527 successful candidates.

The vast majority of all candidates were in the 20-30 age range.

Compare this to the information that I was supplied by the Met.

Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act could you please provide me with the following information?

How many so-called Direct Entry Detectives have been recruited?

How many of that number have resigned or been dismissed to date?

271 direct entry detectives were recruited since May 17 (joiners since the scheme was launched)

1 dismissed and 19 resigned

That doesn’t really correspond with the data released to A. N. Other previously unless 50% of the successful applicants went off and did something else instead.

Anyway, nearly 4,500 people applied to be Direct Entry Detectives and either 527 or 271 were successful.  I’m not sure what the recruitment campaign and subsequent training would have cost the Met, but I do hope they thought it was worth it.  The only positive that I can take from this so far is that males and females were almost equally represented at every stage of the process.

No ethnicity data was revealed either to myself or A. N. Other.Last Updated on

Policing – Experience vs Degrees & Direct Entry

I have never heard the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis, Cressida Dick, denounce the College of Policing’s soon-to-be-enacted policy of No Entry to the Police Service without a degree unless it’s via the Apprenticeship route. NEVER.

Likewise, I do not recall that I have ever heard her moan about Direct Entry at any level.

However, in an interview with my least favourite newspaper, speaking about Policing in general, she apparently had this to say.

Asked if Health & Safety got in the way of police officers acting on their instinct and whether there was still room for that sort of policing she said: ‘I think you have to be, to be a really good police officer you have to be instinctive.’

She added: ‘A lot of that instinct comes from experience and expertise and they are very well trained now and we go through lots of scenarios and yes of course they will go through risks.

‘Every day, every week I will be thanking someone for their extraordinary actions and every day I am hearing about extraordinary actions by officers who have had no time to think about it and have just done the right thing, the brave thing’. 

So, Ms Dick, how do you get to possess all of that instinct, experience and expertise via Direct Entry? Intravenous Injection whilst taking ‘the oath’?

I don’t object to Graduates in Policing, I never have. There is definitely a place for them. Do I think that degrees are necessary? That is a totally different proposition, and no I don’t. In my humble opinion the current 2 year Probationary Period plus ongoing professional updates could easily be degree-equivalent.

Does joining with a Degree in any subject endow one with experience, instinct and expertise? I think not.

I’m not going to regurgitate my views of Graduate Entry, but with it, or without it, a good Police Officer will possess a broad, and almost unique, set of skills that are not learnt in the classroom.

It seems to me that Cressida Dick has just, unwittingly perhaps, just undermined the whole policy of Direct Entry and Graduate Entry with a handful of sentences.

DiscussLast Updated on

Direct Entry

Some of you may recall that I recently had a small swipe at the College of Policing over their lack of transparency re Direct Entry. After my slightly bigger swipe at Police Now I thought it might be amusing to have a similar look at the Direct Entry scheme, for Inspectors and Superintendents rather than Police Wow’s Detective programme.

A quick reminder of the questions I asked;

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.

However,

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

Not exactly the stunning success that the College would have us believe it is, and it is impossible to give an exact attrition rate because that is the best the College will give me.

DIVERSITY

In October2015 Theresa May famously said the proportion of black and Asian officers was “simply not good enough”.

In 2016 Alex Marshall, from the College, stated that he was pleased with the early results from the direct entry scheme, which had included three people of a BME background out of the 14 participants.

All this lit another spark under my mischievous side and provoked another request to the College;

For the 54 Inspectors and the 32 Superintendents referred to in your response, could you please supply me with a breakdown by ethnicity of the recruits?

They not only answered within the time limits but they both Refused and almost Answered my request;

I write in response to your Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoIA) request dated 2/3/2019. You have requested a breakdown by ethnicity of the 54 people enrolled on the Direct Entry Inspectors programme and of the 32 people enrolled on the Direct Entry Superintendents programme, since these programmes started (further to FOIA_2019_011).

As per section 1(1) of the FoIA, I can confirm that the College does hold information within the scope of your request. However, we believe that the exemption provided under section 40(2) of the FoIA (personal information) applies to your request. The Act prevents us from disclosing information which constitutes as personal data. For further information about our application of this exemption, please refer to Appendix A.

To assist you in your enquiries and in the spirit of the FoIA, we are able to release the following figures to you. We have determined that there is no risk of an individual being identified from the disclosure of the following information:

Direct Entry Inspectors

The number of people who identified their race/ethnicity to be a race/ethnicity which can be categorised under the broader heading of ‘White’

51

The number of people who identified their race/ethnicity to be a race/ethnicity which can be categorised under the broader heading of ‘Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic’

3 or less

The number of people who chose the ‘prefer not to say’ option

3 or less

Simple arithmetic leads me to deduce that a total of 3 out of 54 Inspectors were either non-white or chose not to say. Overwhelmingly White then.

Direct Entry Superintendents

The number of people who identified their race/ethnicity to be a race/ethnicity which can be categorised under the broader heading of ‘White’

28

The number of people who identified their race/ethnicity to be a race/ethnicity which can be categorised under the broader heading of ‘Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic’

4 or less

The number of people who chose the ‘prefer not to say’ option

4 or less

 

Once again, simple arithmetic tells me that a total of 4 out of 32 were either non-white or chose not to day. Again, overwhelmingly white.

This Direct Entry process is doing NOTHING to improve the BAME balance of the Police Service.

A maximum of 3 DE Inspectors and 4 DE Superintendents, spread out across England and Wales were Black or Ethnic Minority.

The College’s own conclusion begins:-

Conclusion

The figures held for the number of Direct Entry inspectors and superintendents whose race/ethnicity can be categorised under the broader heading of ‘Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic’ are low.

By their own admission their scheme isn’t doing much to enrich diversity.

Superintendents

The Direct Entry Scheme commenced in 2014 unless I am mistaken. In March 2014 Police Superintendents were 16.6% Females, in March 2018 that figure had risen to 26.4% In March 2014 there were 30 BAME Superintendents out of a total of 763 . Just 4%. In March 2018 there were a total of 37 BAME Superintendents out of 893. Just 4%.

Conclusion

A combination of Traditional Promotion and Direct Entry has increased representation of Females at Superintendent rank by approx 10%, but has done NOTHING to increase the proportion of BAME Superintendents, so in that area, at least, it has failed.

Inspectors

Direct Entry for Inspectors started in September 2016. In March 2016 21% of Inspectors were Female. In March 2018 that figure had risen to 23% Nowhere near as spectacular an increase as for Superintendents, but an increase nevertheless. In March 2016 there were 221 BAME Inspectors out of a total of 5,692 or 4%. In March 2018 this figure had risen to 249 out of 5,599 or 4.5%.

Conclusion

A combination of traditional Promotion and Direct Entry has increased representation of Females at Inspector Rank by just 2%. It has made almost no difference at all to the proportion of BAME officers at Inspector Rank. In this area, at least, it must surely be deemed to have failed.

I cannot comment on the quality of Direct Entry Inspectors/Superintendents except to confirm my belief that they should be time-served officers with relevant operational experience. The Home Office, College of Policing and NPCC all disagree with me on this, but I remain resolute, it is simply wrong in my opinion. I am happy for serving officers to be the final arbiter on whether DE Officers are up to the task.

However, my final thought on the topic, if the Home Office or College genuinely think that there is a place in redefining the Police Service for Bank Managers, Supermarket Managers etc etc, they could always create a civilian post for them in Police Staff to work alongside warranted officers, not ‘lead’ them.

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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.Last Updated on

❄️Evidence Based Whingeing ❄️

Late last night I came upon a spat between a retired detective and a serving DE Superintendent. They clearly fundamentally disagreed on the subject of criticising the government.

The Superintendent tweeted that the current trend for being irate and “lambasting” the government for DESTROYING the Police Service had the opposite effect than that intended and was “embarrassing”.

My initial reaction was to think “what the hell is wrong with being irate at this government, and as for embarrassing, please, I have been far more embarrassed than that while I was serving. A large percentage of the general public still support the Police Service, so who is embarrassed? Retired officers aren’t embarrassed by it, why would we be. The general public aren’t embarrassed by it as many of them hold the same views. Front Line officers? I doubt very much that they would be embarrassed by it, they are the very ones suffering the most from government cuts but daren’t openly speak out due to the threat of disciplinary action if they do. That leaves the Superintendents Association and the Police Chiefs. They SHOULD be embarrassed because until today only a very small number of their members has spoken out against the government. They have either acquiesced by their silence or, worse, claimed that they had sufficient resources to get the job done.

Our retired detective had the temerity to challenge said Superintendent. IMHO there was nothing too aggressive about the challenge, robust but perfectly fair. The only sweary word was when retired detective said “are you going to bloody congratulate them for creating a #CrisisInPolicing?” Not exactly the language of the convent but I have heard much worse, occasionally.

Our intrepid Superintendent responded by assuming that there would now be a Twitter ‘pile on’, stated that in his view it was not his place to openly criticise the government and implied that our retired detective was swearing at him and trying to bully him. Apart from a solitary use of the bloody word I did not see any swearing and to be honest did not see any evidence of bullying or an attempt to do so.

Bullying – “use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force them to do something.”

Really? Can’t see it myself.

What concerns me more is the fact that a Superintendent of Police, using an official account, shows such a lack of fortitude. I have encountered far worse during my service, from my colleagues, from my supervisors and on the streets of the Metropolis. I can only imagine what the reaction of my battle-hardened Sergeant would have bern if I had related the experience to him. It’s part of what Policing is. It is also one of my reservations about Direct Entry Inspectors and Superintendents. Here we have one who feels that somebody might be trying to bully him because he has been challenged. No serving officer is ever going to make that challenge unless they are operating under an anonymous account, but nothing wrong with a retired officer launching a challenge surely?

It possibly wasn’t the most respectful challenge, but neither does it have to be. Respect is earned, not given away in a raffle.

If the government and Police Chiefs want to have Direct Entry Inspectors and Superintendents they should EXPECT those DE officers to be challenged until they earn their spurs’.

Needless to say the DE Superintendent was supported in his comments, but what kind of situation are we arriving at if it is ’embarrassing’ to challenge the government. Maggie would have p****d herself laughing. Theresa May might think she is Maggie II but she is not. We still live in a society where we CAN challenge, so nobody should complain or be embarrassed if/when we do.

Finally, if we accept that the Police are the Public and the Public are the Police then surely the Police have a perfect right to criticise the government?Last Updated on