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?

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.

Police Apprentice or Barista? Difficult Choice

Apologies to all those who have seen this on Twitter but I’m too incandescent to drop it just yet.

My ire was sparked by a discussion on Facebook and a retired ‘old sweat’ DS could not believe that Police Apprentice was now an approved entry route with a commencing salary of £18,000 with no actual guarantee of a job at the end of it. OK, I accept that many will find employment in the muddy field at the end of the rainbow but nothing is guaranteed.

Even being an Apprentice Police Officer will inevitably involve antisocial hours, a higher than average risk of physical injury, frequent verbal abuse. You might even get to experience the delights of giving evidence at Court if you’re really lucky.

Complaints if you do the job properly. The current trend seems to be not to attack the evidence any more in a Not Guilty trial, but to attack the officer and his or her integrity. What they can’t dig up they will make up. All very stressful, and for what? £18,000, and at the same time you have to qualify for a Policing Degree at the end of it to even stand a chance of a job.

This programme covers a breadth, depth and range of professional education for the police constable not present in any previous constable training programme. This is a professional degree very much founded on effective professional performance with academic achievement. The police constable apprenticeship standard has been developed along with a police constable assessment plan, which sets out the occupational profile for the role of police constable and provides further details such as knowledge, skills and behaviours.

The apprenticeship will cover areas that are critical to effective policing in the 21st century, such as evidence-based policing, supporting vulnerable people, dealing with cyber crime and crime prevention. An equivalent apprenticeship framework has been developed for Wales.

And all for £18,000 a year?

OK, so you don’t like those prospects, who can blame you? What other options are available?

Every now and again an advert comes out for a Barista at the House of Commons, that can’t be bad surely.

2 years ago indeed.co.uk published this

How much does a Barista make at House of Commons in the United Kingdom?

Average House of Commons Barista yearly pay in the United Kingdom is approximately £22,174, which is 28% above the national average.

Salary information comes from 29 data points collected directly from employees, users, and past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the past 36 months.

Please note that all salary figures are approximations based upon third party submissions to Indeed. These figures are given to the Indeed users for the purpose of generalised comparison only. Minimum wage may differ by jurisdiction and you should consult the employer for actual salary figures.

Tell me again why you want to be a Police Apprentice?

Sadly the bald figures above are not the end of the tale.

The salary levels of House of Commons baristas have been known and publicly available for many years. Did that encourage NPCC, College of Policing etc etc to fight for a higher rate of pay for Apprentice Police Officers? Oh no it did not, indeed the NPCC published a 24 page report justifying the £18k starting rate.

I note that the author has not identified himself or herself, but whoever the author is should be truly ashamed. This is a total disgrace, written in the full knowledge of other salaries ‘out there’. Any senior Police Officer who had a hand in devising or implementing this scheme should be drummed out of town.

It absolutely makes me furious that such a scheme has been devised or implemented by Police Officers of any rank, a total betrayal of (erstwhile) loyal officers.

I am not ‘anti-reform’ but I am opposed to the reform being driven through by the Tories without any regard for the consequences. They state that our Police Officers should be more professional and have more of a professional standing then they pay them less than someone who makes coffee for privileged twats at Westminster. Please tell me how this is even vaguely sensible.