Last updated on September 19th, 2023 at 05:26 pmReading Time: 6 minutes
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 Apprenticeship. 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
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 @ 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 # 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.