Direct Entry Supernintendos & Inspectorators – An Analysis

Last updated on October 10th, 2023 at 04:25 am

Reading Time: 5 minutes

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: 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 communities, 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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3 thoughts on “Direct Entry Supernintendos & Inspectorators – An Analysis”

  1. What a waste of time and money . The figures say it all. So you join up to the scheme get promoted to temporary Sgt supervised to gain experience. As a complete layman who has no degrees but learnt from life . As a service man in the Marines then 30 years as a copper . I am appalled. What a waste of money if you gave recruites a good starting salary you would recruit better well mature officers who had seen a bit of life .


    It’s clearly a crock of shit.

    Hopefully that isn’t too brief a summary, but it’s the best I can come up with after both experiencing some of the DE ‘leadership’ for myself, and reading the report.

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