I see that the thorny subject of ‘Degrees’ has risen to the surface again over the last few days.
I realise that Sir Tom Winsor thinks that Police a Officers generally are a ‘blue collar’ bunch of ‘thicko’s’ who can’t wait to clock on and clock off again, but ‘Hooe The Front Pages’ we’re not all like that.
Unlike Nursing, where I can see the benefits, I really don’t think that it’s vital to hold a Degree in the world of Policing. Some of the best coppers I ever met didn’t have more than a couple of O Levels. One or two of them could hardly string a sentence together but we’re very good at what they did.
Copper get is a funny old world, and you can have as many pretty pieces of paper as you want but they are no guarantee that you will be a good Copper.
However, I wouldn’t really want to totally rule Degrees out, I can see where there is a place for them.
I wouldn’t object if Uncle Tom or The College brought in a requirement to hold a Policing Degree of some kind before one could be promoted above the rank of Inspector, for example.
Alternatively, maybe some kind of Vocational Degree that one could qualify for at the end of Probation, ticking boxes along the way, and Probation would continue ad infinitum until all the boxes were ticked and the Degree could be awarded?
Yes, there are some things that one absolutely have to know about to be a good and efficient Police Officer, but being a good Copper can’t be taught in the classroom.
I once took a young Probationary PC Learning Beats. Nice enough chap, had a First Class Honours Degree in History. Absolute tosser as a Copper but he could pace exams so shot up the Police Ladder at an alarming rate, destined to become ACPO a material one day. In the Custody Suite he was a nightmare, couldn’t hack it at all on a Friday or Saturday night so he quickly joined the ESSO Cclub ( Every Saturday and Sunday Off) and moved onwards and upwards, becoming somebody’s Staff Officer until he got promoted high enough to need his own.
I often wonder what happened to him, last I heard he had had a nervous breakdown and was considering a career change. That’s where Degrees get you in Policing.
It’s absolutely vital to receive a certain level of Academic coaching, PACE for example needs to be fully understood, and I felt that the Met only really did it justice in Basic Training, those of us who joined before PACE got literally just a few hours, nowhere near enough bearing in mind the importance of that particular piece of legislation.
At the end of the day these are just the ramblings of an old pensioner, Milky Bar won’t take any notice of me, any more than I will take notice of him, but at least I’ve got it off my chest.