Some Thoughts On Some Thoughts

Some things just don’t go away, they hang around like an unwelcome guest, or the after effects of Brussel Sprout Soup.

This last week or 10 days, whatever it is, has seen Direct Entry and Graduate Recruitment take centre stage.

The WORST argument (in my opinion of course) in favour of Direct Entry Inspectors and Superintendents comes from the College of Policing themselves.

Never mind he arguments for or against, the main issue that completely stunned me was the apparent disregard by the author of the effects on suitably qualified Police Officers awaiting potential promotion from within, in the traditional manner;

Another frequent question I am asked is ‘will the Direct Entry at inspectors and superintendents be taking promotion opportunities from serving officers?’

I come back to my earlier point that the police service needs to be the strongest it can be with the best person for each role being fairly and correctly selected. 

The numbers of Direct Entry officers that are entering the service are extremely small compared with the numbers in the rank or aspiring to the rank.

We are well aware there are thousands of fully qualified and talented officers awaiting promotion and what we are doing is absolutely not designed to negatively affect their chances. 

In other words, there are so few of them, relatively speaking, that they don’t matter.

MY big question would be “If these Direct Entry Insps & Supts possess such desirable qualities why cant we train our own?”  An officer awaiting promotion to Inspector or Superintendent has built up a whole wealth of experience along the way.  They will have acquired a significant amount of knowledge and assorted skills, yet not the right ones it seems.  So why can’t these officers be simply taught these desired skills that they apparently lack?  

Or is there a totally different agenda at work at the College?

Moving on, the very same College thinks that all recruits into the Police Service should possess a degree in Policing Skills.

Under the proposals, new police applicants would need to complete either a degree in practical policing or a conversion course after graduating in another subject.

Dr Sam Peach, who has put together the plan for the college, said: “The majority of other professions have graduate entry in the UK.

“There’s a lack of parity with other professions and because of that the police is not recognised as a legitimate profession.

“We are looking to have degree-level qualifications for constable and masters for superintendent.”

Why would 100% of recruits in the future require a degree?  I fully accept that Policing has become complex over the years, but I never once felt that I was missing out, inadequate or incompetent in any way because Ai didn’t have one.

Let me say here and now that I have absolutely no problem with Cops With Degrees, my issue is entirely with the perceived need for 100% Graduate Cops, and not just any old degree either.

Would we be having this conversation if ACPO hadn’t ‘dumbed down’ recruitment over the years?

What effect will this policy have on the Home Secretary’s edict to increase Ethnic Minority Officers in the PolicecService.  Surely recruitment of ALL Ethnic Origins will FALL?

Does anybody think that this policy will INCREASE the numbers of recruits of ANY. Race, Gender, Sexuality or Religion etc?

If establishment numbers mysteriously rise more than normal during the pilot study I will happily shut up and never mention it again, but I truly don’t see how it will.

I have also heard it mentioned that Police Officers without a degree, addressing an audience predominantly of graduates, may feel inadequate and awkward.  In my experience if you know what you’re talking about and are comfortable with your subject this should not be an issue for the majority.

Can we cope with fewer, better educated officers?  I doubt it, some scenarios just need numbers, pure and simple.  If a PSU full of graduates turns up at a riot, wil the rioters pack up and go home in the face of that particular opposition? Maybe, time will tell.

What do the College intend to do with the tens of thousands of officers across the ranks that don’t have a degree?  UPP abounds.  The Federation will be busy, assuming that they have their degrees.  

Existing officers will be encouraged – but not required – to improve their qualifications to degree level.

There is definitely a place in Policing for Officers with degrees, particularly on promotion.  However, I seriously question the need for 100% Graduate Profession.  I remain to be convinced, but for those of you who may think that I am ridiculing our current crop of Graduates in somecway, I most definitely am not, nor do I defend the alleged use of Bag Carrying comparisons.  I didn’t see it, nor did I use it, but I do still have the right to hold and express an opinion, I do not have to fall in line and agree with Dr Peach and other proponents of the scheme.

Job for life?  Vocation? The only job I’ll ever have/want?  Or just a 5 year ‘tick box’ posting.  Cut back on training costs, cut back even more on pensions.  Oh Cruella WILL be pleased.

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6 Comments

  1. I do not have a problem with cops having relevant degrees. It is a nonsense to suggest that having a degree in an unrelated subject is at all helpful. I recall a fast track officer who had a degree in sports science, qualified to work in a leisure centre but no help in policing.
    However why is not Police training recognised as an academic qualification in itself, in my few weeks in the training school all those years ago I learnt at least as much law as any law student did in a year, my exams were not open book exams either I had to know it, not just know where to look it up. In my probation I continued to learn I feel confident that at the conclusion of my training I had learnt as much as any university student. I certainly was prosecuting cases in court and winning with my opponents having 5 years further education to their ‘advantage’.
    As far as feeling inferior in dealing with more technically qualified persons than I, 20 years after my training I was teaching classes modules in PACE and related evidence giving, the classes were mixed, Police Probationers and Pupil Barristers. I had no problem in advising and correcting the Barristers even though I left school with only O levels. 15 years later I had a QC tell me that it was one of the best classes he had ever attended.
    In short, you don’t need a degree to be a cop, the learning involved in becoming a Cop should attract degree status.

  2. ‘Under the proposals, new police applicants would need to complete either a degree in practical policing or a conversion course after graduating in another subject.’

    Most other professions – such as medicine, veterinary sciences, etc – don’t start on £19,000! How many people will pay £9,000 a year to do a policing degree to get a job on £19,000? PCSOs don’t need degrees but many of them are now paid substantially more but don’t have the responsibility and enjoy full employment rights. Its a joke.

    The brightest and best won’t be opting for policing degrees.

    How will a PC aspiring to the rank of superintendant find the time to study a Masters degree too??? Its bonkers.

  3. Perhaps the answer actually lies in the police training. I agree with 72 joiner which is 4 years before I did. The probationary training could easily be brought into line with a more module approach attracting credits towards a degree. As long as the practical aspect of the training is not sidelined to place greater emphasis on the theory. Extend the two year probationary period to three years, ensuring sufficient study time and you then have a copper with a degree who will have also bags of on the job training to supplement the theory. Then scrap the Sgt exam and make a masters in policing a requirement for further promotion to Insp and beyond. Make promotion to Sgt purely on merit. Just a thought

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