Last week I read an article on the BBC news website that stated;
All new police officers in England and Wales will have to be educated to degree level from 2020, the College of Policing has announced.
You can find the full article HERE.
I disagree with the majority of this article and the majority of comments coming from the College of Policing and the quoted Chief Constable.
I joined the police in 1999 with only 2 O levels. A lot of front-line policing is about common sense, being able to talk to people of any ability and talk your way out of difficult and dangerous situations. As a uniformed officer you deal with thefts from shops, public order offences, drugs offences, assaults, domestic assault and if you’re rural you’ll even deal with bulls in the road, (my first posting was a town with rural outskirts, I was once sent to look for a black bull which was supposedly walking about in the middle of the road in the pitch dark. I’m really not sure what I was supposed to do if faced with him. But luckily, he wasn’t there.) Yes, you may pick up a job that involves cyber crime of some description but you’ll be shown how to submit the relevant forms to make inquiries to the relevant people for the information you need. If it’s any more complex than that, then it’s likely to go to another department as front-line uniform officers don’t deal with difficult and long-running investigations because their job is to keep responding to the needs of the people on the street.
Even investigating a pub fight – which used to mean interviewing the victim, perpetrator and the bar staff – now also extends to researching videos, pictures and comments published online.
If a new probationer really doesn’t know how to use the internet, it’s not that difficult a task to show them how to do it. They are already in the steepest learning curve of their career.
As you progress to a CID department you then study further within the job. You have to pass an exam before commencing your training for CID. This shows you’re serious about it and shows you understand more of the law and policy. Also, once in a department you learn the stuff you need to learn. Before I left the job on medical grounds I was perfectly capable of taking a computer (desktop or laptop) to pieces to remove the hard drive and to examine it forensically with the correct software we used. I was trained in advanced interviewing. It was a part of the job that I loved.
All from a woman with only 2 O levels.
Chief Constable Giles York, the National Police Chiefs Council lead for workforce, said the scheme would “improve our ability to attract and retain really good people”
Does this mean with my lack of qualifications I wasn’t a good cop? I know from my supervisors throughout my career that this wasn’t the case, but it’s not what is being said now.
There is nothing wrong (or nothing they can’t deal with internally) with how officers are trained for their specific roles. The police know what is happening, that’s why they’re wanting to change things. Yes, maybe they could do better, but can’t they always? Can’t we all, in whatever we do? But is giving every officer a degree, the answer to cyber crime? Doubtful.
I see no reason at all to train every single officer to degree level. You’re going to get cops who stay in rural areas, who spend their whole careers without coming within a hairs breath of cyber crime, who don’t want to progress up a career ladder or move from uniform, trained up to degree level with no use for it whatsoever. It’s a waste of money.
It’s also going to take cops away from the street even more than they already are as they spend their time studying. It will pile even more pressure on them. It’s a stressful enough time in that first two years when they’re a probationer and they’re learning just how to be a cop. And it is saying that life experience and common sense isn’t what they want.
I also imagine they will lose a swathe of good cops that they always get from the armed forces. That leave the armed forces and join the police. They come with life experience. They may not want to join if there is a three-year study plan in front of them.
This is also rubbish and misleading reporting from the police or BBC.
There are currently no standard recruitment requirements for officers across the 43 forces in England and Wales.
Some forces accept officers with Level 2 qualifications (A-C grade GCSEs), while others insist on Level 5 (diplomas or foundation degrees).
Because while you may be able to apply with only 2 o levels, there is an across the board entry test. Several tests actually. Written, that includes Maths and English as well as observation skill tests and fitness tests and then another test that is incredibly difficult. You can’t just stroll into the police as the above indicates you might be able to. I might not have studied well at school, but I had what it took to pass all the above tests and I thrived in the police environment.
Soon they will find it more and more difficult to recruit from people who have life experience, who have common sense, because they’ve decimated the pension, it’s not worth what it once was. You may think that’s a good thing, but in my service, in my force alone, one officer was killed on duty, one was shot, one had his car rammed and was seriously injured, and these are the ones I know of. It’s not a job you go into work to do and do it with half a mind. No matter your views on the police, they are good men and women who genuinely put themselves in harms way when people are less and less bothered about hurting them nowadays. And now, now the recruiting process is being changed so radically that recruits are going to be youngsters and academics who have no life experience.
Yes, changes may have been needed to address the way crime is changing, but this is going to tire out those who are joining and it’s going to stop people applying. Good people.
And finally, this is the proposed;
The College of Policing, which is responsible for setting standards of ethics and training for the police service, is in talks with 12 universities about running the degree courses.
The syllabus is likely to cover the law, safeguarding the vulnerable, understanding how an officer behaves on the street and how to build trust by interacting well with communities.
If it wasn’t so ridiculous I would laugh. This is all taught in basic police training. And where is the mention of cyber crime that was the driver to this big change…