Standardised police training will need to benefit public

02 February 2016

Policeman in uniform

A standardised training framework for police officers is a good idea, as long as there is a tangible benefit to the public, says the Police Federation.

The College of Policing today announced it has begun consulting on proposals to introduce academic recognition for the existing police workforce, a practical police degree for future entrants and a higher level apprenticeship which combines on-the-job training while studying towards a high level qualification.

Steve White, Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said in response: “We do, and always have, supported accrediting qualifications to those officers already in policing to recognise their existing skills. We also support the idea that a framework, similar to what the College of Policing is suggesting, might result in a welcomed standardisation across courses.

“However, we are concerned by the implication that would-be police officers might be put off joining the service because they are unable to pay the upfront costs of training.  What would be next – fighter pilots in the RAF having to pay for their flight training? There is a real danger of marginalising and excluding good quality candidates from all communities by limiting the pool of potential candidates.”

Steve White said: “The most fundamental and important question that must be answered though, is how does this proposal benefit the public the police serve? What is the benefit to the public, in terms of policing delivery, to have officers hold pre-joining qualifications, or serving officers becoming accredited?

He added: “We have serious concerns around the idea of direct entry to specialist positions - for instance, superintendent level - because a degree is not an indication that someone will make a good police officer. Policing is a complex business that requires on-the-ground knowledge. The bedrock of the tradition of British policing is the omnicompetent officer – around the world the standard of British policing is held up as great, and we do not want to see that diluted.”

The Federation will be responding to the consultation, representing our members, and would also encourage our members to engage with the consultation as individuals.