Cumbria Police Federation

The idea that officers need a degree to serve in the police is an insult, Cumbria Police Federation has said.

12 July 2021


Paul Williams, Federation Chair, said: “Policing’s been around since 1829. That is a long, long time without police officers needing a degree, catching bad guys, arresting people, looking after the public.

“You absolutely do not need a degree to be a police officer.”

The College of Policing wants all recruits to gain a degree before joining the force – or to gain one on the job.

Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones – soon to be the new PCC head – has urged Home Secretary Priti Patel to scrap plans for graduate-only police recruits and says ex-soldiers will be better than university leavers with 'expressive dance' degrees.

His comments come after Nick Adderley, Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Constabulary, criticised the all-graduate recruit plans.

CC Adderley said police recruits joining after university are not prepared to work nights or weekends and are 'sadly lacking' in life experience.

Paul added: “I don’t know what this push is for all of a sudden policing to become academic. Policing is practical, it’s physical, it requires a lot of thought, instinct and life experience.

“It is quite insulting to those brilliant police officers who are already doing an excellent job without a degree. I am personally insulted. I have been a police officer for over 20 years. Am I all of a sudden too stupid to be a police officer?

“Remember what Sir Robert Peel said; ‘The police are the public, the public are the police’. Does every member of public have a degree?

“Those in charge need to stand back, have a think about this and have some respect for the life experience of the people out there who do not necessarily want to have a degree. We’re just calling for balance and equality. Everyone deserves an equal opportunity to be a police officer and help the public and serve the public.”

Bernie O’Reilly, interim CEO of the College of Policing, said: 'Policing has changed significantly in recent years and the new training has been created to reflect the challenges officers face and recognise the complex nature of the job.

'The public deserves highly trained, highly skilled officers that can protect them from all crime types, from domestic violence and digital fraud, through to organised crime and modern slavery, as well as protecting vulnerable people.”

The College of Policing added that the new training scheme had already been adopted by 33 forces.