18 May 2023
Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton has repeated his concerns about the detail of the plans for a fourth route into policing, warning that a two-tier entry system could impact future career opportunities, pay and remuneration for members.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) last month gave its backing to a Level 5 non-accredited learning programme which would be equivalent to a diploma of higher education (DipHE).
But Tony wants the NPCC and College of Policing to reconsider their plans and ensure any new non-degree entry would still be accredited to educational Level 6.
He warned failure to do so would go against the founding principles of the Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF).
Tony spoke out after Police Federation national board member and professional development lead Paul Matthews suggested the fourth route would prove unworkable.
Paul said: “When the Home Secretary announced her plans for a new entry route last November, she did not envisage any reduction in the current learning standards.
“In fact, she stated that any new entry route would ‘deliver officers of the highest calibre, which would complement the existing framework’.
“This proposed fourth route does not deliver what the Home Secretary stated. Instead, it opens the door for some officers to be trained to a lower standard than others.”
The Police Federation has warned of a two-tier entry system
Tony said the public expected all police officers to be trained to the same high standard.
“I was pleased when the Government announced an end to the degree requirement for police officers because I never agreed with it in the first place,” he said.
“But that doesn’t mean that officers don’t all need to be trained to the same very high standards. Operating two different learning programmes could potentially cause confusion and create unnecessary problems further down the line.
“It is simple: recruit the right people, in the right numbers, at the right time and deliver to them a fit-for-purpose training programme which equips them so that they can excel in their police career and help deliver a modern, effective police service for the people of Derbyshire.”
The new Level 5 learning programme is being made available for forces as soon as possible but not later than 1 April 2024.
A number of forces are yet to engage with education partners about the impact of new standards and learning on existing Level 6 contractual obligations and await the College of Policing’s further implementation guidance and the design of associated curricula.
The Police Federation said it was still awaiting the equality impact assessment of the decision to introduce the non-degree entry route supporting Level 5 qualification but, in the meantime, urged the NPCC and the college to ensure any change in the policy ensures that the standards defining competence in the police constable role remain the same irrespective of the entry routes.