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GMP Federation

Chairman Stu Berry on Police Degrees: The incessant focus on academia must not be at the detriment to life skills and experience.

12 July 2021

Greater Manchester Police Federation Chair Stu Berry has added his view to the debate on whether all police officers should require a degree to do the job.

Stu said: “The mantra of the people are the public and the public are the police is a cornerstone of the British system of law and order. This means we should attract a broad spectrum of society into Policing. The degree only entrance into Policing is a cause for concern as this may diminish the diversity that has served us well.

“The incessant focus on academia must not be at the detriment to life skills and experience. I am yet to see evidence that this system will produce superior Police Officers or enhance the service we provide to public.”

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.

Stu added: “The public must realise the cost to the public purse as private universities are contracted to fulfil the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship ideology. Those officers will require a considerable amount of study time to attend university which will remove them from the front line during a period in which resources have never been so stretched.

“This may increase workloads for their colleagues and could also increase stress for those members who carry the burden of attaining this accreditation, often in their own time.

“I urge the Home Secretary to review this and provide evidence which supports this programme and how these officers will be retained within Policing for the long term in a perverse situation where degrees are provided for free but pay is capped continually year after year.”

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.

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