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18 April 2023
A new non-degree police officer entry scheme with a lower educational level could create a two-tier system for new recruits and have a negative impact on standards, Gwent Police Federation has warned.
Branch chair Matthew Candy said he was opposed to the Level 5 learning programme, which is equivalent to a diploma of higher education (DipHE), and called for the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and College of Policing to ensure non-degree entry would still be accredited to educational Level 6.
Failure to do so would fly in the face of the founding principles of the Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF) and could lead to problems further down the line, he said.
“The operation of two different learning programmes blurs and reduces some of the essential standards chief officers need to consider when applying the Police Regulations 2003, and is a cause for concern in terms of assuring a fair approach between different learning routes,” said Matthew.
“We are calling on the NPCC and the college to apply its original proposal for a new non-degree entry route accredited to educational Level 6.
“The Casey Report highlighted the dangers of placing officers in roles they are not trained for and promoting a non-degree entry route of Level 5 at par with the Level 6 programme contradicts the resolve to act on the review’s recommendations.
“The move also dilutes concentrated efforts of hardworking officers to instil trust among community members in policing as they will be viewed as having been trained at a lower standard.”
The new Level 5 (non-accredited) 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.