8 July 2021
Police Degrees: There must be a route into policing that does not require university study to join
“There needs to remain a third route into policing that does not require the entrant to undertake university study either pre or post joining”
Jon Carter-Lang, Secretary of Leicestershire Police Federation, said the College of Policing’s approach to making the police service a graduate only profession seems to be going in the opposite direction to other professions which are intent on increasing diversity in their sector by removing the traditional barriers of entry of only recruiting graduates.
Jon said: “The Solicitors Regulation Authority has introduced the Solicitors Qualifying Exam, a two-stage process to replace the traditional route of obtaining a qualifying Law degree then completing the Legal Practice Course.
“Now, aspiring solicitors can still complete the SQE as a graduate or so long as they hold a degree level equivalent qualification or experience. Alternatively, they can complete a Solicitor Apprenticeship which provides the trainee solicitor with on-the-job training and work experience accredited to degree level but without the need to complete university studies alongside their day job.
“This is where I believe the College has failed in their design of the PCDA process.
“PCDA requires student officers to complete their university studies, whilst also learning to be a police officer. In contrast, the SRA model accredits the on-the-job experience of learning the ‘trade’ to degree level, placing less pressure on the candidate, but maintaining the required standard of learning.
“I do believe there is a place for graduates in the police service, a prime example being those who wish to progress into the higher ranks. This would replicate industry where a master’s level qualification, but not necessarily a master’s degree, is required to progress into senior positions or achieve fellowship in chartered professional bodies.
“It would also be an advantage on the Direct Entry Detective Scheme. I am not saying that you need to be a graduate to be a Detective, but for those entering the service as a Detective from day 1 who have not gained the on-the-job experience or street craft of being a uniformed frontline officer investigating lower level offences, a degree in a relevant subject area such as Law that involves interrogation of complex or large volumes of information would be an advantage.
“There needs to remain a third route into policing that does not require the entrant to undertake university study either pre or post joining.
“A revamped IPLDP process that accredits the on-the-job training to degree level following the SRA Solicitor Apprentice model would encourage those who have served our country in the Armed Forces to transition into the police service and also increase diversity in terms of older recruits or those from less academic backgrounds who are put off by the thought of undertaking university study; then our new recruits would truly reflect the public that they joined to serve.
“Learning theories of criminology, completing an evidenced based research project or writing a dissertation does not equip frontline response cops with the skills they need to do their day job.”