2 November 2022
Insisting new police officers need a degree is throttling recruitment says Federation
Insisting that all new police officers must study for a degree doesn’t reflect society and is throttling recruitment, Leicestershire Police Federation has said.
Federation Chairman Adam Commons said that the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) was putting off older, more experienced recruits from applying. He suggested that there should be three entry routes to policing, including the traditional Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP), in order to attract the brightest and best candidates.
Last week, 16 Police and Crime Commissioners – including Leicestershire PCC Rupert Matthews – wrote to the Home Secretary to drop the blanket requirement for all officers to have a degree. They said that recruits from the military, Special Constables and older career-changers were being put off from joining, at a time when forces in England and Wales need to recruit an extra 20,000 officers.
Adam said: “I’m really pleased to see the support from over a third of the PCCs for retaining the IPLDP entry route into policing. The Home Secretary needs to understand the damage being done to policing if we lose this entry route, because we are missing out on experienced individuals who may be a bit older, and the thought of having to go through PCDA and back to university is incredibly daunting later in life. There are ways of certifying police training without keeping the degree.
“We should reflect our communities across the board and the more diverse our workforce is, the better we will become at interacting with and supporting our communities. I’ve taken a lot of criticism from those linked to delivering police degree courses, saying I’m ‘out of touch’, but I’d suggest that anyone who thinks we limit the ability for people from all walks of life to join this service needs to have a look in the mirror.
“The statistics show that under 50% of the population hold a degree and that’s a lot of people you’re excluding from applying.”
He continued: “The current entry routes are throttling recruitment. If the Home Secretary stays long enough in post this time, I don’t understand why we cannot have three entry routes available to us so that we get the best candidates applying.”
Federation Secretary Jon Carter-Lang added: “I have been saying for some time that we could still have a system where police training is accredited to Level 6 (which is still degree level) but remove the academic requirement to make it a degree. We can then allow non-graduate recruits to gain a vocational qualification instead.”