20 October 2022
The Police Federation of England and Wales is continuing to press forces to allocate time during an officer’s working day for professional learning purposes.
Protected Learning Time (PLT) is key to professional development and should be accessible to every police officer, however, organisational culture change is needed to achieve this. PLT is an important tool and should be encouraged across ranks as an investment in their officers, motivating and developing competent and professional teams, but PFEW has found during discussions negative phrases are often used in relation to utilising work time to offer training and learning.
“Too often the word ‘abstracted’ is used when referring to an officer using some of their shift time to undertake vital learning. We should be positive about developing our workforce so they can provide the best service to the public - abstracted is a really negative phrase to use,” explained PFEW Professional Development Lead Dave Bamber.
“What exactly are you abstracting them from? Because they are not being abstracted from policing because they're in work and they're developing their policing skills. So, I think there's a lot to be said about the negative connotations created around the need for people to learn,” he added.
Last month the College of Policing released new guidance to forces to support career progression. It stated forces should find better ways to help individuals make time for continuing professional development (CPD), performance conversations and other valuable career development activity.
Among the officers the College spoke to, not having enough time was cited as the biggest barrier to career progression.
“People need to be trained properly and officers should not be expected to complete assessments in their own personal time or on their rest days,” Mr Bamber continued. “If training and developing officers is deemed important, then allocated time must be provided because if you don't train people properly, you don't develop them properly.
“We are continuing to engage with the College and chief constables to press for PLT to be a requirement, as it is in other professions, especially in all proposals that come forward with regards to the way that police officers are supposed to operate,” he concluded.
National Chair Steve Hartshorn said: “The professional development of the police officers that work so hard to protect the public must be a priority. I call upon chief constables, police and crime commissioners and the Government to work with the Police Federation of England and Wales to ensure this happens. It is a win-win strategy whereby the police service, officers, and the public will all benefit.”