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West Midlands Police Federation

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Learning and Development adapts to allow training to continue

13 May 2020

A one-way system has been adopted at Tally Ho as part of a package of measures introduced by Learning and Development (L & D) to allow Force training to continue as safely as possible.

While, understandably, methods of entry and personal safety training have had to be cancelled, around 80 per cent of courses are going ahead, according to Jase Sayers, student officers assessor and deputy secretary of the Federation’s health and safety committee.

“I have been very impressed with how Learning and Development has adapted the way it operates to respond to the need for social distancing,” says Jase, “It has taken a creative and flexible approach while strictly observing the health and safety measures, and this has meant that relatively few courses have had to be cancelled.

“Under the new procedures, you can only use one door to get into Tally Ho. Once you are inside, there is a one-way system in place to govern how you navigate around the building, there is hand sanitiser available at multiple points, plenty of washing facilities and there are lines on all floors indicating the two-metre distancing.

“Everything has been risk assessed and, while you can never eliminate risks totally, the measures put in place have certainly helped minimise risks as much as possible. Learning and Development has worked collaboratively with Force health and safety leaders, the Federation and the unions to do everything it can to maintain learning but also offer protection to everyone undertaking training. We have to protect everyone’s welfare.”

A similar stance has been taken with the training facilities at Cosford.

In addition to the changes to the way in which buildings are being used, L & D has also adapted at pace to the way in which it delivers some training, which has been particularly crucial given the influx of student officers through the Government’s three-year drive to recruit 20,000 officers nationwide over the next three years.

Trainers from the department have worked in partnership with Staffordshire University and now all the Policing Educational Qualification Framework (PEQF) student officer initial training is being delivered by distance learning.

This has also been enabled by flexibility by colleagues within the PDUs. Assessment of student officers and student PCSOs has also been done creatively through remote and virtual methods, for example, through the use of body cam footage.

Jase explains: “With the restrictions coming in as a result of the ‘lockdown’, everyone had to consider new ways of doing things so that we could deliver the training. Everyone has been very accepting of the new way of training.

“We have had one or two student officers who didn’t feel confident about some elements of that training but, where they have come forward, I have worked outside of usual hours with fellow Fed rep Wayne Bennett, who is deputy chair of the health and safety committee, to hold an extra class for them, obviously observing social distancing practice.”

Regular meetings are still being held involving L & D, the Federation and the unions so that there is a continual review of how training is being delivered and also regular assessment of safety measures.

“We are listening to all the advice coming out and adapting as necessary,” says Jase, “By all parties working together, we are keeping training going by diminishing the risks to all involved.”

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September 2020
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