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14 April 2023
The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) reiterates strong opposition to chief officers introducing a Level 5 learning programme as the new non-degree police officer entry route as it inherently defeats the founding tenets of the Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF).
The PFEW acknowledges and agrees with the Chief Constables’ Council and the College of Policing that the traditional entry route offering a two-year training programme, the Initial Police Learning & Development Programme (IPLDP), is no longer fit for purpose to meet the challenges of our evolving crime environment and the complex challenges our officers are facing. However, introducing a Level 5 learning programme as the fourth entry route into policing is ill-conceived. It creates a two-track system clashing with the officers who are, and would continue to be, joining forces via the other evidence-based PEQF entry routes, which have been assessed as Level 6.
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.
The PFEW calls upon the NPCC and the College to apply its original proposal for a new non-degree entry route accredited to educational Level 6.
The recent Baroness Casey Review into the Metropolitan Police Service has highlighted that some officers are in roles they are not trained for. 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 amongst 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, while 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’s further implementation guidance and the design of associated curricula.
While the PFEW awaits the equality impact assessment of the decision to introduce the non-degree entry route supporting Level 5 qualification, it urges 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.