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Wiltshire Police Federation

Protected Learning Time should be accessible to every police officer

5 May 2022

Polfed News

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) says Protected Learning Time (PLT) should be accessible to every police officer.

It says ensuring officers are given the proper training they require should be a constant whether this is used within rank or in preparation for promotion.

PFEW National Chair Steve Hartshorn explained if PLT is formally adopted by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing, this would negate the need for a licence to practise.

He said: “PLT must be available to every officer for their professional development. Officers should not be expected to complete assessments in their own time or on their rest days, but instead, be allowed to allocate time during their working hours to complete training courses. This then promotes their wellbeing and a good work-life balance.

“Officers often neglect training because they see it as something unrelated to their work duties. To combat this culture, forces should strive to build a learning culture by making training a necessary part of regular workflows.”

Dave Bamber, PFEW Learning and Development Lead, who has been directly involved in developing this guidance, commented: “To genuinely invest in our people, we must ensure training and development is provided by every force.

“PLT for student officer training should be guaranteed for front line officers, to ensure they’re equipped to handle scenarios professionally and appropriately when delivering our vital service to the public.

“Learning time is essential for young in-service officers and it is grossly unfair to expect them to perform their duties with the pressure of learning outside of their working hours affecting their quality of life.

“It would also be remiss not to mention that PLT is part of the funding model for student officers.”

Officers should not be expected to take on mandatory role specific training such as firearms or other practical based skills in their own time, this should be the same for all required training officers are expected to perform for their role.

Meanwhile, supervisors should be provided with time to support the officer’s development. PLT should be encouraged across ranks as an investment in motivating and developing competent and professional officers.

By doing this, PLT will highlight the areas that require more training whilst addressing any deficiencies identified in the officer's performance reviews.

Training and development programs will also help officers discover areas in which they could use additional educational opportunities and support.

PLT will in turn, promote uniformity of work processes and increase productivity and performance, therefore providing a better workplace environment.