Police recruits must complete degree from 2017

Police officers in England and Wales will need to complete a degree to join the force, it has been revealed today. The news means that degree apprenticeships will be the model of entry for police forces from 2017.

Under the new regime, the policing apprenticeship, which is set to be introduced next year, will require recruits to undertake a three-year course, during which they will receive a salary while pursuing their academic studes, funded by their respective force.

Chief Constable Alex Marshall, chief executive of the College of Policing, said the changes were designed to ensure forces were better placed to address changes to crime-fighting.

He said: “At the moment, it is very lopsided and we don’t do a lot of professional development in policing.

“If you compare it to medicine or the military, there is massive investment in training and development, in policing there is a tiny investment.

 

“Time to make a change”

“The nature of police work is getting quite complex and it is quite contentious and the public expectation is that you’ll be patrolling in my street, and by the way you’ll be patrolling online.

“We don’t think the investment has been made in policing in terms of professional development and this is one of the ways that we start to address that.”

Mr Marshall continued: “One of the big things we got back from the public and people in policing was be careful not to exclude good people who couldn’t afford to go and get a degree because their parents can’t help them, or whatever it will be.”

Beyond the police force, the rank and file are broadly in support, according to Police Federation general secretary Andy Fittes, who said the Federation was behind the apprenticeship scheme, However, he added: “The most fundamental and important question that must be answered though, is how does this proposal benefit the public the police serve?

“What is the benefit to the public, in terms of policing delivery, to have officers hold pre-joining qualifications, or serving officers becoming accredited?”

He added: “There is a balance to be struck around encouraging people to have a certain level of education before joining the force, and marginalising and excluding good quality candidates from all communities by limiting the pool of potential candidates if they are unable to afford it.”