Requiring all police officers to have a degree will see the service missing out on vast areas of experience and closing the door on people who could make excellent police officers, Gloucestershire Police Federation has warned.
In line with national changes, from January, the Police Education Qualifications Framework will be introduced to take over the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme at Gloucestershire Police.
This means new recruits will either join the force after completing a university degree course, enroll as direct entry inspectors or superintendents, or take part in the three-year degree course alongside their police training.
But the controversial College of Policing scheme is shortsighted, according to Mike Harrison, the Gloucestershire Police Federation Chairman.
“My view is that in doing this, we are missing out on vast areas of society who haven’t been fortunate enough to access the further education that the service now requires, even though they do have all skills and attributes to make fantastic police officers. We are shutting the door on them and for me that is not acceptable.
“The service is supposed to be becoming more diverse, so how does this fit in with the new plans? I understand that this is about professionalising policing, and enabling officers to come out with a transferrable qualification, but why are we excluding all that potential and talent?
“Degree courses provide training in important areas such as cyber crime and fraud and other complicated areas that are not covered in the initial police training, but I see no reason why people cannot study these areas later. What we need, are well-trained and well-functioning police officers to start with who can then go down the specialising route later on.”
Gloucestershire Police Federation has backed Lincolnshire Police’s rejection of the scheme, where the Chief Constable has sought a judicial review. Bill Skelly accused the college of railroading the Police Education Qualifications Framework proposals through, “ignoring the growing evidence that demonstrates their impracticality”.
Mr Harrison added: “We support the Lincolnshire Police review and I hope that College reflects on where we are and introduces another route of entry to the police.”