A recent government U-turn on degree-only entry into policing has been welcomed by Lincolnshire’s Police & Crime Commissioner – an avid campaigner against the policy.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman announced the scrapping of a requirement for all police officers to earn degrees, following backlash from a number of chief constables and police and crime commissioners across the country.
The process sees officers complete a three-year probation as part of attaining a graduate-level qualification.
It is a policy that Lincolnshire PCC Marc Jones has battled since it was introduced in 2018, with all forces supposed to have implemented the new regime by this year.
PCC Jones argued that chief constables should have the choice of recruiting using a non-degree route, leading to more time to focus on policing.
After a series of meetings with Home Secretary Suella Braverman, Lincolnshire’s PCC has convinced the government to allow the existing non-degree entry process to continue.
During a speech at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and National Police Chiefs’ Council Partnership Summit, the Home Secretary said: “The College of Policing has been working hard to raise the standards of initial entry and ensure officers are equipped to meet the challenges of policing today. And we know that to build public confidence, we must draw from the widest possible pool of talent across all sections of society.
“To deliver this, forces must increase efforts to implement the new entry routes successfully. Whilst I have heard some good things about the new entry routes, such as better retention of officers who feel better equipped to do the job, I have also heard from many of you that there is a need for more flexibility to ensure broad access to a policing career.
“So, I have asked the College to build on their work by considering options for a new non-degree entry route, to deliver officers of the highest calibre, which will complement the existing framework. In the meantime, the current transitional non degree entry route will be kept open.
“Our police force must be open to those who do not have a degree or want one.”
Marc Jones responded to this by saying officers should not have to get a degree to serve the community within the police.
The Lincolnshire PCC said: “I welcome the Home Secretary’s decision and applaud her willingness to listen to the views and arguments from many PCCs around the country who agreed with me.
“It is laudable that the College of Policing seek ways to ensure new officers are equipped to meet the challenges required of modern forces and I’m confident this can be done without mandatory degree attainment.
“We need officers with the right skills, commitment and attitudes and the flexibility to put square pegs in square holes.
“A former military-trained recruit might be perfect for an armed response officer and might not need a degree and someone born oversees with language skills can add real value but neither should have to get a degree to serve the community as a police officer.”
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