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'Gutted' officers react after Sergeant exams cancelled by CoP

Police due to take their sergeant exams have shared their disappointment after they were cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The College of Policing made the announcement on social media and on its website last night following the change in government advice.

The exams had been due to take place today in London leaving some candidates stranded and out of pocket for hotel and travel costs.

Mike Cunningham, Chief Executive of the college, said: “We tried to keep the Sergeants exam running but the government advice this afternoon has led to this decision. We are being asked to lead our lives very differently and the government has announced drastic action earlier than they expected. This is a disappointing but unavoidable decision.”

The College of Policing’s official statement said: “We wanted to give officers every opportunity to take the exam and understand the time you have invested in studying.

We will provide officers with further information, including future opportunities to sit the exam, as soon as it is possible to do so in what is a fast-moving situation. We understand the importance of the examination to all officers and how this will impact on them personally.

It added: “We also appreciate the difficulties this will cause forces in ensuring their future workforce needs are met. The College will work with forces and within Government and PHE advice, to reschedule the exam as soon as is feasible.”

Officers reacted with disappointment, with many saying they were “gutted” after months of study.

The decision was supported by force leaders who said the college had taken the right approach.

Chief Constable Devon and Cornwall Police, Shaun Sawyer, said on social media: “Full support to the College of Policing and Mike Cunningham making an evidence based, difficult decision regarding the Sergeant exam. Not what Mike, I or any Chief would wish for colleagues who studied long and hard. My best wishes to candidates to reward your endeavour when the time comes.”

Officers that had been due to sit the exams shared their disappointment and worries about what would happen next.

One said: “I’m gutted, my online Q and A runs out soon. I’ve spent a fortune on books subscriptions and crammer course.”

Another called on the college to guarantee it will not change the syllabus for those registered on this exam.

“Six months of my life. Do not change it,” they said.

Another said keeping motivated would be a challenge: “How do you now keep revising for a non-existent date? Hard but totally understand.”

Kevin Mulligan, Chief Inspector with Northamptonshire Police consoled one entrant with a call for their force to think creatively: “Hopefully your force will be able to create Acting or Temporary Sgt opportunities for those like you who were due to sit the exam but weren’t able to.”

One officer responded on social media: “At the end of the day we are all cops and we should deal With it. Yes it’s a pain in the arse, yes everyone has worked really hard but it is what it is. We need to be resilient and smash it when the exam happens.”

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