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CoP backs learning demand from Fed with warning to chiefs

Chiefs are set to be challenged by the College of Policing over training support.

The College of Policing has backed calls for protected learning for all officers - and revealed plans for a reboot of personal development support.

But before the overhaul of professional development and training, Chiefs will be challenged over why it is not “properly considered and embedded” right now.

In a major toughening of its stance, the College said officers across the ranks should be getting “appropriate and affordable” protected time for training and development.

It followed criticism from the Police Federation and degree students that officers are resorting to meet demands for coursework and learning in their own time while also doing their day jobs.

The CoP revealed outline plans for professional development following a call by the Police Federation for forces to take training more seriously.

The Fed argued that a traditional belief at the top that revision for promotion, refresher training, specialist skills learning and degree study could be done in personal time by officers is outdated.

Instead, officers should be given protected learning time (PLT) to complete studies or tasks for professional development.

Fed leader Steve Hartshorn said: “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.”

It is understood by Police Oracle that Chiefs are set to be challenged over their reluctance to step in and order managers to allocate time and resources for training and development.

The College believes change can only happen if it “emanates from the top”.

The College wanted the new degree programme to be the start of a shift in attitudes. But, as probationers have revealed, the focus remains on meeting the huge demand from the public and learning has been pushed into college days, rest days or leave.

“We recognise and promote the appropriate and affordable use of PLT within policing to invest in officers and staff, a spokesman told Police Oracle.

“Regarding concerns about the erosion of PLT, the College is working closely with forces and providers to constantly address this. We see PLT as an investment in policing’s people and this should be encouraged where feasible to do so, although it is recognised there is also a cost to this, and a balance must be obtained.”

They added: “We have worked closely with forces, education providers and other stakeholders. This includes PFEW [Police Federation], both directly and via their College Board representation, to ensure PLT is fully integrated within the new entry routes – a critical focus during the routes’ development phase.”

The College also revealed it is developing a new national plan for leadership.

It is in response to the review of the College’s work which revealed a huge disconnect with officers – and dissatisfaction at support for officers.

And Chief Executive Andy Marsh in one of his early interventions after taking over warned forces needed to change how they work to enable a leader who is someone that takes difficult decisions at the right time rather than relying on rank.

The College told Police Oracle: “Leadership development is a key lever in achieving this aim, and we will work with the service to help strengthen the offer to develop leaders at every level. PLT will need to be properly considered and embedded to ensure the success of this initiative.”

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