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Neighbourhood officers don't need degrees says Lancashire PCC

Andrew Snowden says neighbourhood policing work needs life skills and curiosity rather than academic qualifications

Lancashire PCC Andrew Snowden said neighbourhood work needed good communication with locals and not a degree.

The latest intervention came as the Home Office confirmed to Police Oracle that the  traditional IPLDP won’t be coming back.

Although stopping short of a call to scrap the degree programme, Mr Snowden said neighbourhood policing work needed life skills and curiosity rather than academic qualifications.

He told local media: “There is a huge role to play for degree-holder entry – it is a real fast track for a career into different areas of the police. I think higher education institutions like UCLan – which we partner on with lots of different projects, as well as training – have a role to play in the training of every officer.”

Mr Snowden explained: “What do you look for in a good neighbourhood policing officer? It’s common sense, it’s being street savvy, it’s an inquisitive mind and it’s the confidence to be able to communicate with people and deal with – and diffuse – difficult situations.”

He added: “That, for me, is really important and we’ve got to bottle more of that.”

His Chief Constable, Chris Rowley, also went on the record to warn study time was impacting on his force’s capacity.

They are just the latest to call for the College of Policing to rethink the current system.

Derbyshire and Thames Valley recently re-opening IPLDP this year. Northamptonshire’s Chief Constable Nick Adderley, also wrote to the College asking to re-open their route while it remains a possibility.

CC Adderley told Police Oracle he would “continue to fight for it” to attract a different cohort of people.

But it may be too late, as the Home Office has confirmed the IPLDP route will close next year.

The announcement was made by the College of Policing that there would be no more extensions and that it will end for all forces in March of next year.

A Home Office official confirmed to Police Oracle that any attempts by forces or Fed officers to go over the head of the College with an appeal to Whitehall would be pointless.

“The March deadline is definite and final. It’s been signed off. IPLDP won’t be coming back,” they said.

But Police Oracle was also told that the Home Office is giving its full commitment to the direct entry route for Armed Forces personnel which has been jointly developed between Nottinghamshire and the College.

It could be widened out to include other employment pathways.

“This is something that the department has got behind – it’s got support. We’d be interested in seeing how that could be explored further,” Police Oracle was told.

But there was also a warning that community officers should also have the opportunity to fully develop their careers.

Crime and policing researcher Gavin Hales said: “Are they going to remain as neighbourhood officers for their whole career, rather like a PCSO with no promotion opportunities? Is the solution a rethink about education, or the amount of time spent walking the beat?”

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