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Saying it’s degrees that make policing professional an “insult”

Lancashire PCC Andrew Snowden has long expressed concerns about the ending of IPLDP. This week he spoke to Police Oracle about why he feels recruits need to have more options open to them.

PCC Andrew Snowden has said that he is against the ending of the IPLDP route and that he plans to work alongside other PCCs on the best way to move forward.  

“My point is to put political pressure to hopefully force a change at the College of Policing,” he told Police Oracle. 

“It's about having the right entry routes for the right people to get into the right jobs that we need them to get into in the force.

“Yes, if your aspiration is to become a Detective Chief Superintendent one day, or you want to go and work in forensics, or you want to go and work in CID [...]  then I would suggest a degree and probably even beyond the degree - is a good idea in terms of the level of education and academic attainment that you will need to be able to successfully perform those roles. 

“[However], so many of the really good officers that you meet on neighbourhood, particularly in response, are people who've joined be a cop. They join because that's their calling, that's what they've wanted to do [...] a lot of them don't have degrees and don't want a degree and to be honest, don't need a degree to do the job.” 

DCC Bernie O’Reilly, Deputy CEO, at the College of Policing has told Police Oracle: “The College continues to work with and support all forces as they implement the new training.

“The training for new recruits has been updated, so that officers are given the best preparation possible to fight crime and keep the public safe.

“The vast majority of training is done on the job and officers continue to be deployed on street while they train, as with previous training.

“We want the people of Lancashire to be served by new police officers who are trained to the same high standards as others across the country.”

While the College has frequently emphasised that potential officers do not need a degree prior to signing up to the police, PCC Snowden said: “having a degree or attaining a degree, it's the same pressure, you've got to get a degree to be a police officer.” 

He clarified that he does see the value of degrees and also of an element of academics within training to be an officer, for example in areas of law, sociology and criminology. 

However, he said: “I must admit the heading that this is put under -  around professionalising policing that really does not land or sit well with me at all. I think it's actually an insult to an awful lot of very, very good police officers out there who don't have degrees and are very professional.” 

He said that the degree requirement is not only a potential barrier to some of those looking to join, but also demonstrates a lack of sensitivity in terms of being aware of the differing lives of those looking to join, and whether they have other responsibilities such as children. 

He has also expressed concerns over the “ebb and flow” that the current structure has with officers pivoting between the frontline and university, meaning they miss out on long periods on the frontline. He said Lancashire are working with their Higher Education Provider UCLAN on improving the structure in this area. 

PCC Snowden said the force is not seeing some of the same problems that other forces are having with attracting recruits and they also have a lower than average attrition rate. 

Lancashire recently re-opened their IPLDP route alongside the PCDA after agreement with the College. 

“I don't understand why the Chief Constable of Lancashire should have to go begging to the College of Policing, for a dispensation to recruit officers in a certain way,” he said. 

“We can't have this situation with the College of Policing putting their fingers in their ears and saying we're doing it our way or the highway. That is not how good policy is decided and is certainly not how good policing for our country should be should be decided.” 

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