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College of Policing reaffirms end of IPLDP with Regulations change

The College of Policing has defended its reforms of training. Most are starting as apprentices, it claims.

The deadline to end non-degree police training will stay, the College of Policing has confirmed.

Training reforms will continue unchanged despite concerns being raised by Police and Crime Commissioners.

The College of Policing and the Home Office have reaffirmed their commitment to end the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP) which is being replaced with the police constable degree apprenticeship (PCDA) progamme.

The three training routes (PCDA, DHEP and pre-join degree) will be mandatory for forces from April next year, following a change in regulations by the Home Office.

As reported by Police Oracle last month, the Home Office had already made the decision to back the College’s reforms which it argues are needed to equip officers for evolving offences including online crime.

New recruits will be apprentices working towards a degree, people who have obtained a policing degree independently and then applied to join a force or people with an existing degree who, like solicitors, have taken a diploma in professional policing.

Chief Constable Andy Marsh, College of Policing CEO, said the changes would also ensure standardised training across every force in the country.

“The consistent roll out of the new training is a significant step forward for policing and the public. It will help sustain the benefits of the Police Uplift programme and provide consistency to help keep people safe across the country,” he said.

“Like so many areas of life, crime and the demands policing faces have changed radically, and the training we provide officers needs to reflect this. We have listened to policing and the public to make sure the training helps officers tackle the core issues faced on the street, such as traditional crime like burglary, but also deal with more emerging crime types like fraud and online crime.”

But some of the Uplift recruits, who signed up during lockdown and were among the first to study for the degree, have raised concerns over course relevance and how they meet the demands of study while working in response roles.

The College has already accepted there is variation in course content among universities and that Chiefs need to task protected learning time so that recruits can complete assignments.

The Home Office signalled that issue is the next priority.

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “Whether you’re in Durham or Dorset, the public would expect local cops to all go through up to date and rigorous training. These changes ensure the police keep pace with all developments in crime, and give each officer the tools they need to keep the public safe.”

The College also claims satisfaction among trainee officers is higher than under the old arrangements – 75% now against 60% previously.

CC Marsh said: “We’re continuing to listen to feedback and make changes where needed so that forces and training providers implement the routes in a way that best helps officers and ensures the public are protected.”

But the College will have to move quickly to deliver improvements as students and tutor officers are warning that retention is an issue.

One officer shared on social media: “The drain is endemic. Time for senior officers to start taking note of real issues instead of plaudits for stats that look good and ignoring those that don’t suit.”

The only variation is the direct entry pathway for Armed Services personnel which was launched by Nottinghamshire in April which is being evaluated by the Home Office.

The Military Widening Access Course was co-designed with the University of Derby to be a Level 4 qualification which transfers skills and experience. The 12-week pilot course fast-tracks entrants onto the second year. 

The Home Office is understood to be keen to roll it out across all forces.

The College said it is “continuing to work with forces and other stakeholders to embed the changes and support implementation of the new training”.

But the decision means the government will have to set out how it will help forces in future that are struggling to meet their recruitment target.

The Met has not only gone out of area to achieve its Uplift numbers but is also offering a sign-on bonus to officers with neighbouring forces to transfer.

PCCs, including Bedfordshire and Lancashire, have warned that axing IPLDP will add to the challenge of finding recruits - and questioned if the degree is needed for neighbourhood work. 

And frontline officers say a below-inflation pay deal will also add to the pressures.

One warned: “Our impending 2% pay rise in a couple of months will only fuel this disaster in Policing. The Uplift recruiting is pointless if nobody is looking after the retention.”

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