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PCCs write to Home Secretary to keep IPLDP open

16 PCCs have signed a letter asking Suella Braverman to reconsider the decision to end the IPLDP entry route into policing.

In a letter led by Kent PCC Matthew Scott, PCCs have called for Home Secretary Suella Braverman to consider the benefits of keeping the IPLDP route open as an entry route into policing.

Signed by 16 PCCs, the letter points to the extraction rates of PEQF and the attraction of a wider range of people as reasons for not closing the route completely.

It reads: “During the past year, a number of Police Forces have asked for permission to offer places under the former IPLDP+ route in order to be more flexible with new recruits and attract those who aren’t interested in the PEQF programme. It will also help meet and maintain the 20,000 goal.

“The extraction rates of PEQF are significant, especially for smaller forces, who will see the benefits of the Uplift programme almost wiped out. Rather than being out on the street, as much as 10% of their frontline capability will be in the classroom, not on the frontline.

“There needs to be a more flexible approach. We need to allow local Police Forces the choice of having IPLDP+ and PEQF courses available to new entrants. This would remove the need for a Police Officer to have a degree at the end of their training from next year, whilst supporting local accountability and decision making.”

The letter further says that there should be a consideration of upgrading the IPLDP+ programme to a Level 4 – which could then be converted to a degree if the officer wishes.

PCC Andrew Snowden told Police Oracle that Lancashire are starting to see ‘eye-watering issues’ where since student officers are going back and forth to UCLAN, the force is needing to extract officers from areas such as neighbourhood policing to ensure they maintain the necessary frontline and response levels.  

He also referred to the longer-term issues on demographics.

“[A degree only route risks] making it a middle-class graduate profession,” he said.

“The PEELIAN principles state that policing should be from and for the community. Well, around half of the population don’t have a degree. We need to ensure we’re representing those from all socio-economic backgrounds.”

He added that PCCs are not asking for the degree option to be removed entirely, but rather that Chiefs and forces maintain their operational independence and their right to have the option of different entry routes.

He also mentioned he has spoken with Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman who he described as being ‘open-minded’ on the issue.

“I’m delighted other Commissioners have now come forward,” he added.

“The more public pressure the better.”

Signatories of the letter were PCCs for; Kent, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Essex, Dorset, Hampshire & Isle of Wight, Bedfordshire, Humberside, Surrey, Thames Valley, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Cleveland, Warwickshire and Derbyshire.

Warwickshire PCC Philip Seccombe told Police Oracle he remains supportive of PEQF overall but feels that having it as the only entry point to policing may not always be the best approach. He said he would like to see Chiefs have local discretion to choose whether or not to offer additional routes into policing.

Meanwhile Hampshire PCC Donna Jones said that recruitment needs to be more flexible "to get boots on the ground faster". 

“Having the choice [of PEQF and IPLDP] would provide forces with opportunities to recruit from a wider range of people with different backgrounds and skills. Keeping the PEQF as the only option can exclude those with really good experience, people we want to be police officers, like PCSOs, Specials and ex-military personnel.

“The PEQF can act as a barrier, rather than an enhancement; it is slowing down the process of new recruits becoming independent, delaying new officers getting out onto the streets – something the public really want to see."

A Home Office spokesperson responded: “The Government wants talented individuals recruited from the widest possible pool of candidates to ensure the police service is as representative and effective as it can be, and we have recruited 15,343 additional officers towards our landmark drive for 20,000 additional officers by March 2023.

“The new Policing Education Qualifications Framework will ensure that new recruits with and without a degree will receive the highest standard of training across England and Wales.”

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