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Policing degrees must become 'truly vocational' says Fed Chair

Steve Treharne believes the idea of policing degrees is not inherently wrong but has been 'lost in translation' to the detriment of student officers.

The South Wales Police Federation Chair has argued against the scrapping of policing degrees, but insists the system must be reformed to help student officers.

Arguing that the Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF) "places unnecessary pressure" on those officers, Steve Treharne said: "Policing turned the introduction of PEQF over to the higher education institutes and gave them too much free rein.

"They designed what they had experience in: academic degrees. Policing leaders should have done more to ensure the vocational ethos was fully ingrained and delivered within PEQF."

At the APCC/NPCC conference last month, Home Secretary Suella Braverman confirmed that she had asked the College of Policing to consider other non-degree entry options into the service.

This announcement came the week after 16 PCCs had asked Ms Braverman to consider the benefits of keeping the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP) entry route open.

Mr Treharne pointed to a potential problem, should both entry routes co-exist as suggested.

He said: "The Home Secretary’s concession, that a non-academic entry route can run alongside the degree programme, means it would be unfair to dismiss academic entry officers who fail to obtain their qualification, since those not studying are not subject to the same rules."

Squaring this circle is key to the Chair's desire for reform.

"I strongly believe that the issues will dissipate significantly with the move towards a truly vocational degree with them being able to complete the degree requirements within their working time," he said.

What's clear to Mr Treharne is that the current situation, which he claims sees many officers completing their studies on their rest days or annual leave, isn't sustainable.

He said: "This results in student officers not being able to decompress away from policing. The current system is breaking new officers and leading to an extremely bitter introduction to policing."

Admitting that he would have "struggled with the demands of PEQF", the Chair said he has heard from student officers who feel the same way.

"The idea of professionalising the service by providing academic qualifications to officers is not wrong but has been lost in translation," Mr Treharne added.

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