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Degree entry students can transfer onto force's new training scheme

The Policing PLUS scheme will allow those who wish to transfer from the degree programme to do so, in a move that's expected to free up 100,000 hours a year from June.

Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Constabulary has unveiled a new training course for those wishing to enter the service that its Chief Constable says will free up to 100,000 hours of officer time a year.

The Policing PLUS scheme, which is affiliated to the IPLDP programme under extended licence from the College of Policing, has been created after Home Secretary Suella Braverman asked the College to consider non-degree entry options at the NPCC/APCC conference last November.

In a move that the force says is a nationwide first, those already in year one and year two of the degree programme will be allowed to transfer across after they complete the year they are in.

Any student officer who chooses to do so will no longer have a fifth of their time reserved for Protected Learning, as is the current position for all degree entry officers.

This will free up the time promised by Chief Constable Scott Chilton, who described Policing PLUS as a "game changer" in an open letter to student officers announcing the scheme.

He wrote: "My focus is being tough on crime. I expect my cops to take direct action against criminals, and to do high quality investigations.

"That requires us to train them in the right way. This change delivers that, and gets hundreds of the extra police officers that we have recruited on our streets quicker.

"For a force like Hampshire, with a high percentage of student officers, this is a game changer freeing up to 100,000 hours of police officer time."

Of the force's 3,300 officers, more than 750 are students: 550+ are on the police apprentice scheme, with a further 200+ on the degree holder entry programme.

Vowing that those who choose to remain on the degree programme will be "fully supported", CC Chilton believes this scheme will positively impact attrition and encourage people not drawn to the degree route to join.

"We are losing too many competent operational officers who are either not ‘academic’ or too pressured when faced with a degree and being a full time police officer," he added.

Policing PLUS uses IPLDP as the basis but also focuses on further developing practical policing skills.

The scheme will run parallel to the degree programme; those who undertake Policing PLUS will have a 15-week initial programme aligned to students on the degree entry route.

Those who choose to move across from the degree programme after year one or two will keep the credits they have earned and will earn a relevant qualification (not a degree).

The move has also been backed by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight PCC Donna Jones, a long-term advocate of ending the compulsory degree route.

She said: "Giving people a choice whether to complete a police degree or not, is the right thing to do. It’s more equal and will appeal to more diverse communities. We want to attract good people from a range of backgrounds.

"That’s why my message to the chief constable from day one has been to review the entry route into the force and I am delighted that he has made this decision and quickly."

Admitting that she hopes Policing PLUS "helps to shape national plans for police entry routes", PCC Jones says she has made sure the force has the money to add an extra 100 officers - above and beyond those joining under the Uplift programme.

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