More detail needed for qualification framework

15 December 2016

A standardised training framework for police officers is a good idea, but more details about the implementation are needed.

The College of Policing has just announced its Policing Education Qualifications Framework, following public consultation.

Andy Fittes, General Secretary of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said in response: “We do, and always have, supported accrediting qualifications to those officers already in policing to recognise their existing skills. We also support the idea that a framework, similar to what the College of Policing has put together, might result in a welcomed standardisation across courses.

“The framework out today is a good start, and offers a look at what the service may look like in the future. We still have questions around the implementation and details of how aspects of the training would work. The consultation around these aspects is essential, and we hope the College will continue to work with ourselves, as well as forces, as this framework develops further details.”

He added that the Federation was glad to see a move away from requiring minimum education requirements before joining the service.

“There is a balance to be struck around encouraging people to have a certain level of education before joining the force, and marginalising and excluding good quality candidates from all communities by limiting the pool of potential candidates if they are unable to afford it,” he said.

The College’s proposals also referred to protected learning time. The Federation fully supports a move to ensure that officers are given enough time to complete relevant work, however, Mr Fittes said they would like to see the details of how this will be achieved, given the already immense demands placed on the service at this time.

He also noted the difference between officers applying through an apprentice scheme, which would be funded by the force, and officers coming in with a recognised policing degree from a university.

“We would be interested to hear what, if any, impact this may have on entry profiles of officers from these differing entry backgrounds,” he added.

On the apprentice scheme, which Mr Fittes said the Federation generally supported, he did raise concerns:

“The inability of the scheme to be rolled out in Welsh forces is still a concern, and we will continue to work with the College, and other partners, to ensure that any changes are beneficial to all our members.”

He added: “The most fundamental and important question that must be answered though, is how does this proposal benefit the public the police serve? What is the benefit to the public, in terms of policing delivery, to have officers hold pre-joining qualifications, or serving officers becoming accredited?"