'Wrong to compare policing with other professions'

12 January 2017

Comparing police officers to other occupations doesn’t work, Federation chair Steve White told radio listeners, after College of Policing (CoP) CEO Alex Marshall made several comparisons with midwives.

Mr White said: “Being a police officer today is more challenging than it has ever been,” in a debate about police recruitment and training on BBC Radio 5Live today.

Mr Marshall said he would like to see policing adopt standardised training in the same way as nursing. But Mr White said many areas in the CoP’s proposals needed much more scrutiny.

“We mustn’t have a situation where you need a degree to join the service. But are you going to say that a higher level [policing] apprentice should be paid the same as someone who has a degree in biology?

“We have a situation where voluntary resignations are up by 11%, an increase of people leaving the police service voluntarily because they are fed up. When we are talking about recruiting the right calibre of people, you have got to be able to present them with a package that is attractive.

“They might like the job, but the pay and conditions, and what they are being asked to do is not what they expected. Pay and conditions have dropped by 15% in real terms while demand has gone through the roof. In spite of what some people say, crime is not going down. If you include cyber-crime in the figures, crime has gone up by 45%.

“And only a third of our time is spent dealing with actual crime; the rest of the time is spent dealing with plugging the gaps left by other services like the NHS and social care.

The programme - What does it take to be a 21st century police officer? - also featured interviews with Home Office Select Committee chair Yvette Cooper and representatives from West Yorkshire Police.