Professional recognition for ‘expert’ constables

16 March 2017

Karen Stephens

Karen Stephens, PFEW lead on professional development

The College of Policing (CoP) wants to recognise constables who are experts in their field by offering a select handful career development without promotion.

An 18-month trial of the new Advanced Practitioner (AP) role was launched last month. “Not every officer wants to progress through the ranks,” said Karen Stephens, the Police Federation of England and Wales’ lead on professional development. “This concept offers those individuals who are incredibly experienced and knowledgeable in their area the recognition they deserve. The proposed model also looks to facilitate the sharing of good practice between forces through a national network of APs.

“If this new way of recognising the hard work of dedicated officers is put together correctly, then it can only be to the benefit of officers.”

The CoP emphasise that the role is not a threshold that all officers progress through, it is for those who apply and are selected against specific eligibility criteria. The pilot will run in the following forces: Thames Valley, Humberside, South Yorkshire, Cheshire, Lancashire, North Wales, West Yorkshire and the Metropolitan Police.

Jamie Thompson is a Detective Constable from Cheshire who is part of the pilot. “As a Federation rep, when I heard my force was taking part in the AP pilot, I saw it as important to put myself forward and work with the CoP," he said. "I think it is vital that if this pilot was to become something that was taken on by forces it needs to be achievable, fair and accessible to all. I also wish to ensure that detectives, especially those in specialised roles, have a voice.

“My first impression of the AP pilot is that there is a great deal of work to be done, however I genuinely believe that this is something that could benefit a lot of officers and professionalise work that is already happening.”

According to the CoP guidelines, an AP will undertake the role as an integral part of their job, taking the lead within a practice area (for example, cybercrime or domestic abuse) and providing a higher level of frontline skill and expertise to meet local policing needs. Participants in the pilot will not change their rank or grade and will not receive any additional pay.

The role emerged from the College’s 2015 Leadership Review, which outlines plans to move policing towards ‘a new model of leadership development and a stronger focus on learning on the job’. The PFEW are working closely with the CoP to ensure the programme is fit for purpose and benefits police officers.

More information on our work with the College of Policing