“One route but not the only route”, John Dwyer, Police & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire has set out his thoughts on the plans proposed by the College of Policing which could require all new police officers in England and Wales to have a degree level qualification to enter the service.
Mr Dwyer continued: “In one sense I can understand the view of the College of Policing; they are looking to introduce a consistent standard for new entrants into police forces across the country. I do agree with this and is why in Cheshire all new officers are required to complete the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing prior to starting with the Constabulary.
"This is supported by a rigorous application process which demands the highest standards from applicants. This ensures that all new recruits have the same baseline policing knowledge before starting and meet the standard expected by the Chief Constable.
“Where I disagree with the College is that I do not feel that we should be prescribing a degree level qualification for new entrants. This can be one route but not the only route.
“I believe that if this was to be implemented it would narrow the pool of applicants as we could lose those people who did not want, cannot afford or do not have the means to undertake a full degree – in essence we could lose some great police officers of the future.”
This does not mean that the Commissioner is not willing to explore ways of advancing police officers and their training.
“I am a strong believer in personal and professional development and I think this should be promoted throughout a police officer’s career. This indeed is what we are doing with Chester University which means that on the job training will result in a degree qualification.
“I think options should be explored to ensure that full police training is recognised as the equivalent of a formal professional qualification, similar to an academic degree level qualification outside of the ‘police arena’ and I would be happy to discuss both this and our approach in Cheshire with the College.”