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Chief Constable Bill Skelly continues to fight CoP on degrees

Lincolnshire chief says he will not implement the College of Policing's requirement that all new officers hold a degree as CoP extends its deadline for forces to June 2022.
Published - 15/01/2020 By - Chloe Livadeas

Chief Constable for Lincolnshire, Bill Skelly, says he will now turn to the Home Office after his judicial review of the new requirements for officers to hold a degree was dismissed for a second time.

CC Skelly has long been critical of the College of Policing’s PEQF scheme.

He objects to the requirement on the grounds of cost, recruitment and retention difficulties, and discrimination.

Meanwhile, the college has extended its deadline for implementation from June 2021 to June 2022.

He says that the hearing did not consider the pros and cons of the argument and instead was dismissed on a technicality around timing, which he said was ironic considering the College of Policing has extended its own deadline by a year.

CC Skelly will now turn his focus towards the government. He said “I am keen for the Home Secretary to be aware of our issue.’”

‘’The commitment to the 20,000 uplift will now be difficult if not impossible.’’

He said the number of Lincolnshire officers that have degrees is currently around 40%: “I don’t have any issues with degrees, I’ve just got an issue with it becoming 100%.’’

He went on to say: “They [the College] are unable to say the actual cost to my budgets. I’ve laid it out and I’ve had it independently verified which confirmed that there were costs not quantified, such as abstractions, turnover and losses of those more inclined leave the organisation sooner.

‘’It amounts to the cost of 40 to 50 officer posts, which is 10 per cent of our response capacity. It is not marginal.’’

He also said: ‘’I’m very proud that we recruit for older age demographic experience from a military background, particularly RAF, and that’s going to be significantly impacted if not lost.”

“None of that has been answered by the College.’’

The College of Policing said in a statement: “Although we recognise it is significantly higher in some specific areas, nationally ex-military personnel represent two per cent of the potential recruits into the police service.”

“We are encouraging those forces who see this as a potential pool of recruits to get in touch with the military at a local or regional level to discuss the possibilities.”

Mike Cunningham, College of Policing CEO, said: “The training for new recruits is 14 years old and it was agreed by chief constables that it required updating. For example, when the training was designed in 2006 there were no smartphones but now officers are expected to routinely include digital data in investigations.

“The new training will be up and running in more than 30 police forces across England and Wales over the next year and many chief constables have already successfully implemented it by working with the College of Policing in a constructive way.

“The cost and abstraction rates cannot be confirmed until a force has come to agreement with an education provider and any figures outside of this must be treated as speculation.”

Officers are already undergoing the updated training in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, South Wales, Gwent, Dyfed-Powys, West Midlands, Northumbria, Avon and Somerset, Staffordshire, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Cheshire, Sussex and Surrey.

CC Skelly stated: ‘’I am certainly not implementing it.’’

Mr Cunningham said that residents in Lincolnshire deserve to see new recruits trained to the same high standard as other forces and the college wanted every new officer to be “properly prepared and recognised for the difficult job they do in line with their colleagues elsewhere in the country”.

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