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Return to work scheme for female officers assessed by CoP

Two schemes from the CoP that aim to encourage women into detective and senior leadership roles approach the end of their first year.
Published - 06/03/2020 By - Chloe Livadeas

A pilot initiative by the College of Policing which encourages those who left the police due to care-giving responsibilities to re-join investigative roles is approaching the end of its first year.

The Return to Investigative Practice was launched in the spring of 2019 and aims to support forces to rehire those qualified in investigative and detective work who left the service to care for elderly or disabled relatives or because of child minding responsibilities.

Ten forces are currently part of the scheme: Avon and Somerset, City of London, Essex, Hampshire, Kent, North Yorkshire, South Wales, Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valley.

There is a national shortage of detectives and investigators.

Recent changes to the Police Regulations mean that previous time limits of five years on returning to policing have been removed.

The college provides the participating forces with guidance on supporting ‘re-joiners’, which focuses on ten principles covering interview process and evaluation of someone’s professional development needs against the role profile.  

The college said: “Our first challenge was to identify leavers who might be interested in re-joining the force – the issue here has been the fact that most forces don’t detail an employee’s reason for leaving, which meant that datasets were incomplete.

“In light of this, we turned to other methods of reaching leavers, ranging from informal methods like Facebook alumni groups, friends and family of leavers, and serving police officers and staff, which had the benefit of reaching those who may be considering leaving but could be interested in returning to the force in the future.

“While this has been successful to a degree, we are keen to ensure that forces are aware of this initiative and that more and more leavers are reached through word-of-mouth, which, according to our academic partner, Working Families, is the most effective way of raising awareness of returner programmes.”

Following the results of the pilot, the college plans to develop a toolkit to help guide forces on best practise principles for recruiting, supporting and retaining joiner members.

A second college initative launched in the spring of last year was the Aspire programme.

The Aspire course is a Leadership Development Programme “aimed at providing skills, leadership insights and confidence building for anyone that identifies as belonging to a group which is underrepresented in senior leadership roles within the service, including, but not limited to, BAME candidates and women working in policing”.

It is aimed at the rank of Chief Inspector and above and police staff equivalent.

Each modules works to increase the participant’s self-awareness and confidence and “identify real and perceived barriers to career progression”.

So far 150 people have signed up. Five of these are in the process of taking the Senior Police National Assessment Centre process this year.

The course is currently oversubscribed and the college have additional courses planned for this year.

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