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College report on direct entry schemes shows low numbers in post

The College of Policing has published a five-year report on its Direct Entry Schemes, claiming they ?can work? despite high costs and low uptake across forces.
Published - 21/07/2020 By - Chloe Livadeas

The independently peer reviewed report, published yesterday (20 July), details the sometimes limited number of participants in the controversial Direct Entry scheme who end up in post against the high cost of marketing, training and recruiting officers.   

The report looks at the numbers up to June 2019.

The report shows that only 14 forces took up the Direct Entry Superintendent scheme, which cost £3.57m and was put on hold by the college for 2020 due to the limited uptake by forces.

The figurers show 25 out of 33 participants completed the training which began in November 2014. Out of those 25, three have become Chief Superintendent’s and one has become an Assistant Chief Constable. Four were still in training, which takes 18 months, and four had left.

Sixteen of the 33 were women and three were people from a black or minority ethnic background.

The college said the small number of Direct Entry Superintendents recruited presented a “challenge to making a positive difference to an entire police force”. But they went on to say the concept of direct entry at this level “can work”. 

The college said the report found the schemes successfully prepared officers for the job, with some superintendents already promoted to more senior posts.

For direct entry Inspectors, 21 forces took up the scheme which began in November 2016 and cost £2.75m. Eleven out of 54 officers completed the training, 34 are still undergoing training which takes 24 months and nine participants left.

The report stated that “success relies on a rigorous selection process and effective development opportunities and support in force”.

For the fast track scheme, 39 forces took part at a cost of £1.95m. New officers were recruited every April since 2015. Out of 252 participants, 98 completed the programme, 14 left and 140 were still in training which takes 24 months. 

Chief Constable Mike Cunningham, College of Policing CEO, said: "Today's reports have shown us that we can recruit people from outside policing, or accelerate serving officers and staff to be highly effective in very senior roles.

"The officers who have been on the schemes are a credit to their forces and continue to lead a service with increasing demand and ever more complex crime.

"Now that we know the schemes can work, our next step is to talk to the service and understand the demand for Direct Entry in the future."

CC Cunningham added the next steps were consulting with the service to understand the demand for future schemes and considering the cost and diversity they can bring to forces.

The college said the evaluation, which seven forces participated in, also found officers were often “not constrained by hierarchy and willing to challenge upwards” and chief officers interviewed said the officers had “challenged norms, offered different perspectives, problem solved and encouraged others to do the same”.

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