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Training and CPD vital for forces in the future, chiefs told

Improving the quality of professional development and training is critical, the Police Foundation has warned.
Published - 22/02/2021 By - Chris Smith

Meeting the Uplift target of 20,000 new officers is no guarantee that forces will have the best people to tackle new types of crime, the Police Foundation’s Director has warned.

Ahead of the foundation’s annual conference which starts tomorrow (23 February) Rick Muir also told Police Oracle that forces need to think about how they support and develop the new intake of officers as well as the tutors tasked with mentoring them.

“Not enough thought has gone into that,” he said. “It can be hard, particularly for those doing a response role. Given the quality of education – with the degree it’s a higher level- it has to be given a higher priority.”

He shared a concern that has also been raised by the Police Federation’s lead for learning and development, Dave Bamber, and the  College of Policing over continuous professional development (CPD) for officers.

The focus of this year's conference is on learning and development and findings from the event will feed into the foundation’s review on the future of policing which is due for publication in October.

“We need the workforce to have a different skills mix to what it has today,” Mr Muir said. “The police have to deal with a lot of issues around vulnerability or trying to find a criminal justice solution when it’s actually referring people into other relevant services.”

Mr Muir said forces need to plan for the next 20 years.

“What are the skills we’re going to need? Crime investigation is going to be very different. Even now, a lot of crime and fraud investigations don’t need to be done by a local officer. A lot of it takes place internationally,” he said.

“There’s the international element of getting information from a company’s server. At some point, someone will have to execute a warrant or make an arrest. But the actual piece of work doesn’t need an officer to do it. The National Crime Agency has seconded officers and non-police investigators.

Joint working with the NCA has also accelerated due to the flood of intelligence gained during the lockdown. 

He told Police Oracle: “We’re going to see a much more blended workforce. We’re always going to need a good number of generalist police officers who do deal with issues like the night time economy, neighbourhood policing and responding to 999 calls.

"There are more and more specialised roles, such as on the investigation side, where you can ask if it needs a warranted officer to do it. That feels like the direction of travel.”

The Police Foundation event will hear from sector leaders including National Police Chiefs’ Council leader Martin Hewitt, academics and Paul Hewitt, President of the Police Superintendents’ Association on recruitment and retention.

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