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College begins major review to meet future needs and ethics pressures

Frontline officers have been offered the chance to have their say on changes at the College of Policing.
Published - 24/03/2021 By - Chris Smith

The College of Policing has been put under review by its new Chair to decide how it will resource itself and support training for officers over the next decade.

New chair of the College of Policing board, former policing minister Lord Nick Herbert has launched a “fundamental review” of the college’s work and wants an evidence base to be able to argue for changes.

The peer wants to know what more can be done to meet the development needs of officers.

The announcement was backed by the Police Federation as a way of getting the College to improve support for rank and file officers.

It follows a call last week by the new Chief Constable for Merseyside for response officers to be given better training and development.

Forces are rapidly bringing through hundreds of Uplift recruits and having grown up with both technology and continuous development, they are going to increase their demands for better training.

The College is currently developing new modules to deal with ethics issues such as the use of technology developments. But senior figures within policing are warning that events of the last 12 months have jolted public opinion and forces must respond.

Bernie O'Reilly, interim Chief Executive of the College, said: “We’ve been making some real progress in improving our connection with the front line through supporting policing across critical areas such as the COVID-19 pandemic and bringing an additional 20,000 officers into the service.

“We know there’s more to do – this review is crucial to help us understand where the service feels we could improve and to help us to meet the needs of our frontline colleagues in a way that they feel supported with the right tools, knowledge and guidance they need and deserve to keep people safe..”

Over the past 12 months the College has rebranded and relaunched its website and training modules. It rapidly moved exams online and has had a central role in creating the lockdown guidance for forces to be able to enforce lockdown.

But despite this, some sections of staff and policing still believe that its primary role is to assess people for promotion.

The review will look at the relationship between the College and other policing organisations and how well equipped the College is to support the police service to deal with future challenges such as the rise of cyber crime.

Lord Herbert has decided on the review just a few weeks after his appointment as he wants it to coincide with the tenth anniversary next year of the College being established.

He said: “This is a critical time in policing with the demands and pressures on the service only increasing during the pandemic. I believe the time is right to look at the work that the College does, as well as the place that it occupies in the policing landscape. It’s important that we explore how effective the College is in supporting a police service whose mission has been extended and capability stretched over the last 10 years. 

“I’m keen that we listen to people from across policing, regardless of their rank, grade or role, to find what they want from their College of Policing and help us identify the areas where we need to improve.”

The Police Federation backed the announcement.

Chair John Apter said: “This root and branch review is a great opportunity to make the College of Policing more meaningful and relevant to rank and file officers, providing them with the training, guidance and support they deserve.”

Have your say by downloading the form on the College website and emailing your views to review@college.pnn.police.uk by 30 April 2021.

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