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Police degrees: Work on apprenticeships has begun, as Met volunteers to pilot programme

Force supports degree option for all new recruits
Published - 01/06/2016 By - Ian Weinfass - Police Oracle

The Met Police has asked the College of Policing if it can start an accredited apprenticeship scheme "as soon as possible".

The College has been consulting on qualifications for policing – including having self-funded degrees as a pre-requisite for most new recruits.

In its response to the consultation, the UK’s largest force said it was supportive of most elements proposed by the organisation.

This includes creating three routes for wannabe police officers: police degrees, conversions from other courses and apprenticeships.

It is the last, which would see qualifications gained on the job while recruits are on a reduced starting salary, which the Met seems keenest on.

College Chief Executive CC Alex Marshall told the recent Police Federation Conference that many people who responded to its consultation were keen on that part of the scheme.

Chief Supt Rob Atkin wrote in the force’s reply to the consultation: "The MPS [Metropolitan Police Service] fully supports the concept of entry on a high level apprenticeship scheme.

"The MPS feels this will ensure that those without a traditional academic background and/or from underrepresented groups would still view policing as viable career choice.

"The MPS has a vibrant and highly diverse volunteer police cadet force - this we would see as a potential career pathway for those who want a career in policing however may not wish for whatever reason to go to university.

"The MPS likes the fact that this is a highly practical and vocational access point into policing and we believe it will be popular.”

He adds forces will be subject to a national apprentice levy being introduced on all large employers next year and they will only be able to get the money back if they have an apprentice training scheme in place.

Government information states the levy will be charged on any employers with a pay bill of over £3 million, and levelled at 0.5 per cent of their annual pay bill.

Chief Supt Atkin adds: “The MPS would like the higher level apprentice concept fast tracked and we the MPS would like the College to work alongside us to pilot this concept as soon as possible.”

The response also states it hopes the degrees are vocationally-focused, but that the force views the idea as “one of the most fundamental changes in policing in order to significantly increase capability of the workforce”.

“There needs to be a clear narrative as to the positive difference it will make to service delivery and the capabilities of our workforce,” it adds.

Chief Supt Atkin does raise concerns about the possible impact on recruiting ethnic minority officers, the negative impact on people gaining degrees and there being no police recruitment taking place and the costs of degrees, however the force is overwhelmingly supportive of the plans.

The Police Federation of England and Wales has previously said that there is limited evidence to support the College’s proposals.

In their response, the staff association called for a “thorough modelling and testing of assumptions before any changes are implemented”.

CC Marshall said the responses to the consultation were still being looked at.

A College spokeswoman said more details about the apprenticeship scheme will be published later this year.

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