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Welcome to a new pathway to Continuous Professional Development

The Police Oracle continuous professional development (CPD) column is a mixed section which contains an ongoing review and assessment of contemporary CPD practices and approaches along with helpful resources, tips and guidance on maintaining good skills and expertise.

We have included and will update the Sergeants, Inspectors and NIE exam calendar to provide a helpful aide memoir for those officers choosing to take these critical exams. We provide a monthly update on preparing for these professional exams setting out valuable guidance on the most successful approach to study and how to avoid common mistakes.

We feature examples of training best practice and innovation from both the law enforcement Learning and Development (L&D) and the commercial service provider market which supports the law enforcement L&D functions.

Learning and development functions within forces are asked to do more with less. Internal training capacity has been stripped back. The new normal is to have a blended approach to training delivery, part in house, and part dependant on external providers.

From this year the adoption of the new police degree framework (PEQF) and direct entry graduate entry schemes become the new normal. The new training for officers joining policing will be up and running in more than 30 police forces across England and Wales over the next year and these forces have worked with universities to put their packages together. Officers are already undergoing the updated training in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, South Wales, Gwent, Dyfed-Powys, West Midlands, Northumbria, Avon and Somerset and Staffordshire.

The new framework is part of a national bid to standardise police training to ensure all officers ultimately have degrees.

It is also part of a wider move by the government to improve professional training so that apprenticeships, which is how some recruits will start on the job, are given a higher level of recognition by both students and employers.

The framework offers three pathways into policing:

  • The first, a three-year police constable apprenticeship which is paid for by the force, allows individuals to “earn while they learn” – spending 80 per cent of their time on the frontline and the rest completing their degree while receiving a salary.
  • The second is a two-year accelerated route for those who already hold a degree in any subject, enabling new recruits to join the force and train as a police constable while working towards a recognised policing diploma.
  • The third allows new recruits to do a three-year policing degree in professional policing at their own expense and during the conclusion of it, the ability to apply to a force and follow a shorter on-the-job training programme.

Twenty-eight universities in England and Wales have signed up to partnerships with police forces to provide the new qualification. We will track the progress and performance of these institutions in this brave new world fusing further education and with law enforcement CPD.

The College of Policing says the new course updates a training system which is 13 years old and better prepares officers for the demands placed on them. The programme now includes digital policing, vulnerability, disclosure, mental health and still requires police officers to have empathy, compassion and common sense.

As policing begins to adapt to meet the new challenges of policing the digital space and combatting fraud, often across multiple jurisdictions, the skills and expertise which will be needed to be taught will seem a long way apart from what was core curriculum just 10 years ago.

Direct entry programmes have had mixed levels of take up. What is certain is policing is unlikely to maintain its high levels of employee retention when compared to other professionals. In a further 10 years the new normal will be much shorter periods of police officer employment, with higher levels of mature candidates entering the service and higher frequencies of leavers who rejoin. How will L&D adapt?

Outside of policing the prevalent CPD regimes are characterized by the principles of self management and employee led engagement. How will policing adapt its approach to the delivery of CPD to meet the needs of the 21st century law enforcement learner?

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