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'Scrap all-graduate police recruits plan,' urges police commissioner

Crime commissioner urges Priti Patel to scrap plans for graduate-only police recruits and says ex-soldiers will be better than university leavers with ‘expressive dance’ degrees

  • College of Policing has recommended new policy of all-graduate police recruits
  • Marc Jones, Lincolnshire’s police and crime commissioner, has criticised plans
  • He warns that those from military backgrounds may be excluded from joining 

A police and crime commissioner has today urged Priti Patel to scrap plans for an all-graduate policy for police recruiting. 

Marc Jones, Lincolnshire’s police and crime commissioner, has warned that such a scheme could exclude older recruits – such as those who join from military backgrounds.

He also said he had spoken to officers who claimed they would ‘rather have a former soldier next to them’ when dealing with a nightclub fight than someone with a ‘2:1 in expressive dance’.

Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, he said: ‘It doesn’t make sense to tell a former soldier: “I know you served your country, but when you get home to your wife and two children, or your husband, we also want you to study for a degree to be a firearms officer even though you’ve been in Afghanistan for eight years”.

‘An officer said to me: “At 2.30am in the morning when it’s kicking off outside of a nightclub, and I’m about to get out of the car, I would rather the person next to me had done four years in the Army, than had got a 2:1 in expressive dance”.’

A police and crime commissioner has today urged Priti Patel (pictured) to scrap plans for an all-graduate policy for police recruiting

Marc Jones (pictured), Lincolnshire’s police and crime commissioner, has warned that such a scheme could exclude older recruits – such as those who join from military backgrounds

Mr Jones, who is set to become the chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, added: ‘It’s horses for courses. We need a mix.’

His comments come after the College of Policing – the professional body for those who work in the police service – recommended to the Home Secretary about a policy of all-graduate recruits.

The policy, which has not yet formally been rubber stamped by Ms Patel, would mean recruits will have to have a degree to join as a police recruit.

Those who do not have a degree will have to join as an apprentice and study a degree while on the job.

But critics warn that such a scheme could discourage former military personnel from joining the police force.

The Government has previously advertised for ex-military personnel to retrain in policing roles, particularly armed-ones, and last year called on former servicemen and women to join the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC). 

Mr Jones added: ‘Policing should reflect the society it serves and two-thirds of people in our country are without with a degree.’ 

He also warned that it could encourage people to sign up to the police as an apprentice, get a degree, and then leave after five years with the average £50,000 cost then falling to the police.

His comments come after Nick Adderley, chief constable of Northamptonshire Constabulary, criticised the all-graduate recruit plans.

Speaking to Police Oracle, he said police recruits joining after university are not prepared to work nights or weekends and are ‘sadly lacking’ in life experience. 

Chief Constable Nick Adderley of Northamptonshire Constabulary, who says ‘very, very young’ police recruits are ‘lacking’ in life experience

Police at a protest in Newcastle (stock image). From June 23 the only route into policing will be through degree programmes

He told Police Oracle how some new recruits in Northamptonshire had been so ‘taken aback by the role’ and the violence the force deals with that they had walked out of self-defence training.

Some told the force they hadn’t realised that working weekends and nights was part of the role, the Police Oracle reports.

Chief Constable Adderley said that the recruits have ‘no life experience’ and he clearly tells them that the training ‘is not an extension of sixth form college. This is a really serious business’.  

A Home Office spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘The Government wants talented individuals recruited from the widest possible pool of candidates to ensure the police service is a strong as it can be and so far, 9,000 additional officers have signed up as part of our drive to recruit 20,000 over three years.

‘You do not need a degree to join the police, and those who join as apprentices earn a starting salary of up to £24,780 and receive degree-level training fit for modern day policing.

‘We absolutely want to see Armed Forces veterans join the police and the Home Office is looking at ways we can better help them do so.’

The spokesperson added that The College of Policing had ‘been clear’ that full implementation will be delivered ‘at a pace with which forces are comfortable’.

They added that the College had put in place a ‘dedicated implementation team’ which has been ‘working with all forces since early 2018’. 

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