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College degree recruits unprepared for reality of policing, says chief

Northamptonshire's chief constable Nick Adderley says he will write to the College of Policing about the impact PEQF has had on the experience and resilience of "very young" recruits.

College degree recruits unprepared for reality of policing, says chief

Date - 12th May 2021
By - Chloe Livadeas
46 Comments 46 Comments}

The College of Policing are planning that from 1 July 2022 the only route into policing will be through the degree programmes – the Police Degree Apprenticeship Programme (PDAP), the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHAP) or the Pre-join Degree in Professional Policing.

But in Northamptonshire, the chief says the impact is an influx of recruits who are “sadly lacking” the life experience and hardiness needed for the job and will be writing to the College to ask them to reconsider.

“I’ve got really strong feelings on this,” CC Adderley told Police Oracle.

He said the profile of the apprenticeship programme is a “very, very young workforce coming through”.

“These are people a lot of them have had no life experience. And it's very, very difficult to try and give them an injection of that realism in the timeframe that we have for training.

“We've got a perfect storm brewing here. We've got a very young workforce who think they’re invisible as in 'it can't possibly happen to me.' Less of them are signing up to Federation subscriptions and less are signing up to the welfare fund. And we've got a society which is becoming more violent, with a prevalence to use violence against police officers, so more are likely to be injured.

“When I speak to all of the cohorts that come in, I tell them quite clearly, this is not an extension of university. This is not an extension of Sixth Form college. This is a really serious business.”

He also said some were “a bit taken aback by the role”.

In Northamptonshire new recruits have even walked out of training after undergoing sessions using the Redman Self Defence suit, saying they didn't realise there would be that level of violence.

They’ve also had officers saying they didn't realise they needed to work nights and weekends.

CC Adderley said there are a number who are going to get “a real shock” when the night-time economy re-opens as lockdown eases.

One way the force is combatting this issue is doubling young officers with more experienced ones.

But while currently 40 per cent of the Northants workforce have less than four years service, the “dilution is going to continue over the next couple of years”, the chief said.

“We know as we as we carry on over the next three or four years, the number of officers with less than four years service is going to continue to increase. So effectively what you're going to have is sergeants and some inspectors who are equally inexperienced.”

He said the result was the force experiencing bigger issues with mental health and officers going off sick for injuries.

The chief said he will raise resilience testing with the College, because “we haven't been able to test the resilience through these entry programmes”.

“I think a lot of this is about both mental and physical resilience, and I think it’s something the service needs to look at pretty quickly.

“I'm feeling it here in this force so it must be the same elsewhere,” he added.

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Stuart - Wed, 02 June 2021

Nick Adderley has been banging this drum against the ears of the College of Policing (COP) or should I say the College of Academics (COA) for a considerable time and is the only serving Chief Constable in the country who is doing so.
The COA mantra is that policing is becoming more technical and intricate that we obviously need graduate recruits to deal with it. What absolute rubbish !!
In new recruits we need a good standard of education, common sense, courage, determination, empathy with the law abiding public and a sense of responsibility.
They need to be tutored by Constables and Sergeants who have all those qualities and the experience to guide their trainees in the right way.
I wish Nick Adderley well, but I'm afraid that his pleas will fall on deaf ears until a few more Chief Constables stop worrying about climbing the ladder to the top of the tree and do the job they are paid for. Remember the "butterflies in blue" syndrome, well its still going on today.