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New positive action scheme introduced at the Met

Force paying full costs for women and minority ethnic candidates to take pre-training qualification.

New positive action scheme introduced at the Met

Date - 21st June 2018
By - Ian Weinfass - Police Oracle
17 Comments 17 Comments}

The Metropolitan Police is giving extra financial support to women and ethnic minority candidates applying to become constables.

The force is covering the entire cost of pre-join qualification training for female, black and Asian candidates, Police Oracle understands.

White men are being given only half the cost of their Certificate of Knowledge in Policing (CKP).

The force requires all candidates to take the qualification – which costs around £1,000 – before beginning their training.

The policy comes amid concerns over the difficulty of recruiting 224 new personnel each month until the end of the financial year, in a bid to get numbers up to 30,750. This is so it can make use of extra funding from the Mayor of London’s office.

Chiefs fear the cost of gaining the qualification is a barrier to bringing people in quickly, and the payments are being made regardless of how wealthy a trainee is.

A spokesman for the force said: “We have redesigned the way we attract and select new officers, focusing on diversity, multicultural awareness and capabilities that are important to London.

“The CKP costs between £800 and £1,000, and the Met understands that for some candidates incurring this cost so early in the recruitment process may act as a deterrent; therefore the financial support may encourage swifter completion than would otherwise have been possible.”

Candidates must complete the CKP within 10 weeks of their offer letter to secure the cash.

Tola Munro, president of the National Black Police Association, said: “It is in line with the Equality Act, if you can prove a group is under-represented. I am not aware of the specifics of this but I would be supportive of initiatives [to increase representation].”

Graham Wettone is a former Met Police officer who is now a policing commentator and also works for a provider of CKP training.

He told Police Oracle: “I’m shocked by this. I think it’s misguided and divisive. There will be people starting on the same day, training together, some who have paid and some who haven’t. The Met should give the money to everybody, it shouldn't be a select group.”

Unlike previous diversity initiatives in the force – such as a trial requiring all recruits to speak a second language, or to live in London – the policy began without any publicity.

Full payment for the training is also being made to any police staff members who want to become warranted officers.

A spokesman for law firm Hatton James Legal said legislation is complicated in the area but allows for such schemes in certain cases.

He said the force must act proportionately and that there could be questions over whether women and black and minority ethnic (BAME) candidates should be funded equally if their levels of representation are different. He also said there could be issues if the Met uses self-declared ethnicity to decide who qualifies for payments.

“Could this measure and similar measures provide an incentive for more people to self-declare as having BAME status in future?” he asked.

In 2016 Gwent Police trialled a mentoring scheme, which included a funded CKP course, for BAME recruits. Soon afterwards the force scrapped the requirement for any recruit to need the qualification.

The Met’s stated concern about the cost of pre-join qualifications being a barrier to recruitment comes ahead of a major expansion of police recruitment requiring pre-service qualifications under the College of Policing’s educational framework.

All recruits will need to have a degree or join as an apprentice under the moves which are due to begin in 2020.

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