Big news for aspiring police officers today, as the College of Policing have announced that from 2020 onwards, all new officers in England and Wales will need to be educated via a degree in policing, or similar. This marks an enormous change in selection criteria for the police, and is aimed at helping the police service to keep up with modern crime methods. Candidates will take a degree in policing, to get them up to speed with requirements.
Degree in Policing
Currently, the educational requirements for the UK police service are minimal at best. While it is true that having good qualifications will help, and you’ll have to prove your intelligence and common sense during the selection process; good grades are not a necessity. So, why the change?
Firstly, there is the fact that criminals are getting smarter. With easier access to better and better technology, there are more ways than ever for criminals to exploit loopholes and avoid detection. Police chiefs have recognised this, and this announcement is just a small part of a wider response. Although having a degree in policing doesn’t necessarily mean that you are more intelligent or more capable than someone without one, it is thought that introducing this will produce a police service that more knowledgeable and more willing to learn. While the public expectation of police officers is that they spend their days patrolling, police work actually involves far more than this, and is often complex and difficult. With this mind, it is a natural step for the police to start asking more of their officers.
Secondly, police chiefs feel that they are lacking the same government investment that other sectors have received, such as the NHS or the Army. By asking candidates to obtain a degree in policing, the police hope that this will generate a wider respect for the service, and increase public admiration for police officers.
As part of the new plans, police recruits will be given the option to complete a three-year apprenticeship, a postgrad course or a degree in policing. The first two options will be funded by the police service itself, whereas the degree would be self-funded. The apprenticeship will take 3 years to complete, and candidates will spend the majority of their time out doing police work. The postgrad, on the other hand, will take 6 months to complete. During this, you’ll cover areas such as officer behaviour and building trust with the public. The College of Policing is currently negotiating with up to 12 different universities about running the course.
Here at How2Become, we think this is a great idea. Given the importance of the police officers to public safety, any extra impetus that the police can take in making their officers more competent and better equipped to safeguard, the better.