Federation: Not All Police Officers Need Degrees

“YOU don’t need a degree to be a really good police officer,” the Chair of Hampshire Police Federation has said.

Zoë Wakefield was speaking as 16 Police and Crime Commissioners – including Hampshire PCC Donna Jones – asked the Home Secretary to drop the blanket requirement for all officers to have a degree. They said that recruits from the military, Special Constables and older career-changers were being put off joining, at a time when forces in England and Wales need to recruit an extra 20,000 officers.

The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) means that student officers are training in frontline skills at the same time as studying for a policing degree, which has left officers stressed and put pressure on teams when new officers are in the classroom.

Zoë said: “It’s really good to see the PCCs being very vocal and explaining the problems with policing degrees. Our PCC spent a lot of time with student officers and frontline officers, so she’s heard directly from them how difficult it is.”

She continued: “I think that professionalising the police is a good thing. Officers should have the option of obtaining qualifications in policing, but it shouldn’t be mandatory. You don’t need a degree to be a really good police officer.

“Too many of our student officers are struggling with studying for a degree and learning the demanding job of a police officer, and working a full shift pattern. Some of these officers are breaking within their first few years. A lot of forces are struggling to recruit. One of the reasons is definitely because of having to do a degree.

“Ex-military has always been a good source of recruits, but how many of those actually want to study for a degree? And with all their life experience, why?”

Zoë added: “I’m supporting an officer who’s in her thirties. She’s a single parent with a disabled child. She’s currently off sick because she’s become unwell due to struggling to do the studying and be a police officer. She’s the sort of person who’s got some life experience, who could be a really good officer. So I think it should be an option, but there should be the option to join without a degree as well.”


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