Officers Need Protected Learning Time

POLICE officers shouldn’t be using their rest days to study; they need protected time during their working day for professional learning, Hampshire Police Federation has said.

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) is campaigning for forces to undergo an “organisational culture change” to allow officers to take Protected Learning Time (PLT), which it says is key to professional development and an investment in officers and teams.

PFEW found that many forces were using the negative term “abstracted from duty” when referring to an officer using some of their shift time to undertake vital learning.

Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoë Wakefield said: “If the Government wants to professionalise policing and wants us to have qualifications, then it can’t expect everybody to do it in their own time.

“We’ve got an issue with student officers and the time that they’re given to do their degree, which is not enough time. They’re all doing it on their rest days. I know when I studied for the Sergeant’s Exam, I did all the studying in my own time. It’s a big undertaking for officers to take, particularly when they’ve got children and families and caring responsibilities.

“But we come back to the same issue – there aren’t enough police officers, so forces cannot afford to take police officers away for study when we’re struggling to meet the demand from the public. We’re an emergency service and that’s got to come first.”

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