Online Promotion Exams A Positive Step

MOVING Sergeants’ and Inspectors’ promotion exams online could be better for forces and candidates, Hampshire Police Federation has said.

The exams were postponed this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but will now take place online from September.

The online exams reduce the risk to officers and invigilators by removing the need for large gatherings.

Hampshire Police Federation Chairman Alex Charge said that he understood lots of officers had been disappointed when the original exams were cancelled, after all their study and preparation, but that the College of Policing couldn’t run them against Government advice.

He said: “I think there are some positives that will come out of this, such as the online exam, which gives forces more control.

“So rather than us having one exam a year and everyone has to fit their staffing around that, it’ll be much better that forces will be able to work out when they need Sergeants and count back to when they’ll need to do a selection process. Then they will be able to say, ‘Right, we would like to deliver our exam at this point’, which will make the process a lot slicker.”

Meanwhile the PFEW has said forces are not doing enough to protect Acting Sergeants, who are stepping up into roles before they pass their exams.

Alex agreed that Acting Sergeants needed to be looked after.

He said: “Sergeants are the first check and balance for standards. They’re the first level of leadership. If you’ve got good Sergeants things go well and they will deliver good standards and good investigations.

“That means they need to be looked after, they need to be developed well, they need to have a good understanding of what they’re doing.

“I’m not saying for a minute that we don’t have that in Hampshire, but it’s really, really key at that supervisory level that they are the best they can be.”

Alex said Sergeants and Inspectors were “the people who ultimately deliver policing”.

He continued: “A lot of the senior officers will set strategy and direction, but it is delivered by Sergeants and Inspectors. And Chief Inspectors as well, but the key, operational delivery of day-to-day policing is done by Sergeants and Inspectors.

“Everyone will tell you we sometimes have a ‘line manager lottery’ – if you have a good line manager your life becomes so much easier within any job. So it is really important that our first and second line managers are well-trained, accredited and exposed to different things to allow them to help other officers and colleagues flourish.”

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