Jan 9, 2023·edited Jan 9, 2023Liked by Dom

Excellent article. I joined in 1972 with lots of ex Armed Forces who like me had no degree. Andy Marsh and his now wife Nicki Watson joined my force when I already had many years of experience and was climbing the slippery pole of promotion. It was clear from early on that they and a group of other chosen graduates were being pushed to succeed at the expense of others like me vying for the same posts.

I worked with many brilliant officers most of whom had few academic qualifications, but like me had cunning and guile on their side. I never felt academically inferior to any graduate or non graduate.

I was lied to many times by senior officers and held back for later promotions but eventually supported by a great Ch Supt and by a back door route retired as a Supt.

The job gave me transferable skills that earned me lots of money afterwards, even without a degree.

The police and Govt are reaping what they sowed, by promoting an ethos of professionalism but actually hollowing out the skill base, forcing some officers over 30 years into retirement, decimating the numbers and trying to paper over the gaps with Specials and PCSOs. Meanwhile service to the public has declined and its reputation has tanked. Adding insult to injury, they now insist on degree qualified or level candidates effectively excluding some of the best potential officers they could recruit. Glad I’m out of it but sad at what it’s become.

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Another excellent article, spot on as ever.

I too trained at Hendon in the early 90s and remember it fondly (sort of ...).

I studied for my degree whilst serving, for personal satisfaction rather than ‘career progression.’

I look on with dismay at new recruits, these are their ‘good old days’ and wonder what’s to come next. Worse before it gets better I suspect.

I’m out now. TJF, as it has been since 1829 I suspect.

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A depressingly accurate yet excellent piece.

I too was a product of Hendon starting January ‘95 & now retired (tf I transferred my civil service pension into the ‘87 scheme upon joining)

I remember a myth - but can’t recall the ‘source’ that Portsmouth Uni came to review Hendon’s initial training. They were allegedly amazed. The level, quantity & quality of input was apparently at HND level. Or put another way two thirds of an undergrad degree.

As ever, love your turns of phrase.

I too have advised others against joining at this time, but hopefully the degree routes turn out NOT to be another project doomed to succeed.

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I remember Portsmouth Uni offering a degree in policing when I was there too, there must be some truth to your anecdote as we were told most of our training counted towards the degree, something like sixty-odd percent. There's nothing new in this, just now it's mandatory fun and a whole new empire for the police-o-crats to play with.

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I put this out on LinkedIn and got the habitually hysterical reaction from the police degree zealots. This nonsense will wither on the vine in due course but in the meantime I feel sorry for the poor sods having to do it and and good luck to those who get a ‘free’ degree and bugger off after 2 years.

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Yes, it's interesting how defensive the pro-degree people are. It's to be expected, people are invested in the idea in time, money and reputation and reading some of their comments I think they genuinely believe they are on the side of the angels. I notice none of them wanted to address Nick Adderley's comments, is he an armchair, out-of-touch nostalgia merchant too I wonder?

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Well said Dom. I joined lateish 90’s and went to Bruche PTC in Warrington. I’m struck by what was offered which basically immersed you in policing for weeks. By the time you attended your division you had a good idea of how the Police worked. You were clear about discipline and respect plus a reasonable bit of law and procedure. You felt like you had been accepted by the family but were clear about having to keep standards.

I’m involved in training now, still a PC but I have approx 20 years of shifts under my belt before going Mon to Fri. My feeling is the decision has been made and my colleagues and I are trying to make the best of the situation. We frequently raise issues but as per usual for the big decisions “just” PCs are rarely listened to.

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Another excellent insight. I was at Hendon in 1986, quite enjoyed it actually.

Left in 2016 having complemented my 30. I have also advised against joining now.

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Jan 9, 2023Liked by Dom

Recruitment and retention are certainly issues, here is evidence of a wider failure to recruit.

In November 2022 the College of Policing published some figures (rounded down or up): 67k had participated in the assessment process; 49k were passed back to forces to arrange a medical and a fitness test before formally offering a candidate an entry date.

Till November 2022 15k had joined, that means 34k had not been recruited. Even making allowance for delays in joining and failing both the medical and fitness test – what has happened?

I note Police Scotland use a different training system, with a twelve week, residential course where you have to pass the fitness test and it has a 15% failure rate.

If we assume a similar fitness test failure rate in England and Wales 5k would fail, and 29k would have passed. Add a similar (high IMHO) vetting failure rate in November 2022, the police had 24k potential recruits.

Given the College are still conducting their assessments process, could this be explained by tens of thousands of suitable candidates simply saying to the forces no thanks I can do better elsewhere?

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Jan 8, 2023·edited Jan 8, 2023Liked by Dom

Very interesting as usual, I really enjoy your articles.

Just a wee something I think you missed, PCDA (for those who complete it) is a debt free degree, I’ve heard of officers on this route planning to leave immediately after they get the degree, some to Canada, Australia etc. (Edit: I might have actually read it on a previous article by you!)

Also, I’m curious to know your thoughts on the Professional Policing Degree, I’m currently a third year student myself, aiming to join within the next year (gonna take a few months off before jumping in!) I find that everyone is critical of the PCDA and DHEP, rightly so as it’s a shambles but very little is said about the PPD.


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Jan 8, 2023·edited Jan 8, 2023Author

I'm sure people will take advantage of a debt-free degree, more power to their elbow. If they've balanced it with working on a response team, they deserve it. The Job got what it asked for. As for the PPD, I don't know much about it to be honest. I'm not sure what you learn, but I suppose people do vocational degrees for other professions too. And there's a whole world of government, local authority and other jobs where knowledge of the Criminal Justice System is probably helpful.

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