Officers professional development must be prioritised

Officers’ professional development must be prioritised, says Fed secretary

The secretary of Dyfed Powys Police Federation has backed calls to make Protected Learning Time (PLT) accessible to all officers.

Roger Webb said the training and professional development of officers should be a priority to ensure policing continues to evolve and meet the needs of the communities it serves.

And he said officers should be PLT should be available during work time to allow for training.

“We can’t afford to stand still,” Roger said, “Policing needs to ensure it can adapt to the ever-changing nature of crime and to meet the needs of the public.

“To do that we need to invest in our officers and staff to ensure they acquire new skills and knowledge which are essential to their roles.

“And they need to feel supported in that, which is why we’re supporting calls for PLT to be made available to all officers.

“Expecting them to do it in their own time is unfair and risks increasing stress and burnout. Other public services have PLT and policing should have parity with them.”

Roger’s comments follow calls by Steve Hartshorn, national Federation chair, for PLT for all officers.

Steve said: “PLT must be available to every officer for their professional development. Officers should not be expected to complete assessments in their own time or on their rest days, but instead, be allowed to allocate time during their working hours to complete training courses. This then promotes their wellbeing and a good work-life balance.

“Officers often neglect training because they see it as something unrelated to their work duties. To combat this culture, forces should strive to build a learning culture by making training a necessary part of regular workflows.”

Dave Bamber, national Federation learning and development lead, added: “To genuinely invest in our people, we must ensure training and development is provided by every force.

“PLT for student officer training should be guaranteed for frontline officers, to ensure they’re equipped to handle scenarios professionally and appropriately when delivering our vital service to the public.

“Learning time is essential for young in-service officers and it is grossly unfair to expect them to perform their duties with the pressure of learning outside of their working hours affecting their quality of life.

“It would also be remiss not to mention that PLT is part of the funding model for student officers.”

Officers should not be expected to take on mandatory role specific training such as firearms or other practical based skills in their own time, the Federation said. This should be the same for all required training officers are expected to perform for their role.

The Federation added that supervisors should be provided with time to support an officer’s development. PLT should be encouraged across ranks as an investment in motivating and developing competent and professional officers.

It said that PLT will highlight the areas that require more training while addressing any deficiencies identified in an officer's performance reviews.

Training and development programmes will also help officers discover areas in which they could use additional educational opportunities and support.

PLT will in turn, promote uniformity of work processes and increase productivity and performance, therefore providing a better workplace environment, the Federation added.