Concerns over ‘two-track’ approach to training new recruits

Dyfed Powys Police Federation has joined the growing chorus of opposition to a new non-degree police officer entry route amid concern its lower educational level could create a two-tier system for new recruits.

The proposed Level 5 learning programme, which is equivalent to a diploma of higher education (DipHE), has sparked fears that standards could be compromised and led calls for the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC)  and College of Policing to ensure non-degree entry would still be accredited to educational Level 6.

The Police Federation warned failure to do so would fly in the face of the founding principles of the Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF) and could lead to problems further down the line.

Dyfed Powys Police Federation chair Gareth Jones said: “Recent events have highlighted problems with the recruitment and training of new police officers and this is something we have to get right.

The Police Federation opposes the Level 5 non-degree police officer entry route 

“We agreed that the old two-year Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP) was no longer fit for purpose and we welcome the decision to reopen the non-degree route into policing but we are strongly opposed to this and urge the NPCC and the college to apply the original proposal for a new non-degree entry route accredited to educational Level 6.

“We believe it will create a two-track system which could potentially reduce standards and create issues with officers joining the police via entry routes assessed as Level 6.

“We have to get it right and that means a fair approach between the different learning routes and career pathways.”

The new Level 5 (non-accredited) learning programme is being made available for forces as soon as possible but not later than 1 April 2024.

A number of forces are yet to engage with education partners about the impact of new standards and learning on existing Level 6 contractual obligations and await the College of Policing’s further implementation guidance and the design of associated curricula. 

The Police Federation said it was still awaiting the equality impact assessment of the decision to introduce the non-degree entry route supporting Level 5 qualification but, in the meantime, urged the NPCC and the college to ensure any change in the policy ensures that the standards defining competence in the police constable role remain the same irrespective of the entry routes.