FAQs for serving officers

How is entry changing for police constables?

Existing officers and staff will be aware that entry to policing and initial learning for constables can be inconsistent across forces with some applicants held to different standards. The College of Policing has worked with chief constables to change this and from January 2020, new police constable recruits will have three ways of entering policing and learning to carry out their role.

Why have these routes been chosen?

The curriculum for new recruits is 12 years old and required updating. For example, when the curriculum was designed in 2006 there were no iPhones but now officers are expected to routinely include digital data in investigations.

When the College of Policing reviewed the curriculum it found the work being done by officers met the same standard as a degree:

    As a police officer, to which statement do you most relate?

    Statement one

    I apply my skills in a range of situations to solve complex problems and I have to exercise personal judgement. I have to use my initiative, take personal responsibility and make decisions in complex and unpredictable situations.

    Statement two

The problems I face are already well defined and to solve them I can use approaches that are already established. In terms of personal responsibility and decision-making, I am responsible for my own work within broad guidance and sometimes need to be self-directed.

Anyone who most identifies with statement one is probably already working at degree level.

Will serving officers now require a degree?

Serving officers will not be required to obtain a degree they are likely to be already working at this level.

The College of Policing is helping officers to get a recognised qualification for their previous years of experience and training if they wish to do so .

For more information, please see the recognition for previous experience and training section below.

Will this affect pay for existing officers or police staff?

In future, police nationally will enter talks with the government about pay and making these changes could put the service in a stronger position to negotiate due to our ability to demonstrate the level and complexity of the work being done by existing officers and staff.

That aside, the new entry routes will not directly change the pay of any existing officers or staff.

Pay is set by the government following independent recommendations made by the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) and the Senior Salaries Review Body. In July 2018 the government announced it had accepted in full the PRRB's recommendations on pay for Police Constable degree apprenticeships. There is a range, the top of which is the same as the current starting constable salary. Read more by visiting GOV.UK.

What happens next?

The College of Policing is now working with forces on implementation of the new entry routes.

It will be for each police force to decide which combination of entry routes they want to use, as well as the starting dates of cohorts for the new entry routes.

Where can I get more information?

If you have a specific question, the College of Policing is happy to respond to you. Please email Policingeqf@college.pnn.police.uk

    Recognition for previous experience and training

    What is recognition for previous experience and training?

    It's a process where serving or retired police officers and staff can have their career experience and on the job training and learning recognised as academic credits.

    These credits can then be put towards achieving a recognised qualification.

    Officers and staff across England and Wales have been gaining academic qualifications while working for many years.

    This is an individual process between the prospective learner and the higher educational institution/awarding body they are applying to.

    You can read an example from Inspector Roger Pegram.

    Do I have to study for a degree or are other qualifications available?

    You don't have to study for a degree. You can use your career experience and learning against any qualification you want to achieve. For example, you could choose to study for a non-degree management and leadership qualification. However, if your force is paying the costs they may specify which qualification you would be able to study for.

    How much will it cost and will I have to pay for it?

    If you are doing it for your own personal development you will have to pay for it. If you are developing evidence-based policing in your study and are a member of the College, you might be eligible for a College Bursary.

How much will it cost?

The cost of study will vary from course to course. This is because each university will set their own fees. Universities are allowed to charge up to £9,250 (2017/18) per year, but it is important you check the exact cost with the university you are wishing to attend.

You may also need to pay a fee to the university to have your prior learning and experience recognised. Again, different universities will charge different amounts and it could range from no cost to 50 per cent of the full module cost.

There may be other associated costs you need to consider, such as:

  • Travel expenses
  • Residential events
  • Course materials
  • Equipment, for example laptop/printer
  • Other related incidentals

Forces may be able to offer some support but each will have to make a decision based on local demands and priorities.

There are also a number of other funding options open to working students.

Some examples include:

  • College of Policing Bursary – over a two-year period the College awarded 105 bursaries
  • Government loans
  • Career Development Loan
  • Police Mutual Loans
  • Grants, bursaries and scholarships

When can I start to get this recognition?

The process for recognising previous experience and training is currently available for all serving and retired police officers and staff in England and Wales.

The College of Policing has developed an online 'credit estimator' so officers and staff can work out how many credits they might be able to claim for their previous experience and training. The tool uses the information entered to work out the number of credits and these may then be 'cashed in' for some academic courses.

You can find out more by visiting the College's professional development platform website.

If you have a specific question e-mail: RPL@college.pnn.police.uk

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