We have commenced a programme of work to design a Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF) intended to support the development of policing as a profession through the provision of a coherent national approach to recognising and raising educational standards in policing.
Significant developments in how police are promoted, qualified and enter the service will change the future of policing, it has been announced by the College of Policing.
For the first time, police officers across England and Wales can get the recognition seen in other professions by obtaining education qualifications which acknowledge the skills and professionalism required to do their job.
Message from Chief Constable Alex Marshall, College of Policing CEO, to officers and staff
The nature of police work has changed significantly.Cyber-enabled crime has increased. So has the need for officers and staff to investigate and gather intelligence online and via information technology. Protecting vulnerable people has rightly become a high priority for policing. Officers and staff now spend more of their time working to prevent domestic abuse, monitor high-risk sex offenders and protect at-risk children.
We recognise that the strengths of policing include its accessibility as a career to people of all backgrounds and it being a vocation. We want to preserve these strengths. But we also want to ensure that the increasingly complex activities undertaken by people working in policing are properly recognised.
And it’s important to promote consistent and high standards of service for the public.
The response rate to our PEQF consultation was one of the highest ever received by the College and I’m grateful to everyone who took the time to provide feedback. More than 3,000 people responded, with nearly 80 per cent of responses coming from police officers.
We’ve considered this feedback and amended the proposals to better reflect the wishes of our members and other stakeholders. The College Board has agreed that the College should now take the updated proposals forward. Of course, there’ll still be some additional work to ensure implementation timescales are realistic and achievable.
We have incredibly hardworking and dedicated employees across policing who are working at a graduate level now. But they’re not getting the same recognition that people in other professions benefit from.
Nearly three quarters of respondents in policing agreed and said they were interested in gaining accreditation for their existing skills. By next summer, the College will publish a directory of education qualifications for officers and staff including guidance as to how their on-the-job experience counts towards recognition.
The directory will also include advice on what funding may be available to support them.
In addition to obtaining recognition, our plans include a national set of qualifications for officers following promotion. There’ll also be new entry routes for people wanting to join a police force.
By 2020, following promotion officers will be supported in gaining a qualification which reflects the nature of their role.
For example, all newly promoted sergeants will undergo a 12-month higher-level apprenticeship in leadership and management. They’ll be confirmed in post on completion.
Newly promoted inspectors will have to obtain a similar qualification at a higher standard and newly promoted superintendents will complete a master’s apprenticeship. All of this will be paid for by their police force.
Officers seeking the rank of assistant chief constable or above will require a master’s before applying
Entry to the police service will also change. Beyond 2020, there will be three available options:
Our plans will future-proof policing so that, as it becomes more complex, officers will be accredited to the appropriate standard. Regardless of which force they’re in, they’ll know that their skills and knowledge match those of colleagues elsewhere in the country.
We’ll continue to update you on our progress. If you have any further questions not answered below, please contact us by emailing
The College of Policing is grateful for all the feedback received and has changed the proposals as a result. The changes are outlined in more detail in the Consultation Response Paper and include:
Existing officers and staff will
not be required to work toward or gain an education qualification in order to remain in their current role.
It's likely to be the case, but work to discuss and establish the qualifications necessary for those moving into specialist and specific staff roles will not start until the summer of 2017, with implementation not likely before 2019. Further details will be published in due course.
No you won't, unless you are applying for the Strategic Command Course (SCC). All other newlypromoted officers will be supported with gaining qualifications as shown below:
Any requirements following promotion are planned for initial introduction at the earliest in 2019 and will not be mandated until at least 2020.
No, not if the requirement to achieve the qualification follows a promotion, as this will form part of your development into the new role.
Each respective qualification will be obtained through the learning programme that will support individuals in gaining the knowledge, skills and competencies required when they move to a new role on promotion or, in due course, into a specialist post. With the exception of the pre-join degree in the policing entry route, the learning required for new officers in the role to meet the appropriate education level will be achieved through professional development and not at the expense of the individual.
The proposals will be implemented in a phased approach over the next few years, following further consultation and in collaboration with forces and partners in higher education. Although full implementation of all proposals was originally proposed for 2020, the College will conduct further engagement with forces before confirming the date by which all forces will be required to have implemented each element of the framework.
Further modelling and consultation with chief constables and police and crime commissioners is needed to explore what a reasonable timeframe for implementation might be, taking into account the workforce planning, cost and infrastructure implications and challenges for forces.
The PC degree apprenticeship leads to a degree
qualification. The sergeant higher-level apprenticeship will offer a
professional level 6 leadership and management qualification in the form of a certificate
The specific content of the qualification at each level remains subject to confirmation, but it is anticipated that individuals would need to demonstrate achievement against the appropriate police curriculum to be confirmed in post. There will be use of recognised prior learning (RPL) and advanced standing mechanisms to ensure unnecessary duplication does not occur.
There will be no change to these pay scales to reflect qualifications at this point. Pay scales are reviewed and determined each year by the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB). There are currently a number of changes happening or being proposed to the future workforce framework, PEQF being one of them. These will inform what a future reward framework looks like (including a review of pay scales). If any changes are needed, then these will be recommended to the PRRB for consideration.
The College will work with forces to identify the appropriate timeframe for transition and will offer support in various ways, including:
The first qualification (linked to the PC degree apprenticeship entry route) is likely to be available from April 2018 for introduction in forces seeking early adoption.
Further details regarding arrangements in these respects will be published in due course. The College will ensure the arrangements will not discriminate against anyone with protected characteristics in line with the Equality Act and the government's apprenticeship rules.
The implications for colleagues working in special constable roles remain subject to discussion and further information will be published in due course. There will be no requirement, however, for existing colleagues to achieve an education qualification.
No, there's no requirement for any qualification to be held in order to apply for promotion, except for those seeking access to chief officer ranks. The College believes that the proposals will be a positive move toward enabling those who do not currently have qualifications to achieve them. An equality analysis has been conducted and this will be regularly reviewed throughout to inform the future development of the programme.
No, existing officers will be able to continue in their current roles without any requirement to gain a qualification.
An academic credit represents 10 notional hours of learning, eg, a learning programme estimated to involve 150 notional hours would be assigned 15 credits. Learning that takes place outside of a higher education setting, eg, in the workplace, can also be formally recognised by institutions providing higher education programmes.
The College of Policing, as the professional body, is working closely with higher education partners to set national standards and requirements to ensure national consistency and standardisation. This will include work to agree the level and number of credits available through completing major learning programmes in the National Policing Curriculum (NPC), as well as the experience of existing officers and staff.
Credits are available for completing specific NPC learning programmes considered eligible for RPL in a higher education context. The College will present these in a directory outlining available education opportunities, expected to be published in April 2017. This matrix of level and credit values for all NPC learning programmes allows all officers and staff to map their prior learning of police courses/programmes to determine how many credits they have accumulated against the different NPC learning programmes.
The directory will include a list of HEIs and the qualifications they offer. It will also include guidance as to how to access such opportunities and any available funding sources, as well as a standard application process.
No, individuals will probably need to complete further work in order to achieve a qualification in the form of a certificate, diploma or degree. For example, a maximum number of 240 credits can be used as RPL toward an honours degree requiring 360 credits (ie, equivalent to two years of a three-year programme). Every individual will be considered on a case-by-case basis. It may be possible for some individuals (particularly where they can demonstrate evidence of higher-level skills and competencies) to enrol directly onto a postgraduate qualification without having an undergraduate degree, which would normally be a prerequisite.
It is likely that individuals will be expected to meet the costs of studying for any qualifications that do not form a requirement following promotion.
The College is, however, exploring funding opportunities to support those in the existing workforce who choose to do so in achieving these qualifications. Further information will be published when available.
No, apprenticeships for serving officers will only be available for those moving into a new post on promotion to sergeant or superintendent level. In due course, there may be similar opportunities for apprenticeships in some specialist roles. Other than via those routes, you won't be able to choose to do an apprenticeship to study for your chosen qualification.
Guidance for officers and staff who choose to pursue academic qualifications (as opposed to any requirement to do so following promotion) is most likely to be offered by the HEI offering the qualification.
The College has, however, created an Academic Support Network community on the Police OnLine Knowledge Area (POLKA). This new community was launched in August 2016, specifically for those in policing who are undertaking academic studies focusing on providing developmental peer support for members studying for academic qualifications.
Officers completing apprenticeships following promotion will have protected learning time incorporated into the programme.
Those choosing to seek accreditation through study of their own choosing will, however, be subject to local force arrangements.
All applicants will need to meet organisational entry requirements, some of which are set nationally. This includes minimum fitness requirements and you will need to be 18 or older. For the PC degree apprenticeship, you are likely to have achieved a level 3 qualification (which is A-level or equivalent) plus level 2 functional skills in English and mathematics (or equivalents) prior to entry. Each force will advertise its own entry requirements, so individuals should check with their preferred force. We suggest you look at our
The PC degree apprenticeship will be available from April 2018, although the exact date of introduction will vary from force to force. A pre-join degree and graduate entry route should be available from late 2018.
The CKP is a level 3 qualification on the Regulated Qualifications Framework. Further consideration is being applied as to how to manage the transitional phases of the PEQF. Details of any proposed timelines for withdrawing the CKP will be published as soon as they are confirmed.
A balanced approach across each of the three entry routes appropriate to meet forces' needs is proposed, which should be advantageous for local workforce planning.
Yes, the service will continue to need candidates who are able to demonstrate the communication, conflict resolution and people skills required for the role, so holding a policing degree will not guarantee employment, mirroring the approach taken in other professions. All applicants will have to go through the normal recruitment process regardless of entry route. The College is consulting with forces and key partners as to how to effectively align that process in order to achieve national standardisation.
Higher-level apprenticeships offer the opportunity to study and achieve qualifications from level 4 upwards while earning a salary. They include degree and master's-level apprenticeships.
A degree apprenticeship offers new entrants to policing the opportunity to earn a wage while becoming a police constable, with successful candidates acquiring a degree qualification at the end of the learning programme.
Since the public consultation, the government has announced a new apprenticeship levy for all large employers, to commence in April 2017. Each police force will be required to make contributions to this. The PC degree apprenticeship will enable the police service in England to maximise use of their levy contributions, professionalise police education through partnerships with the higher education sector and potentially broaden opportunities for recruitment across the local community. Further consideration is being applied as to how best to support forces in Wales, where different conditions apply.
You will be a police constable on a PC degree apprenticeship programme, which will be a minimum of three years. The rate of pay to be applied to this role is currently subject to discussion. Pay scales are reviewed and determined each year by the PRRB.
The College will be encouraging police forces to engage in partnerships with HEIs in delivering the degree apprenticeship programme. Learning and development will therefore be provided by the police force and the higher education partner.
During the apprenticeship, the individual will work towards completing a policing degree. They will accumulate academic credits and it is likely that these will equate to lower-level qualifications on completing each year's learning toward the degree, subject to approval by the awarding HEI.
If you undertake a PC degree apprenticeship with a police force, that cost will be borne by the police force.
If you already have a degree in another discipline and apply to join a police force to do a graduate entry course, the cost of that course will also be borne by the police force.
Studying for a recognised degree in policing at a university prior to joining the police service will be at your own expense, mirroring the approach taken in other professions.
The College is currently working with partners to explore how any learning and experience gained as a special constable might be recognised in the form of academic credits toward entry to the police service.
Introducing a degree apprenticeship mitigates concerns that the costs of obtaining qualifications might affect policing's ability to secure a diverse and representative workforce. It thus encourages engagement from individuals who might otherwise be unable to afford education at the proposed levels.
Full detail can be found in the consultation response document.
Further information and regular updates will be made available on the College of Policing website throughout this programme of work.
Any questions can be forwarded to