Shirley Pearce - College Chair

This article appears in the April 2014 edition of the College newsletter.

​It's been another busy month for the College, with the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Bill receiving Royal Assent on 13 March. This is quite a milestone for us and a real step on our way to becoming your professional body for policing. I have felt privileged to be part of this progress and to see achievements in each of the five areas of our mission that are set out in the Act.

In particular we have made some considerable progress with developing the knowledge base to inform best practice in policing. Through the Innovation Capacity Building Fund, we are supporting a variety of projects that involve partnerships between universities, forces and others working in policing, to consider a range of questions about policing practice and develop the network.

I know these innovation projects are developing right across the country, but I had the opportunity to see one in detail when I visited the N8 Policing Research Partnership. The partnership involves eight universities and local forces in the North of England, working together to share learning from innovation projects in their region. They are considering high-priority topics for both the police and the public, including cybercrime, domestic violence and community engagement. The ambitious goals that have been set by the group demonstrate the benefits of bringing together people from different perspectives. It was great to see the personal relationships that are growing between members of forces and academics, and the openness with which practical policing problems are being discussed in this educational forum. I am sure that creating a strong and resilient infrastructure across the UK, in which forces and universities share the problem of developing the knowledge base about "what works", will be an important part of raising professional standards in all parts of policing.

As we develop the College and its governance structures, we will ensure that educational knowledge is built in to the way we work. I am particularly pleased that Professor Martin Innes has been appointed as the first academic member of the Professional Committee. The College of Policing Professional Committee is responsible for developing national standards, policy and practice; it also plays a key role in identifying opportunities on behalf of those working in policing and ensuring that information about what works is shared. Professor Innes will bring a fresh perspective and an educational challenge to assist in ensuring that the approach taken in all the College does is based on the best available evidence.

The latest College Board meeting was another milestone in our development and considered topics such as the Code of Ethics, our membership offer, and the strategy for the College for the first five years, building on the Strategic Intent that we published last year. There is much to come and we have already delivered a great deal. Only last week we announced the first phase of the flexible entry programmes aiming to broaden access to the policing profession.

We are working closely with the Superintendents' Association in the design of the brand new 18-month development programme, and have also been consulting with the Police Federation as a key partner to ensure that the work done to develop the educational programme for external applicants is of benefit to all those within policing who aspire to the superintendent rank.

The College is still being built and there are some key appointments at senior level to be made in the next month or so. Our responsibilities to our future members are great, and the changes that Alex Marshall and his team are making are important to ensure we have the right skills within the College to support the continuing professional development of all in policing, whatever your rank or role.

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