Mixed reaction in Northamptonshire to plans to force all new police officers to have a degree


Plans to make it compulsory for police officers to have a degree have been given a mixed reaction from senior Northamptonshire officers.

The College of Policing yesterday revealed it was consulting on plans that could lead to all new police officers in England and Wales being required to have a degree in the future.

Currently, there is no service-wide minimum qualification for new police officers, but the college says the job is now of “degree-level complexity”.

It is consulting on the plans, which if approved could run as a pilot in 2017 and be fully adopted by 2019.

In an article published on the University of Northampton’s website, Northamptonshire Police Superintendent Dave Hill, who has worked for the force for 25 years, said degree programmes reflected the “complexity of the real world of policing.”

He said: “Police officers today are expected to profile their community and understand the networks, power structures and key community leaders who can help us to do our job.

“This level of complexity requires officers to use influence, leadership, co-operation, empathy and teamwork. While ensuring that the outcome and the way in which it is delivered meets very high ethical expectations and can stand up to external scrutiny.

“British policing has always been held up internationally as being of the very highest standard, if we are to maintain that standard, then we must ensure that we continuously take a critical look at ourselves and be willing to adapt.

“So it is my conclusion the answer to the question posed above (Should all new police officers have a degree?) is simple: if the degree programmes reflect the complexity of the real world and if universities work closely with the sector in designing and delivering what is needed, then a graduate from a programme such as this would be a real asset to policing and the communities that we serve.”

However, Northamptonshire Police Superintendent Dennis Murray retweeted an article by the chief constable of Cleveland Police force who said the “possession of professional qualifications does not guarantee the ability to be a good cop”.

Mr Murray tweeted: “Couldn’t agree more. A blended approach must be the common ground.”