First Person: Ivan Stafford - Opportunities lacking despite all the talent
So the Government believes that you will be better served by senior police officers who would be able to join the service directly in senior positions without, apparently, having to complete the probationary period of two years on the beat. That could be like thinking it would be okay for a doctor to be appointed as a consultant without completing his or her time as a house officer on the wards in a hospital at all hours.
Still sound like a good idea? Thought not.
If the British model of policing is the envy of the world and has been copied by many countries, why is it thought to be necessary to allow the appointment of non-UK police to very senior levels?
The fact that the police already has a graduate entry scheme (also known as the High Potential Development Scheme) which accelerates people through the ranks seems to have eluded the researchers (or was that wilfully ignored?)
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There is a better educated workforce than ever before and there are more graduates in the service than ever, too.
I have seen mention that it may be that future recruits to the police will need to have three good A-levels to even join, but that's for another time perhaps?
The rationale behind the idea of direct entry seems to be that the pool of available talent is too small within the service.
Believe me, there is plenty of talent. What is lacking is the opportunity to be promoted.
Contrary to popular opinion, promotion is not obtained because an officer hits his or her arrest target, or cracks a big case or dishes out the highest number of tickets.
It is striven for by people who have to work hard in their own time to pass rigorous written and oral examinations, perform "acting duties" satisfactorily and apply for and secure the position in the next rank.
These people are talented and driven. What stymies them is the lack of opportunity, the lack of available positions to promote into in a shrinking workplace.
How will holding open 80 or so posts per year make that situation better?
As ever, the devil will be in the detail.
Whatever the outcome of the consultation, you must be satisfied that the leaders of your police, whatever their background, are decent, honest, capable and true to the values of the service.
Ivan Stafford is chairman of Leicestershire Police Federation.