New PM ‘to replace College of Policing and conduct training review’
The next Prime Minister should replace the College of Policing and commission an independent review of initial police training amid declining public trust, according to a new proposal.
The Policy Exchange think tank acknowledged in its proposal that the new prime minister will “face a police service that over the past decade has gone astray”.
The article’s author, former Metropolitan Police Chief Inspector David Spencer, made 11 recommendations which he said would help the government ensure ‘the safety of its citizens against those who commit crimes and disorder “.
The College of Policing, which had an annual budget of £71million in 2020/21, was established in December 2012 as a professional body for policing in England and Wales with sites in the County Durham, Coventry, Harrogate and London.
“From its own ‘fundamental review,’ it appears, however, that the College of Policing has become synonymous for many in the police with a lowering of standards alongside a perceived lack of real-world relevance to crime prevention. and mess,” Mr Spencer wrote.
The former detective noted that there was a “lack of synergy” between the standards set by the college and the “inspection regime” of the Inspectorate of Gendarmerie and the fire and rescue services of Sa Majesty (HMICFRS).
“Having two separate organizations setting and inspecting potentially different standards is totally unsustainable and risks causing considerable inefficiencies within the police and confusion for the public and the police themselves. This needs to be resolved,” Mr Spencer said.
Unlike many professions, the toughest and most important decisions in policing are often made by the youngest.
“Given his abysmal reputation within the police, his failure over the past decade to implement substantive and effective manpower reform, and the desire to simplify and make the establishment more efficient and standards inspection, the College of Policing should be replaced. ”
Mr Spencer said the college’s role in setting standards should be transferred to HMICFRS and a national police leadership academy should be established “for the effective training and development of police leaders across the country”.
The document also recommended that the next Resident of Committee No 10 an independent review of initial police training in England and Wales to report back within three months.
Mr Spencer noted: ‘Unlike many professions, the toughest and most important decisions in policing are often made by the most junior people.
He said initial officer training had undergone significant changes in recent years due to the introduction of the Police Training Qualification Framework (PEQF) by the college in 2016.
“Throughout its development and since its implementation, the PEQF has been plagued with controversy,” Spencer wrote.
“Due to its potential impact on frontline policing, in an unprecedented step, the Chief Constable of Lincolnshire has sought a judicial review of the PEQF to delay the implementation of the framework. Although ultimately unsuccessful, it is remarkable that a police chief even attempted to take such action against the College of Policing.
Leaders at different levels of the police said the PEQF meant that officers were unable to meet the standards needed to serve the public effectively, there were fewer officers on duty, more officers quitting and the costs to the public were rising, he added.
Mr Spencer also recommended that regulations be changed so that police chiefs can be the ones to decide whether to fire officers found guilty of criminality or serious misconduct, an end to so-called ‘closed’ police promotions and the use of app-based technology in the community more to engage the public in “policing tactics and decision-making”.
A range of changes to be spearheaded by the Home Office were also proposed, including simplifying the counting rules for the department to reduce the administrative burden on police forces, reviewing the time officers spend on s caring for people with mental illness unrelated to the crime or disorder as well as giving officers the “necessary tools” at police demonstrations and other public events.
The Home Office is also expected to revamp the response to the fraud epidemic and “establish the scale of a new corps” of data scientists and hackers to be recruited into the police to tackle online crime, said the former officer.
“While recognizing that the current economic climate and the cost of living crisis make it difficult to invest substantially in public services, it is however the only way for the government to fulfill one of its fundamental duties – security of its citizens against those who would commit crimes and disorder,” Mr Spencer said.
The recommendations follow a proposal put forward earlier this year by think tank The Police Foundation, which would mean that all officers would be subject to fitness and practice tests throughout their careers.
But the Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents rank and file officers, said in March it was “against” the idea of having generalist type licenses for officers.
Before publishing this proposal, its author, Sir Michael Barber, admitted that the loss of public confidence in the police is a “serious problem” caused by a wave of recent scandals and serious incidents, including the murder of Sarah Everard by a Met officer on duty.
Voting for the next prime minister will close on Friday, with a winner to be announced on Monday and likely further Cabinet appointments, including home secretary, to follow at a later date.