In November 2022 Home Secretary Suella Braverman acknowledged the work of the College of Policing to date to raise the standards of initial training and to ensure officers are equipped to meet the challenge of policing today. She also recognised to build public confidence we need to draw from the widest possible pool of talent across all sections of society.
The Force continues to meet the Home Secretary’s desire for the College of Policing and Forces to focus upon implementing the entry routes successfully. Dorset Police currently offers the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship, Degree Holder Entry Programme and Detective Degree Holder Entry Programme. The Force also welcomes officers re-joining the service or transferring to Dorset Police from other forces.
Recruitment data nationally and locally indicates that the new training routes are attractive to a broad range of backgrounds. We are delighted to have welcomed to the Force a range of police officers since implementation of the new entry routes, from a diverse range of age groups and backgrounds. Women now make up 37.5 per cent of police officers in the county, and since April 2020 a total of 43.8 per cent of new joiners to the Force identify as female. The Force has 50 per cent more ethnically diverse officers in Dorset than 3 years ago.
Additionally national surveys have indicated that new recruits through the new entry routes feel better prepared for the role, are more confident and feel better equipped to serve their communities than those through the old style of training. I am pleased to confirm that our first cohorts of student officers have now competed their end point assessments with several having achieved First class degrees. They have worked hard, and their determination and professionalism have been rewarded. Working full time, covering shifts, learning and completing a degree really is a challenge – congratulations to them all.
Since the introduction of the Police Education Qualifications Framework programme we have worked very closely with our partners within the University of South Wales and colleagues regionally and nationally so we can identify issues and make adjustments to the course programme as and when needed. These changes have been directly driven by the ongoing feedback we have received from our student officers and training teams.
As a result of this feedback a decision has been taken regionally to reduce the amount of academic work students will be required to complete in Year 2 from eight assignments to four. This will allow officers the time to focus on using their protected learning days to demonstrate their operational competence and undergo assessments, which is an essential part of their training. This change will come into effect in January 2023.
Many of you will have noted that the Home Secretary wants to ensure that there is the broadest access possible from communities to a policing career and that she has sought to ask the COP to build upon their work to date to consider options for 4th non-degree entry route which will complement the existing framework. Early indications are that this will become available to Forces in April 2024. At that time the Force will consider how that fits with the other entry routes on offer and consider any implementation timeframes for the years that follow.
The Uplift Programme have reviewed and standardised the selection process across 43 forces, only strengthening our confidence alongside of our thorough vetting process, that we select only those with the right attributes and qualities to deliver a role serving the public and communities
For those considering becoming a police officer, please check out the pages on our website to find out more.
Assistant Chief Officer Jo Mosley, Director of People and Support Services, Dorset Police