Legal challenge against plans to make all police recruits need a degree is worth it, says county police commissioner

Police commissioner says challenge worth it
Police commissioner says challenge worth it

Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner insisted a legal challenge against College of Policing plans requiring all police officers to obtain a degree is “worth it”.

Marc Jones said the scheme is “not in the public interest” and that £20,000 has been set aside to fund the initial stages of a judicial review into the matter.

The new scheme would require officers to study for a degree for three years or be prepared to study for one in work time.

Lincolnshire Police launched the legal challenge last month and asked for the proposal to be delayed until 2023 for a full evaluation.

Mr Jones said the scheme would take 40 frontline officers off the street to train, around 10% of the force’s current deployable strength.

“Ultimately, what we hope is that the college will come to the table and speak to us about a compromise,” he said.

“These things can run into a couple of hundreds of thousands of pounds and they can be expensive.

“But, to put that into perspective, losing 40 frontline officers from the streets of our county is what we are fighting for and I have to say that is worth the money.”

The college is set to launch the new Police Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF) next year, but has faced criticism from Mr Jones and Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable, Bill Skelly.

Mr Jones said that while having a degree is not a “bad idea”, he was concerned that the scheme would seem like policing is “exclusively” for people with degrees.

Since the challenge was launched against the plans, the college has refused to change its position on the scheme.

Mr Skelly said he was “very disappointed” with the college’s decision.

“I proposed that Lincolnshire Police would be a control group to assess whether the new entry routes improve the quality of police officers,” he said.

“Lincolnshire Police has worked with the college for two years in an effort to try and avoid the need to take this action but during that time the college have refused to accept what a detrimental effect the introduction of PEQF would have to Lincolnshire Police.”