POLICE officers do not need degrees.
So says Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball responding to the College of Policing’s plan to make new officers complete either a degree in practical policing or a conversion course after graduating in another subject.
Mr Ball believes the principle of ‘the police are the public and the public are the police’ is being abandoned in favour of creating a class divide by recruiting only those who can afford to take the debt of a degree course.
Currently there is no service-wide minimum qualification for new police officers but the college chiefs believe the job is now complex enough to warrant needing a degree like jobs such as nursing.
Mr Ball said: “The obsession with academic qualifications and the belief that it brings some kind of guarantee of quality is completely misguided.
“One of the few advantages of age is that it brings with it experience and, over the years, I have had the privilege of working with hundreds of people, both graduates and non-graduates. There have been some of those with degrees that I wouldn’t trust with organising breakfast. Equally, there are many non-graduates for whom I have the highest respect.
“Of all the ideas that have been proposed for policing during my term of office, this has to be one of the worst. It has all the hallmarks of ‘ivory tower’ thinking and I hope that it is firmly consigned to the dustbin within a very short order before too much time and energy is wasted upon it.”
The Police Federation which represents rank-and-file police officers has also rubbished the proposals.
If the plans are approved a pilot scheme could begin in 2017 with the scheme being fully adopted two years later.