Controversial proposals for direct entry into the Police Service at inspector, superintendent and chief constable levels have been given the green light to proceed, the government has confirmed.
In a statement to MPs, Minister for Policing and Justice Damian Green said he remained “committed to implementing fast-track and direct entry schemes to attract the best talent” following a consultation exercise carried out earlier this year. He added that the schemes will start to be rolled out in 2014.
Mr Green accepted that that “a proportion” of the 929 responses to the consultation had been opposed to the principle of the proposals but he did not clarify how many. He said the government’s approach would bring in gifted candidates from outside policing.
In the consultation response, the government suggested there should be 80 places available annually at the rank of inspector and 20 at superintendent ranks.
In line with Tom Winsor’s recommendations from his second review of pay and conditions, Mr Green said that police and crime commissioners (PCCs) should be able to select their chief constables from senior ranks in other countries as well as from the UK.
Mr Green said that it would enable PCCs to choose the very best person for the job. To enable direct entry to chief constable rank, a provision has been made in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill.
He said in his statement that the College of Policing would take the lead in designing and implementing the scheme.
“The government’s response to the consultation makes clear that it is right that the college, rather that those in Whitehall, should take the lead on designing the new schemes,” he said.
“The College of Policing has the remit to set standards to support the professional development of officers and staff and the necessary skills to implement the schemes.”
As previously reported Mr Winsor said candidates for the inspector scheme should be drawn from both within and outside the Police Service. He suggested that they should serve a year as a PC before being promoted to sergeant as they entered a period of study and inspector on finishing the course.
Aspiring direct entry superintendents would be drawn from high achievers, such as senior captains of industry, at the request of a chief and undergo 15 months of intensive training.
Direct entry at superintendent level has raised significant concerns that those brought in will not have the operational experience and leadership acumen of colleagues who have worked their way up through the ranks.
Meanwhile, ministers have confirmed that external applicants for the inspectors’ scheme should have a degree – although this should not be a requirement for internal candidates.
Mr Green added in his written statement: “The first cohorts are expected to start in 2014 – as part of its evidence-based approach, the college will evaluate the implementation of direct entry after five years and submit a report to government.”