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Develop ways to allow the best to enter the Force

At the time of his re-election in 2016, the Police and Crime Commissioner was a member of the College of Policing Professional Committee who were overseeing reforms and innovations regarding police recruitment, retention and development. The PCC was keen to ensure such innovations were adopted locally.

Within this term, the Police and Crime Commissioner has assisted the Force in the introduction of three significant new national recruitment initiatives – namely, Direct Entry, Police Now and the Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF).

The Direct Entry scheme allows exceptional candidates to enter policing at Inspector or Superintendent level based on their knowledge, experience and transferable skills. In 2017, Dorset Police welcomed its first person to join the Force through this programme.

In 2018, eight new officers also joined Dorset Police through the Police Now scheme. The Police Now programme trains and develops graduates to become leaders in neighbourhood policing. Student Officers are placed in some of the most challenging communities in England and Wales, getting to know the issues up close and developing innovative ideas and techniques to tackle some of the challenges. There is an expectation they will be a visible leader in the community, developing skills in negotiation, problem solving, decision-making, resilience and emotional intelligence as a neighbourhood police officer.

As part of PEQF, new entrants at police constable level how have three routes:

  • Apprenticeship – Join as a constable and follow an apprenticeship in professional policing practice. This route normally takes three years with on and off-the-job learning. On successfully finishing the programme you complete your probation and achieve a degree.
  • Degree-holder entry – If you have a degree, you can join and follow a work-based programme, supported by off-the-job learning. This route normally takes two years, and the learning you have undergone is recognised in a graduate diploma in professional policing practice when you complete your probation.
  • Pre-join degree – If you want to study first, you can do a three-year degree in professional policing at your own expense, then apply to a force and follow a shorter on-the-job training programme. Being a special constable can be included in this route.

Dorset Police have adopted this process and now accept applicants through each of these routes. The OPCC has been closely involved in working through preparations for these changes and signing off the necessary business cases and contractual arrangements for these new processes.

The introduction of Direct Entry, Police Now and PEQF compliments existing officer and staff performance monitoring measures, including appraisals, training and mentoring geared towards the ongoing development of individuals to assist with retention, talent management and progression.

For further information, see our commitment relating to Evidence Based Policing, which includes an update on academic opportunities available to officers and staff, enhancing their personal development while providing wider benefits to the organisation.


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