Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice (Damian Green):
On 30 January 2013 I issued a written statement to the House confirming the commencement of a consultation exercise seeking views on how proposals for direct entry in the police, as set out in the Independent Review of Police Officer and Staff Remuneration and Condition carried out by Tom Winsor, should be implemented. The proposals included a three year fast track to inspector scheme, direct entry at superintendent and direct entry at chief constable for those who have equivalent experience from overseas.
The consultation exercise closed on 28 March and 929 responses were received. Issues such as equality, opportunities for existing officers, flexibility for annual cohort numbers, and the skills needed for policing were raised. A proportion of respondents were opposed to the direct entry schemes in principle. These respondents valued policing experience as the principal foundation for all police leaders.
The government has today published its response to the consultation, a copy of which will be placed in the house library. The response makes clear that the government remains committed to implementing fast track and direct entry schemes as they offer an opportunity to attract the best talent to the police, bringing in new skills and ideas from other professions.
It also sets out the government’s position whereby: cohort sizes should be flexible to reflect the changing needs of forces. We believe there should be in the region of 80 places on each annual cohort for the inspectors’ scheme, in line with recommendations made by Tom Winsor. We believe the superintendents’ scheme should develop so that there at least 20 places on each annual cohort.
The government also thinks that external applicants to the inspectors’ scheme should have a degree but this requirement will not be part of the eligibility criteria for existing officers, including those serving in the special constabulary, providing alternative routes onto the scheme.
PCCs should have the ability to choose their chief constable not only from the senior ranks in the United Kingdom, but also from other countries with a similar legal framework and policing model to ours. This will enable PCCs to choose the very best person for the job.
The government included a provision in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill which seeks to enable direct entry at the rank of chief constable for those with equivalent experience from overseas.
I have commissioned the college of policing to implement the direct entry schemes. The government’s response to the consultation makes clear that it is right that the college of policing, rather than those in Whitehall, should lead on the design on the new schemes. The college of policing has the remit to set standards and support the professional development of police officers and staff and the necessary expertise to implement the schemes.
The first cohorts are expected to start in 2014. As part of its evidence based approach to policing, the college will evaluate the implementation of direct entry after five years and submit a report to the government.