College scheme will see 40 fewer officers on the beat, says top cop
Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Bill Skelly has begun the first steps to a judicial review of a new College of Policing scheme which requires all new police officers to obtain a degree.
With the support of Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones, the Chief Constable is taking issue with the Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF) plans and has said it will result in 40 fewer officers on the streets of Lincolnshire.
Mr Skelly said: "I have been raising these concerns with the College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs Council for more than two years since the impact of PEQF became clear.
"The college has pushed forward, ignoring the growing evidence that demonstrates the impracticality of their proposals for Lincolnshire."
The scheme is expected to be implemented across all Home Office Forces by January 2020 and will require all recruits to have an academic degree or commit to study for one in work time.
Mr Skelly is requesting a stay of implementation until the summer of 2023 to give time for an evaluation of the system and for adjustments to be made.
Court action is being funded by Lincolnshire PCC, Mark Jones, who said: "If I did not challenge the imposition of these untested and far reaching changes that will see fewer officers on the streets of my county and the country as a whole, I would be failing in my duty.
"We believe that losing around 40 officers from the front line without challenging the College would be unforgivable and the costs to the public both financially and in loss of service leave us with no choice."
Mr Jones has also written to his PCC colleagues in England and Wales and says many share his views on the scheme.
North Wales and Kent PCC's Arfon Jones and Matthew Scott showed their support on Twitter.
The College of Policing, which was set up by the Home Office in 2012, say the new scheme aims to bring consistency to initial police training.
However, in a statement released by Lincolnshire Police, their research surrounding the possible impact of the plans raised the issue of forces being financially unable to recruit additional officers.
The research also presented a potential negative impact on the diversity of forces which will disadvantage minority groups, stating that "the force would not be representative of the people we serve".