#Degreegate – a chance to speak 

If you’ve been following my blogs and tweets of late, it cannot have escaped your notice that I have some views on the whole issue of whether police officers should be required to have degrees.

I found both the concept and the manner it was announced to be flawed in many ways. My feelings around the concept are my own and are not universally shared but I do know that I am not alone in having those reservations.The feedback from my Yesterday’s Man blog has also confirmed that I am far from alone in feeling excluded from the College of Policing and much of its proposed reform agenda.

It was therefore encouraging to read  this blog from Emma Williams who recently attended a College of Policing meeting where both of these aspects appear to have been discussed.

I am not comfortable with the use of the term “Twitter Storm” to describe the reaction to the College’s degree idea as I feel this belittles the strength of feeling held by many. Confusion and resistance to the idea also goes much deeper than that which was expressed on social media. This isn’t just a “Twitter Storm” (which conjures up images of “storm in a tea cup”) this is real and genuine concern and, in some cases, disagreement that this is wise or necessary.

It is a strong opposing view which seems to have been strengthened by the recent announcement that several private sector employees are making an apparently evidentially based decision to stop degree requirement for potential employees. This evidence suggests that there is no link at all between having a degree and being a successful employee and that it actually narrows the field of applicants with much talent being excluded.

Nevertheless, the most pleasing thing arising from this meeting is that the College seem to have recognised the strength of feeling and are opening a six week window from February 2nd where people will be able to submit their thoughts and views on the subject.

I am yet to see what this will look like and how submissions will be made. I am yet to see whether it will be an open forum or guided questions. More crucially, we are all clueless as to how much influence or effect this will have. Will the views be listened to? What if the responses are overwhelmingly against the idea?

For this reason I deliberately steer clear of calling this a “consultation.” My sense is that the whole thing will be going ahead whatever.

However, this is an opportunity that people both for and against the ideas cannot ignore. It is a significant and welcome gesture from the College of Policing. Whilst it is arguably about 6 months too late – it should now be grabbed with both hands by anyone who has an interest on either side of the debate.

I am therefore writing this short blog to say that I will be submitting something when the details are announced. Depending on the methods allowed I will probably have to do so (in the interests of transparency) in my own and real name. This is fine and, if I am able to, I will share my submission more widely at a later time.

I am asking you to do the same. Whether you agree with the idea of police degrees or not – or whether you are somewhere in the middle – this is a vital opportunity to say something and potentially have some influence.

This is to be welcomed and supported. Lord knows I am a self confessed opponent-in-chief to degrees in policing and have been very critical of the communications methods of the College so – credit where it is due.

Those of us with an opinion – whatever it is – for, against or neutral-  need to get involved, positively, and speak up.

I would like to thank Emma for her blog and I hope that the College accept her offer to become involved in the development and research.

I would like to thank the College for giving us the chance to submit thoughts and views.

I now encourage everyone to actively get involved and express their views. Please keep an eye on the College’s website and Twitter feeds for details and I will post anything I see in a bid to spread the word.

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