Three ideas being put forward:
Three models for a national scheme are being studied. One is operated by Lancashire police, in which those wanting to join the force first have to attend a university offering a two-year course. This teaches recruits law and policing in diverse communities. During the course, students work as special constables. Only after completing it can they apply to become full police constables.
No, don\’t like that one at all. For two reasons. The first being that clearly it requires a two year, unpaid, training period. The second is that it\’s the start of requiring graduate entry. And as I\’ve mentioned before, one of the reasons why there are so many more \”professionals\” in public service is because there\’s been a decades long attempt to define as \”professions\” those things done in the public sector. The current definition of \”professional\” of course being that you need a degree to do it: like we now have with nursing.
Scotland Yard is proposing to introduce a scheme that was passed by its watchdog last week. Potential recruits would have to work for up to a year as special constables before being allowed to apply to Britain\’s largest force.
This one has its problems, for sure.
In London, Labour is opposing the Metropolitan police scheme. Joanne McCartney, a Labour member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, said: \”If the Met can get this through, then other forces will follow suit. It\’s unfair and will disadvantage anyone with caring responsibilities, anyone already in work, and anyone who can\’t afford to work unpaid for a year or more.
\”We know this is a financially driven decision and not one taken in the best long-term interests of the Met. Specials are an invaluable asset, but they are an addition to full-time officers. They do not offer the same resilience as they can\’t be compelled to work, and nor should they.\”
But that rather misses what specials actually do. In the Met they commit to working 16 hours a month. In return you get an all system travel card worth some £260 a month. (Might only be zones 1-6, worth £190, not sure). This, even at that lower level, comes out at over £11 an hour for not watching telly.
For the Met, and those who wish to join it, this seems like a pretty good deal. Not entirely convinced about other police forces, which don\’t have the same transport systems nor in fact the same general population mobility.
The third model is that operated by Surrey police, which sees recruits pay £700 for training. Mark Rowley, chief constable of Surrey police, said it does more than save money: \”We are getting better recruits, because they have committed their own time to learning and progressing further their career in the police.\”
That one sounds pretty good actually.