Federation chair calls for reform at College of Policing

Gwent Police Federation chair Steve Thorpe is calling on the College of Policing to reform itself after a review identified that it is seen as remote and irrelevant.

Steve said the publication of a review ordered by the former policing minister Nick Herbert, now chairm of the college, makes uncomfortable reading and should be a catalyst for change.

He added: “The findings are not a great surprise to be honest – they confirm what policing knows, the college is not living up to its potential and must improve. It’s essential that it does because my colleagues do a difficult job under intense public scrutiny and there is a heavy price to pay when things go wrong.

“They deserve the highest standards of training and College of Policing that is constantly analysing the data and developing, and rolling out, best practices.”

The key points of the review were:

  • Universal agreement about the need for a strong college that plays a central role in the policing landscape
  • The college has not lived up to its potential or fully delivered on the expectations that officers, staff and the public have of policing’s professional body
  • Many on the frontline are not fully aware of what the college does
  • It is seen as remote and as serving only policing leaders and academics.

Former chief constable Andy Marsh, who is the new chief executive officer of the college, said in foreword to the review: “The demands and challenges placed on officers and staff, which are often overwhelming, mean that they rarely have the opportunity to reflect and learn.

“These challenges should never be an excuse, but if they are not addressed by strong leadership, they can create breeding grounds for the wrong type of culture. The college must take a lead role in helping officers and staff to overcome these barriers.”

Mr Marsh added that a “new deal” between policing and the college would be needed.

This will include three new strategic priorities:

  • Boosting professionalism by equipping officers and staff with the skills they need and access to CPD
  • Creating a culture of inclusive, data-driven leadership, and
  • Driving consistency across the 43 forces.

The college has promised to boost its What Works Centre to provide better access to data, and to provide a new app that will put “relevant good practice, guidance and tactics” into the hands of officers.

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