“We need a new scheme”

We, as Police, constantly seem to want a new project. A new scheme. A new way to do things.

One thing I will never understand is this incessant need to try and fix something that isn’t broken. If something works, if the public know what to expect, and the Police know how to do our job, leave it alone. It works for a reason.

We are really good at finding something that works, and rocking the boat so hard it actually breaks. New policies or working practices which change so frequently you can’t get your head around them before the next one is rolled out.

There’s many mixed reviews around the Direct Entry and Fast Track schemes. I currently have a Direct Entry Inspector and I’ve recently had a Fast Track Sergeant.

I would make only a few points:

1. It takes a certain type of person to be able & competent to do those schemes.

2. Fast Track doesn’t mean they’re better, they’re really not.

3. Experience is more important than rank. If you’ll listen & take advice from those who have done the job for years, you’ll likely be better off.

4. They do however, bring other skills to the table and different experiences.

5. I think I prefer Direct Entry to Fast Track as a scheme. Generally people with more life experience, previous careers, people skills & ability. Fast Track (in my opinion) attracts young, inexperienced people, not good leaders.

And on the subject of schemes…let’s all have a degree! No, let’s not.

I have a degree, do I use it every day in my job? No. Does it benefit me, yes of course. Should it be compulsory? No definitely not.

Being a Police Officer requires 3 main things:

1. The skill to listen

2. The ability to empathise

3. The desire to protect the most vulnerable & convict the most evil.

Three things that I would suggest you wouldn’t ever learn from studying for a degree. Some of the best Police Officers I know don’t have degrees, and it’s people like them that these ridiculous schemes will ignore. As with the Direct Entry & Fast Track schemes, taking promotion opportunities away from very, very competent and able PCs.

Rarely, very rarely, is somebody extremely practical as well as being extremely academic. Often we are one or the other.

Policing is a practical job. It’s a do-ing job. Yes of course there’s paperwork, but no, it’s not like writing a dissertation (although it may feel it sometimes!)

It’s the ability to comfort those after you’ve broken the worst news to them.

It’s the going to work and missing family events to protect the public.

It’s risking our own lives and safety to protect yours.

It’s sitting with you for hours in your mental health crisis, trying to comfort you.

It’s working late every day to finish a job, to get the right result, and cancelling yet another plan.

It’s juggling home and life and shifts and sleep and how the hell don’t I have a free weekend for 15 weeks?

It’s the hardest, but the most rewarding job there is.

The one thing it’s not, is something you learn from a textbook.

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