My friend, we’ll call him Dave has 13 years of policing experience, he did a few years in uniform before deciding he wanted a proper job, so became a L plate Detective, after a few months he decided it was the job for him and has made a go of it.
During his time in investigation he has worked all kinds of level 2 and level 3 crime, qualified as a SOCO, and qualified as an SIO, he has led many inquiries into deaths, drugs, S18s and all the usual detective work. As well as being fully compliant with all relevant UK laws, being a nationally accredited SIO, having operational experience of the role, and having done six months on secondment to a Met Murder Investigation Team he is a damned good manager who is liked and respected by his team, (he also likes cats and is single ladies!!!)
But we will come back to Dave. Another mate Paul has followed a slightly different career path. Paul loves surveillance, and spent his time in uniform, moved into investigations and during his 16 years in the job has conducted countless surveillance operations, mostly revolving around drugs and smuggling related crime. He has had some great results. Is nationally accredited as an advanced driver, level one surveillance (or Core Surveillance Skills as some are wont to call it), a CHIS handler and has been on the national CMOE course. He has also done a 12 month attachment to an international drugs unit and really made an impact on international drugs smuggling.
Well if you are still reading by this point you will wonder what my point is, “Why is Winter banging on about these two coppers (who sound like great blokes)” Well, they are great blokes. And they are both coppers (after a fashion), however they are not and have never held the office of constable.
Dave is an officer in one of the Service Police, Special Investigation Branches and Paul is a Higher Officer (whatever that means) in Customs.
Both of them are fantastically qualified, have a raft of specialist skills and have many years of operational experience. Both of them have, at one time or another, been seconded to operations with Home Office police forces, and have worked jobs with them, have even trained them. All the laws they use are identical, the paperwork is even the same.
If either of them wanted to join the civil police (which they both do) they would have to join the back of the queue, then they would have to undergo full PC training, then bimble around on two years in probation, then they would have to apply to attend a course, then if loaded on to the course they would have to apply for a specialist role.
Is this right? I don’t think so, a short conversion course, some OST training (well only on CS, they are both qualified on arrests and cuffs) and they would both be able to execute the role of inspector or higher in their chosen specialist field. Instead they start from the bottom, experience massive skill fade because their specialist skills aren’t used and then they would need to retake the self same courses that they instructed on, and in some cases helped write.
And it’s not just Dave and Paul, there are countless other people out there who would make ideal candidates for direct entry to the police force there are officers from the Service Police forces, the UKBA, HMRC, SOCA, heck even the SFO. All of whom would have to take a huge pay cut and waste many years of their career wandering about in uniform, and then there is a chance they might not be able to get back into their chosen specialisation.
I am not talking about recruiting graduates to be Supernintendos, I am talking about taking people with real operational experience and putting them in post as warranted officers. If they are good enough to be seconded to the civil police, good enough to train the civil police, I don’t see why they can’t be fasttracked into the civil police. The job can only gain from it.
(Author’s note, Dave is leaving the Service Police in seven months and hopes to get a role within the NCA when it opens, Paul has recently had his application for the role of PC rejected and has been offered a job in the private sector. He still wishes to be a police officer.)