Select Committee on Home Affairs Third Special Report



Published 7 July 1999. Government response (published as HC 77, 1999-2000) Received 18 November 1999

  The Home Affairs Committee Report on Police Training in England and Wales provided a significant contribution to the debate on new arrangements for police training.

RECOMMENDATION NUMBERS: 2-18, 20, 21, 28-31

  In May 2000, following close consultation with stakeholders, the Government published Police Training: The Way Forward. This outlined a number of proposals to improve the arrangements for police training in England and Wales.

  The proposals cover a range of measures, some of which require legislation. These are as follows:

Non Legislative

    (i)  an employer-led police National Training Organisation to promote skills within the police sector and to take a leading role in the development of core competencies and common minimum standards;

    (ii)  more effective use of information and communications technology and distance learning;

    (iii)  the development of joint training with other organisations and involving community members with relevant expertise;

    (iv)  a re-organised Police Training Council, responsible for providing high level advice to the Home Secretary;

    (v)  the creation of a dedicated training Inspectorate, headed by a lay inspector within HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, to support and monitor quality assurance. This has now been established, headed by a full HMI.

    (vi)  greater regional collaboration between forces to maximise resources and best practice (to be driven by the establishment of a national review team working to an agreed costing model).


    (vii)  a mandatory core curriculum;

    (viii)  a mandatory qualifications framework;

    (ix)  a new central police college, building on from National Police Training, which will function as a centre of excellence;

    (x)  implementation of annual plans, prepared by chief officers and published by their police authorities, to ensure the continuous development of all staff;

    (xi)  the use of existing powers of the Home Secretary, strengthened where necessary, to ensure that the new arrangements will deliver improvements.

  The Government intends to introduce the measures requiring legislation at the earliest legislative opportunity. Work on implementing the reform programme is overseen by a steering group drawn from members of the Police Training Council.

  National Police Training has long standing partnerships with the University of Portsmouth and other academic institutions. In particular NPT has worked with Portsmouth to devise the Certificate in Policing and Police Studies which provides the foundations of Professor Savage and Dr Wright's proposals. NPT is also currently in negotiation with Portsmouth, the ACPO East Midlands Region and the MPS to establish a pilot programme for a Foundation Degree based on the existing accreditation arrangements.


  The provision of custody officer training has certainly improved greatly and become much more widespread over recent years. However, there is still scope for improvement. One significant difficulty continues to be the fairly frequent requirement for officers to take on custody officer duties at short notice due to operational demands. This area of activity will be considered for the introduction of mandatory qualifications, once the power to prescribe such qualifications has been established.

  The National Police Training (NPT) "Personal Safety Programme" manual is currently being re-written. A final draft of the new publication is expected by the end of this year. This will set out guidance and tactics on a number of "use of force" issues; including the use of batons and CS spray. It is intended that each subject area will include specific criteria that can be used to measure competence. This will enable common minimum standards to be recognised. The manual will include a suggested minimum training package for all officers. This will include "generic" guidance to cover those cases where forces differ in the equipment they use. The ACPO Standing Sub-committee on Self-defence, Arrest and Restraint have recently issued guidance to Chief Officers in relation to the importance of providing appropriate self defence training.


  The Government entirely agrees with the Committee that the police recruitment procedure can seem disorganised and disjointed and that potential recruits might seem confused by it. Since the response to the Committee's report a review has been undertaken of the work that needs to be done to ensure that there are national recruitment standards for police officers. Work needs to be done on all aspects of the recruitment process and a strategic approach to developing national recruitment standards is being developed.

  The national competences framework being developed will be used as a basis for job related tests to establish whether applicants for police officer posts have the skills and qualities required for the job. A paper on the proposed strategy will be put to the Police Advisory Board for their December meeting. It is a wide ranging strategy embracing the organisation of police recruitment, the link with training and monitoring arrangements as well as the standards themselves.

  In parallel with the assessment of the position on national recruitment standards, an in-depth assessment is being conducted of the implications of extending the Disability Discrimination Act to police officers. Ministers have agreed in principle to the Act being extended but a fuller assessment of the implications of this is needed to establish just what they are for the service and what the timetable for implementation should be. The assessment DDA will inform the work that is needed on national recruitment standards and a review will be conducted of the guidance on medical standards to ensure that they comply with DDA requirements.


  Community and race relations (CRR) Training: The Home Office contract with a specialist consultant provides for a programme of force based training which is delivered by police trainers in conjunction with associate trainers drawn from minority ethnic communities. Members of minority ethnic communities are also involved in the development and implementation of training. The specialist consultants are also working with NPT to ensure that CRR is woven throughout the national training curriculum. Nationally agreed CRR occupational standards have been developed and are currently being piloted.

  The newly established Inspectorate of Training will play a significant role in supporting forces in developing this area of work.


  The Home Secretary's minority ethnic targets for police forces encompass progression. The targets for progression provide that, within specified bands of rank and years of service, the percentage of minority ethnic officers should be equal to the percentage of white officers with the same length of service, and that this parity should be maintained. The action plan which accompanies the minority employment targets in the Home Office provides that police authorities should seek progress reports from forces in relation to recruitment, retention and progression, and in addition forces will be making annual statistical returns to the Home Office. Early in the new year, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary will be publishing a report of their race equality inspection of all police forces in England & Wales. The inspection will benchmark forces against the recommendations of previous race and community relations inspections, and also take into account the Home Secretary's targets for recruitment, retention and progression. Under the Home Secretary's action plan, the Inspectorate will publish a document of good practice in relation to management/mentoring practice.

  Work will begin shortly on the design of a new, expanded, accelerated promotion scheme, which will take full account of the need to attract graduates into the police service. This follows the recommendations of the tripartite Leadership Working Group for a new scheme designed to maximise the talent pool in the police service, and to remove unnecessary barriers to advancement. Those recommendations build on the review of the current Accelerated Promotion Scheme for Graduates (APSG).

  The percentage of applicants in 1999 who were selected for a place on the Strategic Command Course was the same (33 per cent) for white and minority ethnic applicants. For the current APSG 18 candidates were recommended for acceptance in 2000, of whom 1 is of minority ethnic origin. An equality audit of the Extended Interview (EI) process is currently being completed. However, at present most minority ethnic applicants for the APSG are rejected at the force-based paper sift or interview stage, before candidates are put forward to EI. The new accelerated promotion scheme to be developed will include procedures to ensure that minority ethnic applicants are not disadvantaged at any stage in the process.

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Prepared 26 February 2001