The news that the College of Policing wants to limit entry into Policing to Graduates in order to ensure that Police Officers are treated on an equal basis with Social Workers, Nurses and other Professions is a very alluring idea. By ensuring that all who are granted a warrant card, have already passed a degree would certainly change the mix of those who apply for posts in local forces. However it is very naïve of the College of Policing to assume that this move would ensure that the service will be seen to be professional by those who operate outside of the Peelian principles. I am not a Nurse or a Social Worker and I don’t have any relatives who are, but I doubt if the standing of Nurses or Social Workers has changed substantially in meetings with other professionals since the doors to non-graduates were shut. If so that simply shows how shallow the people whose attitude has since changed, are. I do know a number of people involved in education and since early years professionals were required to be graduates, their standing has not changed in the way in which other ‘professionals’ treat these people who care for and educate our most vulnerable children. They are the Cinderella’s of our educational system and despite a graduate only preserve, they continue to be overlooked and ignored, just as much as was the case before. The only difference is that some have had to do more studying and others have been lost to a vital service, taking with them vital knowledge and experience.
I know many Police Officers in Sussex, and I am certain that graduate only entry would have deterred some of those who today are very successful and exceedingly professional Police Officers. There are some scenarios where a more intellectual and higher level of formal education would have helped an Officer in their work. However I also know of scenarios where if all involved had been graduates, that a less succesful outcome would probably have been the result. What would make sense is a thorough analysis of what would be gained if the Police were to follow down this path. Could this be provided in other ways? Then we all need to consider what is wrong with a society that has failed to respect Nurses, Social Workers and Early Years Professionals prior to them becoming graduate entry. If we can fix that we might return all of our professions to a place where they should be, and more importantly fix a bit of our broken society.