Comprehensive review of the College of Policing in the United Kingdom

The UK College of Policing has carried out a thorough review, devised to improve leadership, standards and professionalism throughout the police force, with the aim of helping the police themselves and improving public service. Thus, three basic priorities have been established:

  • Promote professionalism, ensuring that officers and staff have access to the best continuous training development and that it is appropriately prioritised.
  • Improve leadership in officers and staff at all levels to develop their leadership skills.
  • Promote consistency, overcoming the weaknesses of the model of the 43 police forces, to promote consistency where it matters most to the public and those who work in policing.

This review of the College of Policing was launched in March 2021 by Lord Herbert of South Downs, chair of the College of Policing. Objectives include:

  • Conduct an evaluation of the College’s role, its effectiveness and how it operates in conjunction with other policing organisations.
  • Ensure that the College is highly valued by all sectors of the police, from frontline officers and staff to chiefs and police commissioners.

Policing is becoming increasingly complex, and the culture and standards in the service are subject to increasing scrutiny.

To implement these challenges, the review included extensive consultation with people of different ranks, grades and roles from across the police force to find out what they want from their College of Policing. This included individual interviews, written evidence, focus groups, visits to police forces and a survey of some 15,000 officers and other personnel.

Respondents acknowledged the College’s success in addressing problems in some critical areas of policing, such as the response to the covid-19 pandemic, and identified future challenges for policing.

Identified challenges included:

  • Lack of professional development.
  • Insufficient investment in leadership development in all ranks.
  • Lack of coordinated strategic thinking across the police force.
  • Diffusion of responsibilities at the national level.
  • Insufficient equipment to respond to the growing digital aspects of crime.

Suggested improvements to address these problems include having the College act as a national centre for police leadership and make guidance and knowledge of what works more accessible to those on the front line through a College application, to introduce a consistent new approach to personal development for everyone in policing.

With these changes, the police will be better able to respond to the challenges they face, improve community confidence, reduce crime and keep citizens safe.

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