Licence to practice proposal for public protection officers in England & Wales

From the Met Police Federation website:

A “licence to practice” is to be introduced for public protection roles to bring them into line with the standards required to practice firearms, the College of Policing has said.

Alex Marshall (pictured), who leads the College, has said more needs to be done to standardise training and experience across the service. He told the Police Federation of England and Wales’ annual conference: “We need to bring in a licence to practice or something similar.”

He added: “We are quite good about qualifications and maintaining skills in some areas. For instance, we are pretty strict about who can carry a police firearm, reclassification throughout the year and we maintain a list about who is qualified.

“But in public protection we are quite weak in terms of having a licence to practice. We have people in high risk roles, constables, sergeants, inspectors and DCIs overseeing public protection who don’t have a qualification in this area or don’t have it yet. That is something we will look at.”

 The licence would professionalise standards across the country and would be akin to those used in other professions such as midwifery, he added. Mr Marshall also said the move would provide police officers who carry out such high risk roles much better support.

An investigation from HMIC last year concluded that not one single police force in England and Wales could be classified as “outstanding” at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm.  31 forces were judged to be either inadequate or requiring improvement in this area.

The Home Secretary said in her speech to Conference this week: “I will bring forward proposals with the College to develop minimum training and standards for certain specialist roles and to give the College responsibility to enforce those standards through a system of national accreditation.

“This will deliver higher standards for specialist investigators, including for domestic abuse and child sexual abuse, and ensure that these are as rigorously and as consistently applied in protecting the vulnerable as they are in other critical areas like firearms and public order.”

The Superintendents’ Association also expressed concern about the lack of qualifications among officers leading public protection teams after a study found that 48% of senior officers said they had no experience in public protection before going on to lead teams.