“Grave concerns” about introducing policing direct entry
THE introduction of direct entry at West Yorkshire Police is an “insult” and a “slap in the face” of hardworking police officers, the force’s federation has said.
Nick Smart, federation chairman (pictured), hit out at the controversial move after his force became the first in the UK to announce plans to open up a superintendent post to applicants from outside the service. He said the Federation have “grave, grave concerns”.
Mr Smart said: “Direct entry candidates will have absolutely no credibility, no experience, and no confidence of the officers they are expected to lead, in situations they have never experienced.
“They will have absolutely no understanding of critical issues such as firearms and public order incidents, and making crucial operational decisions. Officer and public safety could be compromised by inexperienced decision making. Direct entry will increase the possibility of unnecessary harm and risk to public, officers the individual, and the organisation.”
Mr Smart added: “It is not good for the service, and it is certainly not good for the public to have this scheme. We have the talent already from warranted officers at all ranks within the service, perhaps that is where we should start. You simply cannot teach experience. You cannot buy credibility.”
Direct entry was introduced by the Government last year to widen the talent pool in policing and bring in new people from a diverse range of backgrounds.
Neil Bowles, chairman of South Yorkshire Police Federation, said he had no objections to HR specialists, accountants or lawyers joining forces in specific, specialist roles – however he said they should “certainly not be operational commanders.”
He added: “Commanders need operational experience and credibility to lead operational officers.”
Federated ranks are not the only ones opposed to the scheme.
Last year Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, said he would not be parachuting people into the senior ranks, adding: “You would expect superintendents to have at least 15 years of frontline policing. If you put them in charge of an operation like policing Old Trafford, you can guarantee they will have a massive experience of dealing with public events.
“If you put a Tesco manager in charge of something like that, it would be a recipe for disaster.”
Mr Smart added: “We have grave, grave concerns about direct entry. It is a huge slap in the face, and very de-motivating, to existing officers within the service who aspire to the superintending ranks. We feel that we currently have the talent within West Yorkshire Police.”
West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Mark Gilmore said: “As Chief Constable I am committed to using every opportunity to reach and recruit the very best talent available as West Yorkshire Police works towards providing a world-class policing service to all our communities.
“I fully recognise the skills, experience and leadership talent that already exists within the service and this exciting new opportunity to try something different in no way replaces it but will complement it.”
Policing Minister Damian Green said: “I am delighted that West Yorkshire Police is using direct entry as an additional tool to recruit top-class talent.
“Their work with the College of Policing to ensure that all direct entry recruits are adequately supported is very encouraging.
“A combination of the strong leadership already in the force, and the improved nurturing of internal talent through the College of Policing, means that we will have a police force that is even better at fighting crime.”