Majority of police forces fail to deliver good staff training

Fewer than half of the police forces in England and Wales deliver a good standard of training, an official report has found.

The interim findings of a report by the Inspectorate of Constabulary, which covered the period between December 2003 and March this year, show that only 16 of the 43 forces delivered good training.

Despite an annual service-wide training budget of 500m, 10 forces were judged to provide poor training, with the remaining 17 only
managing a fair service.

On the positive side, the Value Matters report found that ‘prospects for improvement’ for training services are promising or excellent in all but four areas. But it states that forces need to improve collaboration and use external training providers.

The Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said it was saddened but not surprised by the results and called for “good and regular” training to be made available to all.

The Association of Police Authorities admitted the report was a matter for concern, but highlighted the ‘significant’ improvements made in recent years.

Sir Ronnie Flanagan, chief inspector at the inspectorate, acknowledged these improvements but warned that more needed to be done.

“The scale of improvement is still not considered sufficient and a great deal of work remains to be undertaken before the service
can demonstrate it is providing training in the most cost-effective way,” he said.

As part of a shake-up in police training, forces are currently trialling a community-based approach to policing which means more time on the beat and less time in the classroom for new recruits.

Five police forces – Kent, Cleveland, West Midlands, North Wales and the Metropolitan Police – have piloted the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme, as revealed in Personnel Today in June.

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