Police in need of help as training goes local

The overhaul of police training is leading to frustration and confusion among the forces, according to those trying to deliver it.
Personnel Today first revealed details of the new Initial Police Learning Development Programme (IPLDP) in June.

Under the scheme, the traditional Centrex police training centres will close so that recruits can spend more time training in the communities they serve.

However, only the barest information on delivering the IPLDP courses is being passed from Centrex to individual forces, meaning they have to spend large amounts of time and resources creating new courses.

David Backhouse, head of training and development at Thames Valley Police, said its programme had to be up and running by April 2006 and the lack of direction had been unhelpful.

“We had to spend months working out how to cover the basic national learning requirements,” he said.

Chief inspector Gail Wellman, who is in charge of training and delivery at Cheshire Police, said the IPLDP had taken up a lot of time and money.
“It’s disappointing that Centrex hasn’t come across with more details,” she said.

The Home Office defended the lack of direction offered to forces across the country. It said one of the objectives of IPLDP was to offer forces the flexibility to deliver training in a way that is most appropriate to the area in which they operate.

“If a prescriptive outline was produced it would restrict this flexibility and prevent one of the main IPLDP objectives from being realised,” the Home Office said.

Every force Personnel Today spoke to denied accusations by the officers’ union, the Police Federation, that closing the Centrex centres was “premature” and would lead to “patchy training”.

Backhouse said that despite the difficulties in planning, the new system would tailor training to Thames Valley’s needs and “should be much better than the present system”.

Wellman agreed and said it would help her force better reflect the needs of the community.

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