Education for Police Officers

Police Officers

Police officers need basic English literacy and basic numeracy in order to be effective in their work.

It should be the case that he police force is an 'investors in people' organisation, that new officers do not get on the basic pay grade until they are qualified (literate and numerate), until which time, they should be obliged to take day release classes in English language reading, comprehension, and writing, alongside classes in basic mathematics. Probably someone else will add some form of training in reasoning and mediation.

During this time they would be paid a reduced wage. These are fundamental and basic skills that should equip every school leaver to be gainfully employed, but in the police they are essential skills for an officer to be fully productive no matter how well an officer can hold and use a riot shield, most officers need written English skills daily.

One could add that police officers passing basic spoken language skills in foreign languages – let the exam boards decide this – could receive a one-off bonus payment to aid in policing our many foreign visitors and immigrant communities. Such payments would be higher for unusual languages, such as Russian, less for langugages of nations who generally speak English, such as German or Swedish, and nominal (perhaps to certify the officers skill) for languages that officers already speak as their second language but which are nonetheless useful in their police work.

Why does this idea matter?

We deserve an educated police force, one that is numerate and literate sufficient to take a statement in a short time, process paperwork efficiently, not one that avoids paperwork whenever possible or takes hours to process just one event, nor one that misunderstands people and situations due to a poor grasp of the English language. We should not be paying such ill-educated people the full police wage – this as an incentive for officers to study and get suitably educated, and as a means to improve police efficiency and effectiveness.

Yes, I realise there is room for a joke about this – what advantage there would be in police officers discussing Shakespeare whilst policing football matches, etc. etc. !

But many police officers are currently illiterate and innumerate. This is no joke if you try to give a witness statement and want to get home this side of midnight. My last effort cost me 5 hours for a statement I could have written and checked in 10 minutes. If you are wrongfully accused and have to wait for the paperwork to be processed, this could unfairly cost you a nights sleep or worse. It is costing the tax payer millions.

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5 Responses

  1. Common Sense says:

    Police officers have to pass entrance tests which including English and Maths. The reason why your statement might have taken so long is because of the level of detail required and the fact that it is required to be written in a specific way by the courts. Most police officers have AT LEAST one degree.

  2. J Robertson says:

    Tests of note-taking would be good for the police exam and are probably already part of it.

    I suggest the Radio 4 lunchtime news slot, in which someone is usually interviewed over the phone, often with a hard accent for me to understand and with several points to make, is good material.

  3. William Adams says:

    Protect and Serve are the most imporatnt words. I believe most understand this and implement it earnestly every day and often with considerable risk of personal injury to themselves.

  4. Victor says:

    Its ok Police Constables (Not Officers without a Rank) having to pass a written test in Maths and English but a degree in media studies is not a real degree surely?, and most constables only have a working knowledge of the law which they have learned from other colleagues, and tend not to know the full meaning of it use for example ‘Section 5 public order offence’, which is used for almost anything they want, most only have a vague idea what it actually means would it not be better for them to take a basic course in Law, and what the legislation actually means when used as a law. They are supposed to uphold common law be peace keepers and are most certainly not Law Enforcement Officers, in the oath a constable takes it states he will uphold the common law and Nothing about enforcing the law. A lot tend to act in a thuggish behaviour or attitude to simple questions.

  5. phil says:

    Certainly, from what I’ve seen the police are not the brightest stars in the constellation.

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