College of Policing: three years on Contents

4Working with higher education

55.Our predecessor Committee noted that the creation of the College of Policing was “an opportunity to link the world’s best universities with the world’s best police force.”57 It recommended that:

The College should work directly with universities, and also encourage local forces to do likewise. Additionally, the key role for the College will be to bring together the best research, the best evidence, the best experience and knowledge and disseminate that through signposting and guidance to benefit every police force.58

56.We were pleased to hear from the College that progress was being made in this area and that the College and individual police forces were establishing relationships with academics, universities and colleges. The College states on its website that one of its key functions is to be a catalyst for the development and use of knowledge and research by and for those who work in policing. As part of this the College hosts the What Works Centre for Crime Reduction, an initiative which involves collaboration between police forces and educational institutions. Rachel Tuffin, Director of Research, Knowledge and Education at the College of Policing, explained to us that the centre provides “a very neutral and rigorous standard of evidence through reviewing all of the crime reduction evidence that is available and publishing that in a toolkit.”59

57.The College also takes a coordinating role across the country, commissioning research and setting up regional networks, so that universities, further education colleges and police forces can work together to learn from best practice. To ensure that the evidence base continues to build, a £10 million Knowledge Fund was established in January 2015. Funded jointly by the Home Office and the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the fund exists to support collaborations between police forces and academic institutions to develop evidence that can be shared across policing.

58.As part of this inquiry we took evidence from Dr Anya Hunt, Chief Executive of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. Dr Hunt told us that police officers were taking up some of the training and competency assessments offered by her Society rather than that offered by the College of Policing. In Dr Hunt’s view this could be explained in part by the independence of the Society. Dr Hunt explained:

I think some of the advantages that the forensic community offers are that we have a fully self-sustaining financial model, and we are 100% independent of the police force. For example, we offer a certificate of competence for crime scene investigation, and that is being taken up by police forces because of the independent element and the fact that it is seen to be fit for purpose and offering good value for money.60

59.Our predecessors recommended much closer collaboration between policing and universities and it is satisfying to see this work developing. The College of Policing should consider utilising the training and accredited schemes available from other, relevant organisations such as the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, within its own programme of professional development. Working closely with other, specialist organisations and referring officers to them will broaden the range of training that the College is able to support, reduce duplication of effort in areas of overlap, and provide valuable opportunities for police officers to gain accredited qualifications and increase their knowledge base. This has clear long-term benefits for policing in England and Wales.

60.We are concerned that individual forces might be setting up their own arrangements for training and development with local universities, independent of the College of Policing. While we support greater interaction between institutions of higher education and the police service we are concerned that without central coordination such actions risk increasing a sense of inconsistency across the country. The relationship with academia should be managed centrally by the College of Policing rather than by 43 forces and 43 sets of staff.

57 Home Affairs Committee, Tenth Report of Session 2014–15, Evaluating the new architecture of policing: the College of Policing and the National Crime Agency, HC 800

58 Home Affairs Committee, Tenth Report of Session 2014–15, Evaluating the new architecture of policing: the College of Policing and the National Crime Agency, HC 800

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60 Q86

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5 July 2016