Do police officers need a university degree?
The police and crime commissioner for Norfolk has questioned whether officers need a university degree to ‘clear up vomit on Prince of Wales Road’.
It comes after the College of Policing announced every new officer will have to be educated to degree standard from 2020.
But Simon Bailey, chief constable for Norfolk, said the changes would help 'professionalise' the force.
"I think it is positive we are raising the standard and recognising what police officers do every single day and giving them the opportunity to get a recognised qualification," said Mr Bailey.
"I hope it will break the perception of policing as blue collar rather than white collar, and there are real benefits around the professionalisation of policing."
PCC Lorne Green said he feared students taking a free education and not being bound to remain in policing.
"Do you think police officers need a degree to clear up vomit on Prince of Wales Road?" he asked.
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"I am concerned about someone coming in and getting a degree and after three years not being impressed by the pay packet and taking their degree and leaving."
Mr Bailey said he was concerned the changes would leave the force with younger officers with less life experience.
"I am concerned more mature students that have families will struggle to take that drop in salary and want to become a police officer," he said.
"I was with a police officer recently who joined us six years ago, is now a detective constable, and is now earning what they were when they took that pay cut six years ago.
"Every student officer starts on £19,000 a year.
"It gives me a great opportunity to improve my diversity, because we could say to people - you could get a degree, and we will pay for that degree.
"We have to be mindful of the impact it is going to have on the age profile of the organisation. We have a very, very young workforce."
Officers who already have a degree can embark on a 'conversion degree' to policing, or a student can go to university and become a special constable before joining the force.
Mr Bailey added: "Do you need a degree to clear up sick? Of course not. But the job is more than that."
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