'Challenging time' ahead for Beds Police - as more than a quarter of officers will be trainees by the new year

“These are nicer problems to have than when we had no money ten years ago”

By John Guinn, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 10:22 am

Bedfordshire Police are set for a ‘really challenging time’ as more than a quarter of the force will be trainees come January.

Deputy chief constable Trevor Rodenhurst, told the delivery and beating crime meeting (Thursday, June 30) that when January rolls around, 28 per cent of the workforce will be made up of student officers (414).

And he said this will have an impact on the other officers who will be supporting them, adding that it was going to be “a really challenging time”.

Bedfordshire Police HQ

Bedfordshire’s police and crime commissioner, Festus Akinbusoye, asked the chief constable, Garry Forsyth, how the force will be dealing with this challenge.

“We’re looking at what we need to do to refine some of our operating models at the moment so we can accommodate all those student officers in a more efficient way,” the chief constable replied.

“We anticipate some tweaks to how we bring people into the organisation and how we allocate them to different functions.

“It is going to be enormously challenging, but these are nicer problems to have than when we had no money ten years ago, when we were having to make people redundant and lose posts from the organisation.

“I suppose one element of it is expectation management because people will see those core numbers and think that immediately there’s going to be translation into increased service delivery.

“These will be students who are on a pathway to ultimately independent patrol and operational effectiveness.

“But it isn’t an instantaneous piece where one day they’re a member of the public, the next day they are a fully equipped and efficient officer.

“So there is a bit of a lag around that, but it is a really positive investment for us.

“I’d much rather be in the position we find ourselves in now than where we were ten years ago,” he said.

The paths available for new recruits include the police degree apprenticeship, a three-year programme where the fully-funded recruits gain a BSc (Hons) degree, and the degree holder entry programme, where graduates are trained for just two years.