Police authorities and other law enforcement employers are being urged to contribute to a new, holistic approach to strategic workforce planning. Skills for Justice, the Sector Skills Council for Justice says that approach will ensure the proposed Sector Skills Management Strategy will have the best chance of achieving the radical skills overhaul that is needed.
Skills For Justice is making the call after completing a country-wide survey of the extent and quality of training provision. The survey is the second phase of the Sector Skills Agreement programme and is designed to identify ‘hot spots’ and challenges. The survey covered more than 700 organisations across all areas of the sector – the police and law enforcement, prosecution, the courts service, custodial care and community justice.
It highlights several key challenges, including lack of awareness of external training provision and over-reliance on in-house training and development. The survey found that across the UK there is extensive entry-level and probationer training but few examples of consistent and significant investment in Continuing Professional Development. A fifth of police and law enforcement employers admitted they had a lack of knowledge about the full range of training available. One key area of concern identified in the study is the lack of training in multi-agency working, although agencies in Northern Ireland and Scotland were praised for providing issue-specific training in priority areas such as managing sex offenders and child protection.
In all five strands of the sector employers cited cost as the main barrier to investment in training, as well as the disruption caused by releasing employees from the workplace.
Skills for Justice chief executive Dick Winterton said, “”Joined-up thinking is vital if we are to succeed in building a coherent strategy that will take the Justice sector forward.”