The last few years have seen a number of public sector employers step up to the mark and make a real bid for the best graduates through challenging and innovative training schemes like Teach First and Frontline. These have provided much needed opportunities for high achieving graduates who want a challenging career outside of the commercial sectors, and this year sees the Metropolitan Police Service follow suit with the launch of their ‘Police Now’ programme – a two year intensive leadership scheme set to add to this array of graduate options. I’ve been lucky enough to hear from Detective Chief Inspector Dave Spencer, who is working at the forefront of the Police Now initiative, and who has kindly put some time aside to answer the following questions for Working Adviser:
Many of us may be unfamiliar with this new training programme. Can you give us a brief overview of what Police Now involves and who it would suit?
Police Now is a two year leadership development programme, currently based in London, to put the brightest and best of the UK’s graduates into communities as uniformed police officers. As the officer dedicated to working in a single community for two years participants will be working to transform some of the most challenged communities in the UK and will experience things that no other graduate programme offers.
It’s not the programme for everyone but for the brightest and the best of the UK’s graduates who are looking for a 2 year opportunity to make a difference this is the graduate programme they’re looking for.
What are the main qualities you look for in Police Now applicants?
We have a range of competencies that we’re looking for. As well as being intellectually bright you also need to have absolute integrity, be able to communicate with a diverse range of people and solve complex problems. The full details of the competencies are on our website at www.policenow.org.uk
What can you tell us what applicants can expect from the recruitment process?
The selection process is incredibly challenging reflecting how much of a challenge this role will be. Stage 1 is to complete an online application form where you’ll be asked to demonstrate 3 competencies and to complete some online tests. Once you’ve got through that stage you’ll go on to our assessment centre. This is a full day in central London where you’ll be put through your paces. You’ll complete a role play, a presentation, an in tray exercise and an interview. If you make it through that you’ll be made a conditional offer (conditional on satisfactorily completing the fitness, medical, vetting and referencing requirements). We know that we need to identify the brightest and the best for this programme and the selection process is designed to do exactly that.
What would be the main differences in career experiences between someone entering Police Now and someone entering through the standard PC recruitment route?
As a participant on Police Now you’ll be working to transform a single community for 2 years. You’ll be on the frontline of that community every single day and held accountable for what happens there. Any role in policing is a challenge by the nature of the work that we do – but as a Dedicated Ward Officer this role really is as challenging as it gets. When you start you’ll go through an incredibly intensive training programme and during the two years you’ll have access to a world class leadership development programme which includes the opportunity to undertake an internship either in policing or outside.
At the end of the two years you’ll have the opportunity to make some choices about what you want to do next. You can:
- Stay in policing – perhaps remaining in your current role or moving into a specialism such as training to be a detective
- Apply for the national fast track programme to be an Inspector within 2 years
- Move on from policing as one of our Police Now Ambassadors – one of the things you’ll be able to do is to apply for the grad schemes of one of our platinum partners.
Can you tell us anything about the platinum partner organisations that Police Now is aligned to?
We’re working with a number of organisations at the moment to deliver the platinum partner programme and will be announcing the range of partners in the coming months. The full range of partners will include organisations from a real range of sectors.
Will the recruitment process by biased towards candidates who show can show a longer term commitment to working in the Met?
No. All applicants will be treated equally regardless of longer term career ambitions.
Do you know if there are any plans to bring similar schemes to other parts of the country?
We’re keen to roll Police Now out to other forces around the country and have started discussing this with other forces already.
What can we be doing, as careers advisers, to help promote Police Now as a potential career option to our clients?
Emphasise that policing really is changing – the world is incredibly complex and we need people who understand just how complex the world is becoming – what happens on the streets of West Africa and Syria has a direct impact on what happens on the streets of London. On this programme the participants will be trail-blazers who will transform a community, transform themselves through the unique experiences they’ll have and, through their work and influence, transform British policing.
A huge thank you to DCI Spencer and a reminder to those of you who work in the HE sector in particular that the applications for Police Now are open NOW. Although there isn’t currently any deadline it is expected that applications for the 50 places available in London will be closing in the next couple of weeks, so there is a real benefit to getting applications in as soon as possible: www.policenow.org.uk (The starting salary is £29k + benefits).