College of Policing to be free for Cops for two years

POLICE officers will not have to pay to join the new College of Policing for at least two years but a subscription fee has not been ruled out in the future, its chief executive has said.

Chief constable Alex Marshall (pictured left) said the Home Office would fund the police professional body for the first two years but said no decision had been made on how it would be funded after that.

At the launch of the College of Policing in London on 4 February, Mr Marshall pointed to other professional bodies, such as the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Royal College of Nursing, noting that an element of their funding comes from their members.

He insisted that police officers “have got nothing to worry about” for the next couple of years. “Let’s get a professional body, well-designed, up and running so [officers] can see its purpose and benefits,” he said. “But in the longer term if we want true independence from government and we want to be our own professional body we will have to look at separate funding.”

Rumours had been rife that officers of all ranks would have to pay as much as £250 to join the new professional body.

But on Monday, these were dismissed by Mr Marshall – for now.

The design of the College of Policing is expected to be completed by June, he said, adding that the Police Federation, Superintendents’ Association, Special Constabulary, Unison and chief constables would all be on the design team.

When pressed to say whether or not officers would be expected to pay towards the professional body in two years’ time, Mr Marshall said: “I need to do the design to see what the funding model looks like. I don’t rule it out.”

Anyone working in policing will automatically become a member of the College of Policing but over the next few months the design team will work out how to formalise the membership system, he said.

Mr Marshall, who was previously the chief constable of Hampshire Constabulary, said the professional body will be an “everyday part of police officers’ lives”. The College of Policing will set the standard for police professional skills, make key decisions on promotion and recruitment, run leadership courses and provide information on law, procedure and best practice for officers.

Police Minister Damian Green described the launch of the College of Policing as a “historic” occasion and said it would improve professional standards and training in the service.