When I had my initial interview to become a police officer a hundred years ago, I came before the Chief Constable of Gloucestershire E.C.B (Chalky) Blake-White. He glared somewhat sourly at my skinny frame and scowled at me over his glasses.
‘What are the necessary attributes of a police officer, Mr Lemon?’ Was his first question and I pondered my answer.
‘He must be strong. He must be fit. He must have common sense. He must be honest.’ I ventured and his eyes lit up. He went through a fairly rigorous questioning after that but at the end of the interview informed me that I would be accepted and all on the back of one answer.
‘If you hadn’t mentioned honesty, you would not have passed your interview.’ He informed me gravely and I have always remembered that.
Now I read that the main criterion for the modern copper is to have a university degree and my heart shudders. No wonder British police forces are in such a mess. How on earth does a three year extension of a young person’s schooldays befit that person for a police career?
Thankfully the Chief Constable of Lincolnshire is challenging whichever body of faceless desk-jockeys it was that issued this fatuous ruling. He is taking the matter to Court which is a pretty serious step, even for the Chief Constable. It will cost Lincolnshire police a cool £10 000 but it has to be worth it, if only to bring some sanity back to what was once a noble profession.
At the same time, it seems that universities have gone slightly bonkers with their awarding of first class degrees. Since 2010 the proportion of such degrees has risen by 80%. Yes, you read that correctly – eighty ruddy percent! Bristol University figures for such degrees have risen by 92% in that time and Cambridge University a cool 94%. That surely is not possible?
I just do not believe that people have suddenly become so much more intelligent and in fact, the education secretary, Damien Hinds has been forced to issue a stark warning to universities that common sense must be brought to bear.
Common sense? In 2019? No I’m afraid common sense in government or government sponsored institutions – any large institutions damnit! – went out of the window a long time ago.
I served in two very different police forces over the years and was proud to have done so, but I feel that this desperate need to have paper qualifications for recruits will lead to a general dumbing down of standards and a nice easy time for the criminal fraternity.
That surely can’t be good for the general public, but today the sun is shining – even on Dartmoor – the cricket World Cup Final is being played at Lords (I picked New Zealand to win from the start Mr Hill!) and there is what should be a fantastic men’s’ final at Wimbledon, so I will rant no further.
Till tomorrow at any rate!