I’ve continued my summer visits to potential employers with a trip to New Scotland Yard for a briefing on the new graduate entry scheme for the Metropolitan Police. It’s called Police Now and is launching at the beginning of October aiming to recruit 50 trainees to start in Summer 2015. It’s so new that the website isn’t live yet but it will be here: http://www.policenow.org.uk/.
So what’s different from the old grad schemes?
The Met reckons that policing as a career is not on the radar of many graduates and hope their new scheme is going to change that. Police Now is a two year grad programme modelled on the fantastically successful Teach First. You’ll sign up for the two years with no expectation that you’ll remain at the end of that period. That’s certainly different and on the face of it sounds a bit odd. Why would the police want to train you and then let you go? The answer lies in part in some of the scandals which have beset the police over the last few years. Hillsborough and Plebgate are just two which spring to mind! The police force needs to change but it also needs genuine supporters in high places. The hope is that if you join the scheme you will be part of bringing change about. If you chose to walk away at the end of two years and embark on another successful career the Met hope that you will continue to be an enthusiastic advocate for them in the wider world of business.
What would you be doing?
Entrants will go off for a six week period of intensive training after which they will become warranted police officers with full powers of arrest and will be appointed a Ward Officer in a tough area in London. Ward Officers are responsible for around 25 streets and work closely with residents. This is a challenging front line role and I’m told you’ll be investigating wrong doing, actively problem solving thorny (and often long running) issues, managing risk, safeguarding the vulnerable and ensuring that your community has access to justice. You’ll be working in teams where your managers are fully committed to and enthusiastic about the Police First initiative.
What is the Met looking for in candidates?
The Met say that this is a unique opportunity for the brightest and best graduates and they are looking to recruit those who’d never have considered the police. So what do they want in their recruits? There are seven key competencies:
1. A vocation to “serve” and to “help” and an ability to build effective relationships.
2. Strong self-management powers. You’ll need bags of persistence and resilience.
3. An ability to solve problems innovatively. You’ll be asked to seize responsibility and take difficult decisions to develop evidence based solutions to community problems and you’ll be using your considerable brain power to do so!
4.Excellent developed powers of communication and persuasion. You’d have to be able to communicate messages clearly and interact effectively with your community. You will genuinely meet (and need to work with) people from all sections of society.
5. You’ll have to build relationships with key stakeholders. Their “buy in” and support will be invaluable when you have to negotiate to broker support for plans you are trying to implement.
6. Leadership skills will be a must. You’ll have to have honed these already through your work experience and/or involvement with societies on campus or through experience you have already had in the wider community.
7. The ability to deliver!
You’ll also have to be able to pass a medical and fitness test, have a 2.1 degree and a minimum of 300 UCAS points, have an unlimited right to remain in the UK and no tattoos which are normally visible.
What’s in it for you?
1. Responsibility from the start. As soon as your six week period of initial training I’m told you’ll be leading a community.
2. Challenge. It sounds to me as if you’ll be challenged in every way! I am sure that you’d grow as an individual as well as developing fantastic transferable job skills.
3. The opportunity to make a difference. You’ll make a difference to policing, the image of the police force and you’ll be giving something back to the community.
4. I think you will develop skills which will be really useful in the wider graduate market place and which you will differentiate you from others.
The Met says it is negotiating with a number of organisations which it expects will become partners of the scheme. These are likely to range from accountancy and law firms through to the Civil Service and the existing fast track graduate scheme for the police. There’s a plan to allow you to do internships with some of these partners in the second year of the scheme, (much as Teach First offers internships). The expectation is that the partners won’t only support the scheme financially, they’ll also look to recruit from it.
This is an interesting offering and it is different. It’s starting small looking to recruit 50 grads this year and expand from there. Do come to see me if you’d like to talk about if further.