Sunday, June 5, 2011

Victoria Police teaching standards labelled 'backward'

New police recruits are being taught by instructors with no practical on-the-job experience. Victoria Police has employed 13 unsworn educators - who have never been officers - to help train the additional 1700 cops promised by the State Government by November 2014. A further 11 are ex-police staff, including a ballet dancer with no legal qualifications, who is teaching law.

It is the first time non-sworn officers are being used to teach the next generation of cops. A maths and biology teacher, who has never been an officer, has also been employed. At least five recruits have complained about an unsworn educator not being fit to teach and sworn staff members have also made official objections, it was confirmed.

And now the unprecedented decision has been labelled "backward" and "wrong on every level" by the police union. It has complained to Chief Commissioner Simon Overland, saying the move is "offensive", "diminishes the profession" and will "inevitably lower standards".

"Academy instructors with no practical policing experience cannot possibly prepare our police recruits to be effective police professionals. The mere suggestion is offensive to police officers," Police Association assistant secretary Bruce McKenzie said.

"The legal, medical and other professions involve experienced practitioners teaching their new and inexperienced members. "Policing is no different and to do otherwise will inevitably see a lowering of the standards of future police practitioners. It also seriously diminishes our profession."

Recruits spend 33 weeks training at the Glen Waverley academy.

Victoria Police has denied it is a cost-cutting measure but conceded "unsworn members are paid less than sworn members". It also rejected allegations that unsworn educators had been unable to answer questions from recruits, but admitted sworn teachers are sitting in on classes led by unsworn instructors.


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