Police Now: Changing the story for young people

Monday, 05 February, 2018


Police Now, an independent policing charity established and developed four years ago by operational constables, sergeants and inspectors all working on the frontline in East London, has recruited over 400 police officers in the past three years, training and placing them in 25 different police forces. It runs a two-year development programme for these officers, which their colleagues can benefit from too, that has been described by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime as a “forward thinking, gold-standard approach to police officer training and leadership.”

The aim of the charity is to break the intergenerational cycle of crime and poverty that exists in some of the most deprived communities in England and Wales. It does this by recruiting and training diverse and outstanding graduates to be uniformed neighbourhood constables in these communities. Police Now operates alongside established entry routes into policing, but specifically targets its marketing to graduates that would never previously have thought about a career as a police officer. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick is a key supporter, recently saying: “Police Now has been an enormously successful way to bring different people into policing. The people in the places that Police Now participants are working are not just more confident in the police but more trusting of each other.”

The programme operates not only in big cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and London, but also less urban communities that also face challenges, such as Yeovil in Somerset and Sefton in Merseyside. The length, content and style of the training is specifically designed by serving frontline police officers to reflect both what policing is like and how the Service aims to be in the future.

Throughout the three-month pre-learn, six-week summer academy, one-month immersion period and two years on the beat as a neighbourhood probationer Police Now focuses on developing each individual participant officer, encouraging better partnership working within communities and generating a model whereby police officers are held accountable to the local people they serve. Over the course of the two years, participants:

  • attend skills sessions on topics such as cyber-crime, building resilience and evidence based-policing
  • complete a four-week secondment in a related organisation or a completely different sector (these have included the Home Office, Police Foundation, Centre for Social Justice, National Crime Agency and BAE Systems)
  • present every 100 days to an audience of colleagues and members of the public detailing how they have cut crime or increased confidence in the communities where they work.

Police Now is still a work in progress and the team are constantly learning and making improvements to ensure that its participants are confident, skilled and equipped not only to do their role on the street but to bring something a little bit different to their police force. Initial evaluation of the programme looks promising with a 17% increase in young people’s confidence in the police in communities with a neighbourhood police officer recruited and trained by Police Now. That is 14% higher than young people in communities without one.[1] The first cohort of Police Now participants, who joined the programme in 2015, finished the programme last summer. Whilst some have chosen to move on after their two years in policing, taking roles in politics, education and consulting to name a few, most have chosen to stay, either in their neighbourhood policing roles, or in other policing teams.

Commenting on the participants’ next steps, Police Now Programme Director Kurtis Christoforides said: “For all that it’s a popular topic on TV and in the media, policing isn’t always as well understood by wider society as one might wish. There is genuine value in officers taking their knowledge and experience of frontline policing outside their police force and into other sectors and industries. This approach is well aligned with current work to develop more flexible entry and exit routes to the police service.

“Many of the Police Now participants however choose to stay in policing because they enjoy the role, have made lasting bonds with their colleagues and realise what a positive impact police officers can have on people’s lives – and that’s absolutely great as well.”

For further information about Police Now visit www.PoliceNow.org.uk or contact hello@policenow.org.uk if you are interested in attending the next event.

[1] https://www.policenow.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/#impact-report

Return to news menu