University is a privilege but not all jobs need a degree

Michael Skapinker:

“All officers ‘should have degrees’,” was the BBC headline. An adviser to the College of Policing, which sets standards for police training in England and Wales, said: “We are looking to have degree-level qualifications for constable and masters for superintendent.”

The college said that France and Spain already demanded that new-entry police officers have degrees and that inspectors have masters degrees.

The college said professions such as medicine, nursing, law and social work all required university qualifications. The high level at which police officers operated today meant UK forces needed to consider degrees too.

It is easy to understand what the college is talking about. Dealing with cross-border terrorism, cyber crime and financial fraud needs sophisticated skills. Police forces that can attract graduates will probably benefit. But the idea that every officer needs to be a graduate seems wrong-headed.