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Direct entry superintendent on service, training and taking command of local policing


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Police Oracle spoke to recruit at the beginning and end of her training.

Supt Emily Vernon

Supt Emily Vernon


Eighteen months ago Police Oracle spoke to Superintendent Emily Vernon as she began her career as a police officer.

Last week, as she and six others graduated from the direct entry scheme, Supt Vernon said she is “still as motivated and excited” as when she last spoke to us.

In November 2016 she was soon to start her PC rotation – an experience which saw her make 27 arrests in 14 weeks.

Her assessor during that period was PC Alex Prentice, who was at her graduation event.

He told Police Oracle: “Assessment-wise it was no different it was no different to having a normal PC.

“The assessment criteria was identical but we had to do a lot more of it and try and cram five or six years’-worth of policing into the 14 weeks that we had so we were very busy. But we didn’t miss anything out, there weren’t any shortcuts.”

Similar processes are in place throughout the course at higher ranks, in addition to completing academic work.

Supt Vernon, whose previous career took in staff roles at the National Crime Squad, Cambridgeshire Constabulary, the Home Office and College of Policing, said: “The area of policing I used to work in was very niche so that didn’t equip me for going to fights on a Friday night.

“Some of the things that have really surprised me is the breadth of work that we have to get involved in: mental health, vulnerability all those sort of things. Whereas, particularly at the crime squad, I worked at a very high level – serious and organised crime – that’s just a very very small part of what we have to do, day in day out.”

She previously told Police Oracle that she thought one of the advantages of direct entry was the short amount of time between doing the duties of a PC and a superintendent. Did it work out that way?

“One of the great benefits I’ve had is I’m able to sit in the strategic meetings and really give an up-to-date reality of what it’s really like. I think we’re all guilty when working at a senior level of coming up with ideas and suggestions that might not actually work at the front line and I try and bring some of that and I try to challenge.”

She added that a chief officer has told her he appreciated this approach.

Now that her training is finished, Supt Vernon is to take over as head of local policing in the force, a command she has worked in for almost a year.

“The whole point about direct entry is about looking at things from a new perspective, with fresh ideas, with a different lens I guess, but equally I’ve got big boots to fill and I’m grateful for the opportunity,” she said.

“I’ve never looked at it as brining anything better to the service, it’s about bringing something different. [I’ve got] big shoes to fill but I’m really looking forward to the challenge, I’m still as motivated and excited as when I spoke to you 18 months ago.”

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It was promised that direct entrants were being recruited for specialist roles to use their previous expertise.

This candidate, whilst seemingly better equipped than some, is now head of local policing?!? Because she completed her tutor period?!?

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I find it worrying that these days high ranking officers are still "suprised about the about of mental health and vulnerability we get involved in".

Where have they been for the last XX amount of years!?

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Her posting is Akin to aspiring MP’s I.e placing them in “safe seats.”

I did chuckle about the comments made regarding giving the chiefs an up to date reality of frontline.

Having said all that I don’t mind the DE super scheme. I think it’s has more merits than faults. Unlike the DE inspector ranks.

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I am so glad that I have retired and I feel sorry for those now serving.

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Prior to joining the police 10 years ago I had worked in various places in the private sector including large corporations at lower management  where everything was driven towards efficiency. Everything (processes, tools, policies, organisation, people etc) was reviewed to achieve efficiency.

When I joined I felt that the police was at least 20 years behind. Many things just don't work but we just shrug our shoulders and carry on doing it for years because "that's how we've always done it".  No-one can see the need for change and no-one is willing to change. 

Fast forward 10 years having met many "bosses" at various levels still feel that we are 20 years behind. 

I keep an open mind but I can see that I do things that are clearly pointless. They don't benefit victims,  the community of even the offenders. They're just there to satisfy our own processes without any purpose.

When we finally take 1 step forward and improve something then we take 2 steps back somewhere else

We would benefit from having the right people from the private sector who could look at what we do with a fresh pair of eyes and new ideas. May be not for operational stuff but at that level there's less of it.

I know what people say "but they don't know anything about policing!". Yes it's true but trust me we the police  have a lot to learn from other organisations. I think it would be better if they come from the private sector though as I found out by talking to friends that they seem to have the same problems in the NHS,  councils, army etc

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Efficiency, do not forget that we a fettered by Laws, Regulations, and Legal procedure  which we have to obey and follow to the letter of the Law. Those who make the laws are so good at doing it that we have law books full of stated cases where Judges have had to decide what the Law means. The inefficiency starts with the Legislators. The next inefficiency comes from Command, followed by the PSD's.

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. I think it would be better if they come from the private sector though as I found out by talking to friends that they seem to have the same problems in the NHS,  councils, army etc


I did ‘like’ your post and I stand by that. But the only point that I would challenge is that there is something unique within some (but not all) police forces that the disciplined culture doesn’t lend itself to Officers below a certain rank being listened to or otherwise being empowered to make change happen.


Councils and the NHS are enlightened in that regard. Perhaps not much more enlightened but the police service isn’t as dynamic in that respect.

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