in Legal Profession

Paying to complete the Police Station Accreditation Course – a good idea?

I have to say that when I was in practise and completed the Police Station Accreditation Course I did wonder whether someone at some point would come up with the idea of charging people a fee for them to complete the Police Station Accreditation Course in full and become Police Station Accredited as part of an actual course.

Since I have been working in recruitment over the last 10 years, just occasionally I have come across a CV of someone who has gained Police Station Accreditation and I have scratched my head as to how they have got in to do that in the first place because their CV shows no legal work experience, no academic background or anything that would possibly make them stand out from a pile of hundreds of CVs when applying for a Police Station Accredited role.

The other day though I discovered that there is a company in the UK who actually charge people to do the Police Station Accreditation Course in full. The difficulty with the Police Station Accreditation Course is that you can complete the academic section yourself but you cannot complete the whole process because you need to be in a firm actually working in the Police Stations to do this.

It has been a catch 22 for a number of years and I am sure that the various legal education providers across the UK have made considerable amounts of cash out of people taking the academic stages and simply not being able to get through the practical stages.

The whole Police Station Accreditation thing has been a bit of a wheeze and a cash generator for all the people involved for many years.

A firm have started to offer to cover the whole process including the practical side for £4,500.

This gets you Police Station Accredited and in theory means that you can get a job fairly easily as a Police Station Accredited Rep.

In fact, the website of the firm in question advertises the price of the course, and also states that some Police Station Accredited Reps earn over £1,000 a week doing the work.

I would strongly advise anyone who is thinking about going down this route or into crime to read The Law Society Gazette for the past 12 months before deciding to hand over £4,500 to anybody or to start the Police Station Accredited course.

It used to be the case that there were considerable amounts of money to be made and when I went to the Police Station many years ago you got paid according to the time you spent at the police station, which to me seems very reasonable and fair because sometimes you could be there for literally hours waiting for either police officers to sort themselves out or have their tea or alternatively for them to conduct further investigation and to call you back again and again for further interviews.

That has all changed in recent times and you will now find that the maximum you can ever get paid for any length of police station is about £75.

This means that in order to earn £1,000 in a week you need to be doing over 10 separate police station attendances each week.

This may seem a fairly easy thing to do, but the reality for most people working for most firms is that they are unlikely to do ten police stations in a month let alone a week.  The government have taken one of the stages out of the whole process and set up a call centre to which all the police station calls from various police stations are sent in the first instance, with the sole aim of trying to deflect people away from getting legal advice which the government then had to pay for, and instead to having a quick chat on the phone and making the decision they go ahead in interview without a legal representative present.

Most Police Station reps are currently unemployable, there are hardly any vacancies out there for anyone to do that kind of work and the crime market itself is shrinking rapidly.  Even if you go on and qualify as a solicitor and get Duty Solicitor Status you are not likely to ever earn more than about £35,000 for the rest of your career and this is likely to drop further as further cuts come in.

Some people of course do crime for a vocation and if that is the case then the best of luck, but if you are doing it for a vocation I would probably recommend not spending £4,500 to get through what is essentially an exercise in jumping in burning hoops in order to get to the end prize of qualifying as a solicitor.

 

 

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 17 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at www.legalcareercoaching.co.uk. You can contact Jonathan at cv@ten-percent.co.uk