A European quality assurance system for police education: a challenge for CEPOL?
In international police literature there exists a long-standing debate about the role and function of police education in the professionalisation of the police. The discussion revolves around the role of police education as an engine of socialisation. Some say that police training has a limited impact on the police profession, while stating that police officers mostly learn their profession on the streets and not at the police school. Others argue that police education can be an engine of change for the police organisation. In this outline of a presentation given at the CEPOL Research and Science Conference in Budapest (5 October 2016), we stipulate that police training can play a major role in the process of the socialisation of the police profession, but to do so the police education system has to seek more alignment with the (European) higher education system. We argue, inspired by the work of Janet Chan (J. Chan, Devery and Doran, 2003), that police education should be an agent of change within the police organisation system. We believe that if the police service wants to be ‘in tune with society’ — and to be able to react to societal change — the police education system should reflect more upon the (European) regular education system. Moreover, police education has to strengthen its position and status in the European market of higher education by ensuring high quality standards. We suggest doing this by including more pedagogical research and expertise in the police education and training system guidelines and standards of the European quality assurance system. In our opinion, the key must be sought in the implementation of a European quality assurance system for police education in Europe. In this a crucial role could be provided for CEPOL as a possible European quality assurance agency for higher police education.
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