Our thanks to Nigel for this. He writes:
In my youth friends joined the police from working-class backgrounds, having no illusions about the sorts of people they’d be dealing with, because they’d been to school with them and lived in the same communities. It was for a couple of my friends a route to a respectable and relatively well-paid job.
Now we’re about to move yet another profession in public services being degree-only entry. As hinted at by the Police Chief one of the drivers for this is “diversity” and of course he dare not say it but basically he means to get more women in the force. And the results are clear from what has happened in other services. Things stop functioning at weekend, skeleton services “out of hours” as the service has to honour family-friendly hours and maternity leave etc. and a devolution of the hard stuff to the least qualified (in this case the PCSOs I expect).
Whenever you see paper qualifications become the vital criteria it’s usually because of the assumption that women are “disadvantaged” by their employment histories from gaining experience and so will be advantaged by basing criteria on a piece of paper (from an education system that openly favours females). The fact this reduces the effectiveness of public services in precisely the way described here seems to count for nothing. And of course it’s just one more nail in social mobility for those men and women with experience and drive but not the social capital to write good essays.
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