Over at Gadget's place, his latest post (probably one of the last typed on his Sinclair Spectrum, until his new public sponsored computer gets delivered!) drew attention to comments made by Tom Winsor about the poor literary and grammatical skills of police officers. There were the usual hundreds of comments in response, many of which give concurring examples of what Mr Winsor was referring to after chatting to his barrister chums, so what can one conclude from this?
I worked alongside an officer who was so bad at spelling that I doubted he could get his name right without first checking his warrant card. He had GCE O and A levels coming out of his ears. I asked him how he managed such great exam results. His reply was simple, "At school they weren't bothered about the spelling, as long as the meaning was there". He made DCI eventually. At another station I worked alongside a Pc who had a doctorate, a former Royal Navy submariner officer who could have probably made it as a concert pianist and, in my firearms team days, former SAS troopers, paramedics, schoolteachers and bank clerks who had formed into a formidable team that were truly awe inspiring. I once received details of a Met Pc's initial written statement made after he had been involved in a police vehicle accident. It read, "The black fella stepped out in front of me. I hit the brakes. Skidded. Bosh". That was it. Not a whole lot of information there. Yet someone had passed that as suitable to be presented as evidence. I've also worked on the shop floor of a major supermarket where the workforce consisted of a similarly varied cross section of society, with intellects ranging from doctorate to Cro-Magnon . I have worked for a self made millionaire who could not write a single sentence that made sense - and as for spelling, wotz that?
I heard that the C/I who replaced me when I retired had two probationary officers posted to the division whose English grammar and spelling was so bad that he paid for evening classes for them, out of the divisional budget! Lucky them. In my day the C/I would have had a friendly chat and `let them go`, except in the 1970's we called it getting the sack, in fact I doubt they'd have been accepted in the first place and if they were, the recruiting officer would have been disciplined.
What do Winsor's comments prove? That anyone can get in? That there are no common minimum requirements? That the common minimum requirements are too low or that no one is bothering to uphold them? That the suitable gene/recruit pool is shrinking or the content is corrupted with mutations? I don't think the police are alone in this, yet Winsor (shouldn't there be a `d` in Win sor?) would have us think otherwise.
(Please ignore any typo's, spelling, grammaticals etc)