Should reservations be based on educational qualifications

Baden-Württemberg Court of Auditors

1 starting position

Until 1992, Baden-Württemberg only hired police officers in the middle-class as police chief candidates. These were able - and still can today - to advance to the highest management positions with professional qualifications over two career group changes. Since 1993 there has also been direct entry into the higher service as a police commissioner candidate. This option is aimed specifically at high school graduates.

Accordingly, police training today is based on two pillars. The police chief candidates are trained in a practice-oriented manner over a period of two and a half years. The police commissioner candidates go through a three-year bachelor's degree, which is preceded by a nine-month preliminary training. Those who started in the middle service can advance to the higher service over two and a half years of study. This advancement course corresponds to the bachelor's degree for police commissioner candidates reduced by the six-month basic internship.

Currently, two thirds of the candidates are hired for the middle and one third for the higher police service. This contrasts with a job structure that shows 60 percent jobs in the higher service.

2 exam results

2.1 Profile of Police Candidates

For the last time in 2007, predominantly applicants with an intermediate level of maturity were recruited for the intermediate law enforcement service. In the past ten years, up to 85 percent of all applicants in a given year had a high school diploma or a comparable school leaving certificate. However, during this period, only a good quarter of the candidates were hired into the higher service, for which the Abitur is a requirement for employment. Many high school graduates are hired as police chiefs, although an intermediate level of education is sufficient for this career.

There are two main reasons for this. Some high school graduates are denied direct entry because they have not achieved the average grade of at least 3.0 required by the police. These applicants can only begin their police careers in the intermediate service, although they meet the educational requirements for the upper service.

Above all, however, changes in the job structure have not had an impact on the recruitment ratio between aspirants for middle and senior service. In the past few years, the proportion of senior service in the police force has increased significantly. However, the job increases made for this purpose from the middle service to the higher service were used for development opportunities for the existing staff and not to hire more candidates for police commissioners. The middle service continues to predominate among the candidate positions.

2.2 Profile of the Promotion Officer

Police officers who want to move up from the middle to the higher service by studying at the University of Police Baden-Württemberg need a university entrance qualification. Our examination showed that those police officers who had already been hired with a high school diploma strived for advancement much faster than others. The majority of them only did active police service for an average of two and a half years before they began their second training.

The total duration of the training for the middle and the upper service is at least for these "fast climbers" in no relation to the active service time that they completed between the training. Since police officers are generally first deployed in a riot police force, the regional police headquarters are likely to benefit only to a small extent from this group of people.

2.3 Cost of police training

The following costs arise for the various training courses:

In relation to a year of training, promotion officers cause almost twice as high costs as direct entrants to the higher service. The personnel costs are decisive for this. While direct entrants only receive candidate salaries, promotion officials complete their studies with continued payment of the full salary, not infrequently even with the status of a police chief.

Accordingly, the cost of promotion varies depending on the civil servant's rank. The profitability, on the other hand, is also measured by the number of years of service in middle service. This can be seen in the following cost comparison of typical career paths for promotion officials with direct entrants:

Overall, promotion officers are “in training” much longer than direct entrants into the higher-level service. A career above middle service ties police officers an additional 15 months. The differences in training costs become even clearer: Promotion officers cause an average of more than 100,000 euros more training costs per personnel case than direct entrants.

It is inefficient to employ large numbers of applicants with a high school diploma in the middle service with the aim of later advancing them to the higher service by studying at the Baden-Württemberg Police University.

The analysis of the careers of promotion officers shows that promotion after only a few years of service is uneconomical. It is true that late rising police chiefs are the most expensive when compared to the pure training costs. However, an economic feasibility study must also take into account the length of service in middle service. The cost disadvantage of the late risers is increasingly outweighed by the number of years of full practical service.

If the active years of service in the middle service are set in relation to the total training costs, this results in training costs of 37,225 euros per year of service for those who have been in the middle service for a longer period of time. For the police superintendent, who already rose after a short period of service, the training costs are more than twice as high at 79,053 euros per year of service.

The minimum length of stay in the middle service stipulated in the Police Career Ordinance is decisive for the ratio of active service time to training time. It is currently five years, but includes the training period for the middle service. According to this, only two and a half years of active service must have been performed before admission to advanced studies is possible. This is uneconomical compared to direct entry.

2.3.1 Study of Police Commissioner Candidates

A comparison shows that all countries train direct entrants to the higher service in a three-year bachelor's degree. Only Baden-Württemberg includes a nine-month pre-study course before the course. This serves to minimize the inequality in terms of job-specific knowledge between promotion officers and direct entrants who have previously studied together. The pre-training is therefore also necessary due to the linking of the courses that has been practiced up to now. The lack of empirical knowledge of direct entrants is to be largely compensated for through special training at the Institute for Education and Training as well as independent self-study. This resulted in training costs of EUR 6.1 million in 2016, and EUR 7.7 million in 2017 due to the increased number of hires.

Even if the preliminary training can be helpful for young police officers, the question arises whether it is necessary for a successful degree. The Court of Auditors considers it possible, if the courses for promotion officers and direct entrants are decoupled, to integrate the topics of the pre-education into the bachelor’s degree following the example of other countries and to make the police commissioner candidates available for active duty nine months earlier.

2.3.2 Study of the promotion officers

The duration of the degree of the promotion officer is as follows in a country comparison:

The majority of countries allow 24 months or 18 months for advancement studies. If Baden-Württemberg were to follow these examples and streamline the course by up to twelve months, the training costs for 200 civil servants could be reduced by up to 11.5 million euros per year. At the same time, this measure could help to increase the police presence in the “on site” agencies.

The number of places available at the Police College is also decisive for the number of promotion officers. In view of the high need for recruitment due to the high number of retirees and the growth in jobs, many candidates for police commissioners are currently being trained there. Only 200 places are currently reserved for promotion officials. There are more than 4,000 civil servants who are potential candidates for promotion because of their educational qualifications. If the training is streamlined, more people from this group could participate in the available study places.

2.3.3 Selection examination by a police doctor

All applicants who have passed the selection test for the middle or high-level police enforcement service are presented to the police medical service to assess their fitness for duty. For example, a total of 1,846 applicants were examined by the police for two of the three appointments in 2017. Of these, 1,527 applicants were fit for the police force. Ultimately, however, only 1,009 applicants were hired. For these two recruitment appointments alone, the police medical service examined 518 applicants fit for police service more than could be recruited.

3 recommendations

3.1 Hire police officers based on needs and suitability

The recruitment ratio between candidates for the middle and higher service should be more closely aligned with the job structure in the police force, while maintaining adequate prospects for advancement. There, the positions of the higher service predominate.

Applicants for the law enforcement service should always be recruited appropriately. Then applicants with an outstanding test result could be hired directly into the higher service, regardless of their average grade in the Abitur, and would not have to take the detour via the intermediate service.

A police medical selection examination should only be arranged for those applicants who have a realistic chance of being hired due to the test value they have achieved.

3.2 Qualify police commissioner candidates faster

The preliminary training for the police commissioner candidates should be dispensed with in the future. The essential training content could be integrated into the bachelor's degree.

3.3 Streamline the degree of promotion officials

The study of the promotion officers should be decoupled from that of the police commissioner candidates. At the same time, the time required for the training course should be significantly reduced. A tightening of up to two semesters would be conceivable.

In accordance with the concept of performance, only particularly well-proven police officers should be promoted to the higher service. Candidates for promotion should be able to demonstrate above-average performance in at least two successive assessment cycles. This would take into account not only the performance concept but also the profitability concept.

4 Ministry's Opinion

In its statement, the Ministry of the Interior makes it clear that it is already firmly planning to address some of the Court of Auditors' recommendations within the recruitment campaign project. However, it points out that the realization of the recruitment offensive is the primary goal in terms of time and that police training is already facing major challenges.

The Ministry is specifically striving, taking into account the capacities of the Police College, to increase the proportion of police commissioner candidates in the new hires. The recommendations of the Court of Auditors on pre-training for police commissioner trainees and on shortening the advancement studies should also be taken up. However, the current situation makes it necessary to stick to tried and tested structures and processes for the time being. This applies, for example, to the current investigation practice of the police medical service.

5 Conclusion

From the point of view of the Court of Auditors, the proposed measures should be implemented as quickly as possible. This applies in particular to those measures that lead to faster qualification. This could help to meet the challenges of the recruitment offensive.