Policing Vision 2025 sets out the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and National Police Chief’s Council long-term professional development strategy for policing until 2025. Along with Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledging to recruit an additional 20,000 officers to help meet the increasing demands on our police service, it also requires policing in England and Wales to become a graduate profession. This means that all officers will need to be educated to degree level by 2020.
By Cara Fielder. Published 22 November 2019. Last updated 25 November 2021.
Policing is a challenging yet rewarding career that requires a high level of responsibility and ethics. With this, the role of police officers has significantly shifted from what it was 30 years ago and this is due to a dramatic change in criminal behaviour. The modern day police officer is challenged by complex and diverse communities where cyber-crime and human trafficking present on a daily basis. The current recruit training programme was designed before these crimes became commonplace, leading to a need for modernisation.
Samantha Kelley, Ulaw Policing Lecturer and former Superintendent of Humberside and latterly West Yorkshire Police with 30 years’ experience said “The change to the way in which the police are recruiting future officers responds to a real shift in modern day crime and the type of skills that future officers will need to tackle these challenges. Globalisation, advancements in technology and changes in society have meant that crime has become far more sophisticated and complex and is no longer contained to identifiable geographies within the UK. Local communities have also changed, requiring much greater cultural awareness and sensitivity. ULaw’s degree offers a true blend of both theory and practical application that will provide our graduates with an exceptional foundation for a career in the police.”
The police service now requires officers to take a sophisticated and informed approach to problems of the 21st century and this requires a fundamental shift in the way that they are trained. This strategy will support officers and allow them to get recognition for the complexity of their job.
There will be three entry paths to policing and these will be via:
Apprenticeship – You can join as a constable, and follow an apprenticeship in professional policing practice. This usually takes three years and when you successfully finish the programme, you will complete your probation and achieve a degree.
Degree-holder entry – If you already have a degree (in any subject), you can join the force and follow a work-based programme, supported by off-the-job learning. This takes approximately two years, and you will receive a graduate diploma in professional policing after completing your probation.
Pre-join degree – This is where we come in. You can carry out a three year degree in professional policing and then apply to a force and follow a shorter on-the-job training programme.
We have responded to these changes by the launching a new degree in Professional Policing, which has been licensed by the College of Policing.
The advantage of the pre-join degree in Professional Policing is that it allows students to do their studies first before applying to a police force. This means they will not be a Police Officer from day one but will be able to fully dedicate themselves to their studies first rather than having to manage the workload and demands of being a police officer at the same time.
The pre-join degree will ensure that students have the relevant knowledge before applying to a police force and, upon successfull recruitment into a police force, they will then undergo further practical training.
Both the Apprenticeship and the Pre-join degree take the same amount of time at 3 years. While the Pre-join degree is designed for students who wish to become a Police Constable, it also provides a foundation for further postgraduate study in a relevant area like Criminology as well as careers in the wider Security and Criminal Justice Sector. Our Employability Unit will support students in exploring those options as well as relevant work experience and voluntary work.
Matthew Tomlinson, Dean of the University’s Leeds Campus, said “This promises to be a very exciting programme and is an excellent fit with our existing legal courses and excellence in providing professional legal training.”
Our degree programme will be delivered by a multidisciplinary team, including former officers who have held senior rank within the police service and who represent a range of experience and expertise. The course will be delivered in a very practical way and is designed to build decision making and critical thinking skills from day one. The syllabus offers extensive coverage of different crime types and different areas of policing. We also allow students the ability to choose from a range of optional modules including criminal and forensic psychology. This allows students who are certain of their career path to specialise from an early stage of their legal studies.