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BSc Professional Policing: An interview with Jennifer Schmidt-Petersen

Our new BSc Professional Policing course is a three-year undergraduate course created to help students gain their first steps into a policing career. Designed to meet the requirements of the College of Policing National Curriculum, it will allow students to study and prepare for their careers before they join the force. We caught up with Programme & Student Lead Jennifer Schmidt-Petersen who served as a police constable on the front line to tell us more about her background, the benefits of the course and the modules on offer.

By Cara Fielder. Published 27 April 2020. Last updated 17 November 2022.

I completed a BSC combined honours in Psychology with Criminology and then specialised by completing two Masters Degrees, one in Forensic Psychology and the other one  in Investigative Psychology - the internationally renowned science that developed out of early ‘offender profiling’.

I studied psychology and criminology because I am interested in the processes that lead up to crime. I remember thinking as a student that no one wakes up one morning and decides to shoot 10 people without there having been a process that led up to it. I have also always had an interest in policing so when I was in my early thirties I decided to join the police. As a police constable I worked on both emergency response and safer neighbourhood teams in North London

The ULaw BSc Professional Policing is aimed at students who have an interest in policing and, are considering a career in policing.. Unlike a purely academic policing degree, this degree provides students with a healthy blend of vocational and academic knowledge and skills. The degree can also be used to apply to a police service as well as a foundation for further study. This means it provides you with a range of options with regard to your future career path.

What drew me to policing was that it is such a varied and interesting role that involves so many different tasks. No day is the same. So during emergency response, you will respond to calls and requests from the public and other emergency services asking for assistance. You could be called to a domestic incident, a theft, a burglary, a stabbing, a neighbour dispute or a serious crime. You may have to investigate the case of a missing person, take a witness statement or investigate a sudden death. Policing involves a number of practical as well as interpersonal skills such as developing rapport, diffusing volatile situations, being impartial and working in partnership with others.

I hope that what will appeal to the next generation of police officers is not only the prospect of an exciting and interesting job that aims to preserve life and reduce crime, but also being part of the transformation that is happening in policing at the moment.

As the degree is one of the new entry routes, a lot of our students plan to apply to join the police as a probationary constable following successful completion; but they also know that should they change their mind, the degree provides a safety net, as it opens the door to a number of career opportunities.

The ULaw BSc in Professional Policing provides a range of transferable skills and also serves as a sound foundation for a specialist Master’s degree in related areas of policing, criminology, criminal justice, security and many more.

In addition to learning and preparing for an exciting and varied career, there are a number of perks when it comes to studying the BSc Professional Policing at ULaw. These include:

  • Use of realistic scenarios and a crime scene suite
  • Varied and interesting content
  • Guest speakers and events
  • Interesting and relevant optional modules in Year 2
  • Practical focus with employability integrated into the course
  • Being taught by experts in the relevant fields who will support you and want you to succeed

The BSc in Professional Policing incorporates the national curriculum for the police constable role.

As we are licensed by the College of Policing to deliver the pre-join degree, the BSc in Professional Policing is recognised by the police as part of one of the entry routes for the role of police constable.

Within five years of their graduation date our students can apply to a police force. Application and recruitment to a police force are separate and independent from the study on the degree and students need to make sure that they meet all of the recruitment criteria for the police service if they want to use their degree to join.

If you study the DHEP (Degree Holder Entry Programme) or the PCDA (Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship) you will be a police officer from your first day on the job and you will have to balance your learning with operational demands. For the DHEP you will also need to already have a degree. 

However, through the BSc Professional Policing you get to focus on your studies first. This means that you get a thorough and in depth understanding of policing and related areas as well as having time to build and consolidate your knowledge and skills.

Our degree is knowledge-based so that you will develop an in-depth understanding of policing and key principles of other relevant areas such as criminology, terrorism and psychology.

This means that you will be given the knowledge to tap into the potential for meaningful change and to make a significant difference to policing for the next generation of police officers.

We want policing to be accessible for people from all backgrounds and demographics and we want our students to be part of the change and transformation that is happening in policing and to help make it more representative while bringing it into the 21st century. 

During the BSc Professional Policing you will develop a thorough knowledge of policing before you get exposed to the dangers and stresses of the job. You not only have more time to develop and practise your skills and knowledge but also you will be making an investment in your education with a degree that will serve you whether you end up choosing a career in policing or in another area.

You will be taught by experts from a variety of academic and operational backgrounds including ex-police officers, solicitors and criminologists.

The biggest piece of advice that I would give students considering this course is that no matter what your background is you can achieve your goals if you work hard. 


Discover more about studying policing at The University of Law.