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MDX launches Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship programme

Consortium of four universities is delivering 21st century police education to three forces' recruits

Twenty-three Surrey Police recruits have started this week as Middlesex University students on the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) programme.

The Student Police Officers and subsequent cohorts, based at Surrey Police HQ at Mount Browne, Guildford, are receiving face-to-face Masterclasses, practical skills training and supported online learning headed by Middlesex University Associate Professor in Criminology and Sociology Angus Nurse and delivered by Lecturer in Policing Paul Hooks, in collaboration with Surrey Police Trainers.

Four universities with top tier police education expertise – Middlesex University, Canterbury Christ Church University, the University of Portsmouth and the University of Cumbria – have joined together as the Police Education Consortium. The consortium has a contract to deliver the PCDA with three forces – Surrey and Sussex Police Forces and Hampshire Constabulary. The universities will alternate as the providers for each new cohort. On 2 December 2019, the first cohort of 24 Student Police Officers on the consortium’s programme joined Sussex Police, as University of Portsmouth students.

Surrey Police/MDX Student Police Officers on the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship programme at their attestation with Surrey Police Chief Constable Gavin Stephens, Wednesday 8th January 2020

Chief Constable of Surrey Police, Gavin Stephens said: “We’re delighted these officers have decided to start their policing journey with us in Surrey. This week they take the first steps in a career which is both challenging and incredibly rewarding. One where every day is different and has a real impact within our communities.

“They also are our first recruits on the PCDA – an innovative new learning programme which ensures the officers of the future have the skills and knowledge required to police in modern society and recognises the existing professionalism and expertise of all our staff and officers.

”I wish them the very best of luck and look forward to seeing their progression.”

Middlesex University Lecturer in Policing Paul Hooks said: “The approach to police recruit education being undertaken by the Police Education Consortium is really exciting. The unique style of training which includes face to face teaching, remote online learning, while concurrently embracing operational learning is a first for policing. Historically, police training has had a didactic binary feel, with classroom teaching and operational learning being two very distinct elements.”

“This new approach sees police trainers, coaches, supervisors and managers working alongside university colleagues throughout the three year programme at all stages; giving the student officers a holistic learning experience with theory and practice seamlessly interwoven in their programme of education.”

“I feel really privileged to be part of what I genuinely believe is the beginning of a new era in police education.”

The PCDA takes three years and is a new entrance route to the police for non-graduates. As with traditional police entry routes, recruits will spend an initial period in the classroom lasting around 9 weeks, before beginning police duties accompanied by experienced officers who will coach them through their development. After around 30 weeks, they will obtain Independent Patrol Status allowing them to go on duty alone.

Surrey Chief Constable Gavin Stephens addresses recruits at the attestation ceremony

Degree level study is pivotal to preparing police officers to deliver policing in the 21st century. Policing has become more complex and requires an array of practical and academic skills. The investment in education made around introducing degree-level entry to the police will bring policing in line with other professions like nursing, teaching and the military.

The PCDA also addresses the fact that to date, highly-skilled officers and police staff have completed training and carried out research without externally-recognised qualifications. Degree apprenticeships are an attractive option, allowing recruits to earn and receive a qualification, while learning how to become a police officer.

Recruits allocated to each university are full students of that university, with access to their programmes of learning and support, but are taught in a police training centre, not on campus. The PCDA is one of two entry routes to the police that the Police Education Consortium will offer. It will also deliver the Police Officer – Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) with the three forces from 2020, for candidates who are graduates.

To find out more about degree apprenticeships at MDX, click here

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