Twenty-nine year old Geordie Logan was among the first cohort of Middlesex University apprentice police officers to take the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) programme at Surrey Police, graduating last year.
Growing up in London and previously employed in the leisure industry where he worked his way up to general management, Geordie "always wanted to do something in public service" he says. He originally joined the police as a civilian in 2018, working in the control room and as a special constable. His first officer role after his probationary period was a frontline police response officer. He has now moved to being a Neighbourhood Specialist Officer (NSO), covering the same geographical patch where he was based in the leisure sector.
The apprenticeship was "very, very hard work. Definitely not something for the faint-hearted," Geordie says. As the first cohort, he and his fellow recruits were guinea pigs. "A lot of stuff we were bringing up has shaped the PCDA for Surrey," he says, resulting in major changes to the programme’s content and approach.
Apprentice officers are thrown into day to day policing no less quickly than those on other routes, following an initial 15 week training phase. “You then start doing what you've been trained to do, working in that operational environment with wider learning outside it".
Geordie adds that along with a transferable qualification, the apprenticeship has other unique features. "It opens your eyes quite dramatically about aspects of policing – understanding how forces do things very differently to each other and the reason behind it. If you’re interested in the emergency services, it gives you an understanding of the theory of policing that maybe traditional routes wouldn't".
Policing as a profession "is a world like no other: if you become a police officer it changes day to day". Geordie speaks with particular pride about the community-focused policing he is doing now. "We're looking to wider problems and how to solve them. Areas of high priority include burglary and drug dealing. We help the community not suffer from these kinds of issues.
"As a Neighbourhood Specialist Officer, you work with partners such as housing associations, the council and the Anti-Social Behaviour team. I’m very honest and open - when I’m asked something, I won’t beat around the bush. If there’s something we can’t do, we can get others to take it on.
"It massively gives me satisfaction. As an NSO, I can see issues from 'cradle to grave'.
“You can get satisfaction from Meet the Beat – you see public confidence face to face, day to day”.
After all the challenges, Geordie says he is "happy with the result" of his apprenticeship journey.
"I took the jump and haven’t looked back since. This is me for the next 35 years".
Find out more about studying for a degree apprenticeship at Middlesex University.