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University consortium win three-force apprenticeship contract

Surry, Sussex and Hampshire Constabulary trainees will be taught at police training centres not on campus
Published - 11/03/2020 By - Gary Mason

Four universities have joined together as the Police Education Consortium to deliver degree apprenticeship training to three forces.

The consortium have won a contract to provide the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) programme to Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire Constabulary. The universities will alternate as the providers for each new cohort of PCDA students.

The four consortium members are Middlesex University, Canterbury Christ Church University, the University of Portsmouth and the University of Cumbria.

University of Cumbria’s first student police officers, who started on Monday (9 March), are based with Surrey Police and they are part of a wider scheme that will educate more than 1,000 new recruits over the next three years.

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.

University of Cumbria senior lecturer in police apprenticeships Stephen Wright, himself a retired police officer, said: “This is a new era for police education and training. This approach to developing officers being undertaken by the Police Education Consortium and force partners is innovative.

“Police trainers, coaches, supervisors and managers from our three partner forces –are working alongside university colleagues throughout the three-year programme and at all stages. Students will receive a learning experience which combines theory with the practice of being a serving front-line officer.”

Gary Slater, Principal Lecturer in Policing and Criminology within the university’s Institute of Business, Industry and Leadership, is a retired Cumbria Constabulary superintendent having served with the force for 30 years.

He said: “These innovative programmes sit well alongside our own undergraduate pre-join Professional Policing degree that is licenced by the College of Policing and which we run at our campuses in Carlisle, Lancaster and London.”

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 nine 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.

By mid-October, University of Cumbria will have 201 PCDA and DHEP students across the forces of Surrey and Sussex.

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