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In the Midlands, a new approach to training police recruits is seeing Staffordshire, West Mercia and Warwickshire, and West Midlands forces, working with Staffordshire University. The uni will co-deliver a new three-year training programme, which will see student officers graduate with a degree in Professional Policing Practice. Those who join a force having already completed a degree will be enrolled on a two-year programme that converts their previous study into practical police training, achieving a graduate diploma in policing.
By 2020 all forces across the country are due to adopt a similar programme which sees officers’ training formally recognised as a qualification, for the first time. Police say the student programme is following a similar pattern to nursing and other public service careers, where new recruits will learn the job as a student, blending their practical learning with formal study.
For eligibility criteria, what the course will involve, details about the application process and what life’s like at WMP visit the careers site jobs.west-midlands.police.uk.
Chief Constable Dave Thompson at West Midlands says: “Modernising entry into the police service is a subject that has been talked about for some time, but 2019 is the year that this truly comes into effect, with new candidates being given the opportunity to join West Midlands Police, while studying for a policing degree,” he said.
“It’s a huge step forward and is a massive change for policing. How we police our region is changing. We don’t simply react and respond to emergencies any more. Our work is far greater and we work closer with partners in other emergency services, councils, social services and health professionals than we ever have before.
“Our officers are skilled and have a huge amount to offer as a result of the experience and training they complete over the course of their careers, but now they will have a degree to reflect that.”
The degree will be fully funded, with a force able to reclaim costs through the national apprenticeship levy. Student officers will join the programme and earn from £21,000 as a student officer, or £22,000 as a graduate recruit, while they learn their trade.
Staffordshire won a multi-million pound contract to train thousands of recruits over six years. Training for the first intake is due to start in summer 2019.
Prof Ieuan Ellis, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Partnerships and Region at Staffordshire University, said: “The student officers will earn as they learn and have the flexibility to manage the demands of front-line policing alongside the challenges of undertaking degree level study. It also means that students who may have been concerned about the costs of a university education have a route to gain academic skills and on-the-job experience. This partnership acts as a clear demonstration of our role as a civic university, serving the needs of our region and improving quality of life locally, regionally and nationally.”
The first group of recruits to go through the programme will join West Midlands in July and will graduate in 2022 – the year Birmingham hosts the Commonwealth Games.
Those interested in training as a student officer can find out more at https://www.staffs.ac.uk/courses/policing.