Buckinghamshire New University has been selected by Thames Valley Police to deliver degree apprenticeships in policing. In response to the Government’s commitment to improve workplace training through apprenticeships, the College of Policing along with the police service developed the Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF), resulting in new initial entry routes for police constables.
Buckinghamshire New University will now work with Thames Valley Police to deliver the two new entry routes for the force, namely the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) – a three-year programme for candidates who don’t already have a degree-level qualification and the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP). This is a two-year programme for those who already possess a degree that’s not in the subject of professional policing.
Student officers will have ‘blended’ learning which will include classroom-based face-to-face teaching, distance learning and virtual classroom experience combined with operational front line duties.
Sean Mackney, pro vice-chancellor at Buckinghamshire New University, said: “The tender process for the bid was very competitive and exacting. We’re delighted to be selected to partner on one of the first PCDA programmes, and for such a prestigious force. It highlights how important apprenticeships are to Buckinghamshire New University, and how our focus is on apprenticeships being a complementary route to traditional degrees. We have a notable success of delivering professional apprenticeships within the public sector. Indeed, we’re creating a portfolio of apprenticeships that can meet public sector needs, whether that be in the realms of policing, nursing, leadership and management or IT.”
Buckinghamshire New University and Thames Valley Police are working together to develop the full programme of learning and assessment. Eligibility requirements and salary details are also in development.
Christine Kirby, head of people innovation and change at Thames Valley Police, stated: “We recognise that our officers not only need an evolving set of practical skills to equip them for a constantly changing world, but will also need to be able to adopt and embrace lifelong learning throughout their careers. For our new entry routes to policing we wanted to work with an academic partner that understands the dynamic nature of policing and is flexible to enable us to meet those learning needs in a constantly evolving environment. We’re delighted to be working with Buckinghamshire New University on this.”
All of this activity is part of a wider South East-based initiative, with Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire and Thames Valley Police all wishing to develop their workforce in line with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and National Police Chiefs Council’s ‘Policing Vision 2025’. The latter states: ‘By 2025, policing will be a profession with a more representative workforce that will align the right skills, powers and experience to meet challenging requirements’.
A standardised national framework allows for consistent assessment and accreditation across police forces, ensuring that the professionalism of officers is formally recognised.
Phillip Wood MBE, head of school for Aviation and Security at Buckinghamshire New University, concluded: “We have a strong history in this subject area and a long-standing partnership with Thames Valley Police so it’s great to see that extended into apprenticeships. Policing is constantly changing to reflect the society it serves and Buckinghamshire New University, with its keen focus on developing applied academic skills, will help to build that capability for the future through our Thames Valley Police apprentices. This partnership will have a significant impact on the shape of policing in the Thames Valley region and beyond for years to come.”