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Professionalising Policing – Current Developments and Future Proofing

Special Reports

Policing continues to be a challenging, demanding, and exciting profession subject to continuous change. Budget cuts have inevitably reduced the number of
staff available to deliver front line policing, and the Service has to do more with less, within a climate of increasing demand in areas such as counter terrorism, cyber-enabled crime and child sexual exploitation

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Professionalising the Police Service is happening now, with significant changes in terms of recruitment and progression being led by the College of Policing, the
professional body for policing, and the debate as to whether policing should be a degree level profession is over, it will be. The College of Policing, in consultation
with both government and employers have clearly stated that policing will be a graduate profession from 2020. Chief Constable Alex Marshall, College of Policing CEO said recently:-

“The nature of police work has changed significantly. Cyber-enabled crime has increased. So has the need for officers and staff to investigate and gather
intelligence online and via information technology. Protecting vulnerable people has rightly become a high priority for policing. Officers and staff now spend more of their time working to prevent domestic abuse, monitor high-risk sex offenders and protect at-risk children.

We recognise that the strengths of policing include its accessibility as a career to people of all backgrounds and it being a vocation. We want to preserve these
strengths. But we also want to ensure that the increasingly complex activities undertaken by people working in policing are properly recognised.

And it’s important to promote consistent and high standards of service for the public.”

Essentially, there will be three main routes to joining the police as a warranted police officer at constable level. The first of these will be via a relatively newly
established qualification, a degree level apprenticeship. Successful applicants will be employed by the police service concerned, and will undertake a programme over three years, partially workplace learning, and partly delivered by a Higher Education Institution, such as a university. Work is ongoing to establish the exact content and curriculum of this qualification, but successful students will be awarded the academic equivalent of a bachelor’s degree.

The second entry route will be via a specialist policing degree in a similar manner to other professions; this degree will be self-funded by the students like any
other degree. It is understood that the curriculum and content will mirror that of the apprenticeship, and probably involve unpaid work experience as a special constable. The third and final entry route will be open to those who have graduated in any subject, followed by a graduate “conversion” programme, delivered by the police service employing them, probably over a period of six months.

Changes are not linked just to recruitment at constable level. There is recognition that many police officers do not have formal academic qualifications, but are operating at graduate level, and above in some instances. The College of Policing acknowledge this, and are designing mechanisms to recognise existing officers’ skills and experience in this context. In addition newly promoted officers will be required to undertake study at graduate and post graduate level, funded by their respective police service employer.

The University of Central Lancashire in its School of Forensic and Applied Sciences is already an established provider of policing degrees, from foundation degree to doctorate level. Students studying on the current policing bachelor’s degree have the opportunity to study abroad in their second year at specialist policing academies in Poland, Hungary, the Czech republic and the Netherlands. The School already delivers M.Sc. courses in Criminal Investigation, Counter terrorism, Cybercrime, Financial Investigation, and Professional Practice (Early Action). The School believes it is the leading provider of policing courses in the UK, not least because all members of staff are former practitioners, mostly at a senior level, and of course are appropriately qualified academically. Students studying at postgraduate level have the opportunity to conduct research in more specialised areas of policing under the guidance of our research team, led by Professor Stuart Kirby.

Staff from the School are already working closely with the College of Policing to develop programmes linked to the policing professionalisation agenda, from degree level apprenticeships, a specialist policing degree and relevant CPD material for existing officers. The School is equipped with the latest version of Hydra

Minerva Immersive Learning Technology, allowing students exposure to decision making in complex scenarios in a safe simulated environment, complementing
the extensive laboratory facilities in the multi-million pound JB Firth Building.

Current relevant CPD programmes offered by the School or its internal partners are listed below:-

Policing
• Organisational Development & Partnerships
• Continuous Improvement and Learning Organisations
• Decision Making
• Money Laundering
• Policing Cybercrime
• Open Source Internet Investigation
• Fraud
• Homicide Law

Forensic Science & Crime Scene Investigation
• The Forensic Investigation of Sexual Offences
• Forensic Photography
• Forensic Interpretation for the Legal Profession
• Investigation of Mass Graves
• The Application of ISO 17025 (17020) and the Accreditation Process
• The Limitations of DNA Evidence

Computing
• Digital Forensic Investigation
• Computer Security
• Computer networking

The School of Forensic and Applied sciences is constantly striving to enhance student experience and develop facilities and teaching strategies that equip our students to compete in a challenging jobs market.

If you would like any information about its programmes, or if you are a forensic expert seeking collaborative support in casework experiments please visit us at www.uclan.ac.uk/fas
or contact us by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or telephone +44 (0) 1772 892400.