A new policing degree course at the University of Huddersfield aims to give students a broad range of skills needed for police work as well as widening police recruitment from underrepresented communities.
The Professional Policing Degree is due to start with its first intake of students in September 2023 after receiving accreditation from the College of Policing .
Graduates will be able to apply for a role as a constable in a police service in England and Wales with the nationally-recognised degree, which provides the basis for learning the practical and occupational competencies of being a police officer. The course will offer opportunities for its students to learn from other relevant courses at the University, including paramedicine, law, social work, forensic science and nursing.
The course also aligns with the desire of the government and the National Police Chiefs Council to recognise the complex nature of policing in the 21st century and to equip police officers with the knowledge and skills to deal with societal issues and new and evolving criminality, such as online fraud and abuse, organised crime and terrorism.
“The course will feature a blend of knowledge, theory and more vocational-based skills, with practical elements built into the programme,” says Andrea Tara-Chand, Lecturer in Policing at the University’s Department for Behavioural and Social Sciences.
“There will be opportunities for our students to become involved with policing whilst on the course, and we want to bring the practice element into the University. We have had discussions with our paramedic science, forensic science, nursing and social work courses to work together with them, and we will ensure our students get to use some of the great facilities we have on campus such as the court room in the Oastler Building.
“A key strand will be to impress upon our students that policing and law and order is not only about what the police do, it is about how society functions. We want them to understand about partnership working, working in communities and working with communities.”
Home Office figures from 2022 showed that 8.1% of police officers identified as BAME, while females police officers represented 33.5% of the police force .
“We want to work with disadvantaged communities to make this a course that is very much about inclusion,” adds Andrea. “We want to encourage students from groups that would not normally consider policing as a career.”
Michelle Rogerson, Subject Leader in Professional Policing Programmes, adds that, “Police forces are facing a challenge when recruiting people from BAME backgrounds, and we want to support an increase in the number of female recruits. There is also a willingness for police forces to work with diverse communities to reflect the people that the police serves.
“We are already proactively engaged with these communities to encourage young people to come to us. We want to help the police reflect the society we now have, and we were commended by the College of Policing for the high degree of support that the University of Huddersfield offers to its students.”
With increasing amounts of police time having to be devoted to officers dealing with people with mental health issues or learning difficulties, the University’s Public Partnership Group (PPG) will help PPD students understand the skills they will require in these situations.
“We want to develop the skills in our students that will enable them to work across difference,” Michelle continues. “The PPG will come in to work with students about working with people with mental health issues or learning difficulties. Quite a lot of policing is about dealing with people with those issues, or is involved with looking for people who are missing who have dementia.
“They are on the front line for a lot of those social care-type issues. We want to ensure that they have the skills to address those kinds of issues as well as they can. The inter-disciplinary, inclusive and immersive way of learning our course will involve is what will give a key point of difference to what our course will offer.”