Case Study: Delivering transformative change in police training

New case study shares Staffordshire University's journey undertaken for the transformation of initial police training in the West Midlands region

Police Officers

In 2018, Staffordshire University gained approval from the CoP to deliver under licence the new BSc (Hons) Professional Policing (pre-join) degree, being one of the first universities in the UK to do so.

The journey from the proposal of the PEQF in 2016, to having more than 1200 student officers on new programmes across the West Midlands region in November 2020 has been immense and greatly significant. It has required enormous input, negotiation and agreement from a great number of people who have, in turn, developed strong and effective working relationships between the Partners. In addition, it has brought about significant cultural change and new ways of working for all members of the Partnership.

Staffordshire University

Our Delivering Transformative Change in Police Training case study sets out to provide an overview of the journey undertaken for the transformation of initial police training in the West Midlands region.

Find out how our thriving partnership is delivering transformative change in police training in our case study that outlines our approach, learning opportunities and top tips for best practice.

Key topics covered:

  • Professionalising Initial Police Trainingand Education in the West Midlands region
  • National Development of Police Officer Entry Routesand Educational Programmes
  • Staffordshire University as a Provider of Policing Education
  • Working in Partnership to Develop a Proposition for the West Midlands region
  • Course Design and Implementation
  • Impact and Evaluation
  • Delivering results
  • Innovations from the Institute of Policing
  • Stories from our Student Officers
  • Investment in campus facilities
  • Lessons Learned

Case Study Background:
For many years, across England and Wales the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP) was delivered within Police Forces by their own trainers to all new recruits.

This comprised of 3-4 months fulltime, ‘upfront’ learning, following which trainees would be deployed across the various policing functions supported by a Tutor Constable. Whilst deployed, they would complete portfolios of competence, progressing through Independent Patrol Status (IPS) within 12 months and ultimately achieving Full Operational Competence (FOC) at the end of their 2-year probation.

The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) and National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) set out the long-term professional development strategy for policing in ‘Policing Vision 2025’.

This articulated the police service’s own plans for transformative change across the entirety of policing and identified the development of an improved service for the public as its core professional aspiration. In particular, the vision emphasised the critical reliance of the police service upon the quality of its people, and established the workforce principle that policing needs ‘to be delivered by a professional workforce equipped with the skills and capabilities necessary for policing in the 21st century’.

In order to realise this strategy, in 2016 the College of Policing (CoP), the professional body representing policing in the UK, published a consultation document entitled the ‘Police Education Qualifications Framework’ (PEQF). This contained several ambitions to ‘professionalise policing’, such as aligning each rank within policing to achievement of a stated educational level, and for policing to become a graduate occupation. The latter represented a sea-change in initial police training since, until then to become a police officer required only qualification to Level 3. The ambition was that by 2020 all IPLDP programmes would be replaced by new entry routes into policing.

In their document ‘PEQF PC Initial Entry Routes – Strategic Overview’ the College of Policing stated that there was a need to develop a new framework for the professional education of the police constable to:

  • Develop a professional infrastructure
  • Achieve national standardisation
  • Get the professional level right 
  • Develop a practice-based degree-level education
  • Enhance the professional capacity of officers

Staffordshire University and Policing - A Partnership Approach:

Staffordshire University has a long history of working in collaboration with Police Forces in the region to provide, for example, forensic awareness training, leadership development and insight into topical research questions.

In 2016, an agreement was signed with Staffordshire Police to form the ‘Staffordshire Forensic Partnership’ that provides a formal basis for research and student placement opportunities between the University and Police Force.

The first undergraduate degree programme, BSc (Hons) Policing and Criminal Investigation, was launched around 15 years ago, with over 1000 students graduating from the course. Many of these have entered policing occupations, as trainee police officers, police staff investigators, scenes of crime officers, analysts and in a wide range of other roles. The appropriateness of the course for entry into police officer training was recognised by some forces by their admittance of graduates to an advanced point in their IPLDP courses. However, whilst focussed upon policing, this degree also intends to develop graduates as critical and reflective thinkers with the ability to research and develop new ideas; clearly being much more that a ‘training’ programme.

In 2018, Staffordshire University gained approval from the CoP to deliver under licence the new BSc (Hons) Professional Policing (pre-join) degree, being one of the first universities in the UK to do so.

As a member of the HEI group involved in developing a response to the PEQF, Staffordshire University was well-placed to respond to requests from Police Forces in developing their own thinking and approaches for adoption of the expectations of the PEQF. The University registered on the YPO (a central body for public sector procurement) framework in 2018 so that it would be notified when tender calls were published by each of the Police Forces in the UK and be able to submit responses to these.

A partnership of four Police forces in the West Midlands – Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Mercia and West Midlands – published a call for delivery of PCDA and DHEP courses during the latter half of 2018, with commencement scheduled for mid-2019. A team of staff was assembled at Staffordshire University to co-author the bid document, which was submitted in September 2019.

As a member of the shortlist of candidates, a group from the University (including the Vice Chancellor) presented to a panel chaired by the Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police. Following further exchange of information, Staffordshire University was named as ‘preferred bidder’ for the four Forces in November 2018.

During this time, Staffordshire University engaged with a number of other forces, universities and the CoP in developing the understanding and evolution of police education and built a strong reputation as an innovative, early adopter.

Read the full case study and learn more on Issuu

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