Wrexham Glyndwr University has launched a policing degree as forces across England and Wales look to modernise the way they train officers.
In December 2016, it was announced that all new and existing officers in both countries will have to be educated to degree level from 2020 onwards.
In advance of this, the University has unveiled a BA Hons Policing (subject to validation) for the 2017/18 academic year. The programme will recruit students to learn about policing during periods of accompanied foot patrol with more experienced constables and in taught classes with academic and police staff on Wrexham campus.
The move has been welcomed by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones, who said it was important officers were educated with the ‘right skills’ as the role has changed so much over the years.
Dr Iolo Madoc-Jones, a Reader in Social and Criminal Justice at the University, explained the qualification will be run with the co-operation and support of North Wales Police to meet their requirements.
“Policing is a very demanding job that requires considerable skills and knowledge, and the ability to work with people in difficult circumstances,” said Dr Madoc-Jones.
“This degree is as much about recognising the learning police staff already have to do, and the skills they come to possess, as much as it is about teaching them new things.”
Dr Madoc-Jones said public concern over the possibility of officers disconnecting from their communities is misplaced, believing the move will bring them closer together.
He added: “The indication is that from 2020 everybody who works as a constable will have to be educated to degree level, including existing police, and some will seek to do that through accreditation of prior learning, which our programme allows for.
“Our course is slightly in advance of that as it seeks to bring special constables up to the same level of knowledge, understanding and competency in practice as their regular uniformed colleagues.
“There is no guarantee of a job as a regular constable at the end, but this full and part time programme will make them more attractive candidates in future because they will have had every single piece of training a regular constable would get after being appointed. These graduates will be considerably less expensive to employ because they’ll be job-ready and won’t need as much training.
“It’s a Welsh programme for a Welsh force so we’re looking forward to building on what is already a strong relationship with North Wales Police.”
Echoing his words, Mr Jones said: “I wish Wrexham Glyndwr University well with their new degree course. In addition to having the right personal qualities, it is important that we equip our officers with the right skills to the job in an increasingly complex world.
“While officers need be streetwise, knowing where crime goes on and how to react, a great deal more training is required these days because policing is changing so much. I very much hope that the curriculum contains modules on the ‘new crime types’ like online child abuse and modern slavery, as well as training their students to identify the signs of domestic abuse.
“I am particularly pleased the degree course is based within North Wales and Wrexham Glyndwr University are aiming to recruit candidates from the communities served by North Wales Police.”
Plans for all police staff to be educated to degree level have been drawn-up by the College of Policing, which is responsible for setting training standards for the police service.
The College’s Chief Constable Alex Marshall said there was currently not enough investment in training new officers, and only 38% of those entering the police arena have a degree or postgraduate qualification.
He said: “At the moment, it is very lopsided and we don’t do a lot of professional development in policing. We don’t think the investment has been made in policing in terms of professional development and this is one of the ways that we start to address that.”
For more information, call the University’s enquiries line on 01978 293439 or email firstname.lastname@example.org