BSc (Hons) Professional Policing

From 2020, policing in England and Wales will become a graduate profession.

Building on the success of our well-established Police Science degree, the new Professional Policing degree will prepare you for the challenges of modern policing and related professions.

The police course has been designed to meet all the core requirements of the National Police Curriculum for the College of Policing’s pre-join degree in Professional Policing.

Modules cover key areas of policing knowledge such as counter terrorism, covert activities, law and the justice system, crime scene awareness, digital policing, cyber-enabled crime, protecting the vulnerable in society, and community policing.

You will be taught by former police officers and leading academics and enjoy outstanding facilities on campus. We are one of the few universities in the world to have a Hydra Simulation Centre, which is used to train police officers at all levels.

What you will study

You will study a total of 360 credits.

Year One: Professional Policing degree

  • Law, Governance and the Criminal Justice System – 20 credits 
    This module introduces students to the role and duties of a police officer; the role of law enforcement agencies such as Special Branch, National Crime Agency, National Counter Terrorism Policing, MI5 and MI6 and the Criminal Justice System, how legislation is created and the roles of the Police and Crown Prosecution service in prosecuting crimes.
  • Neighbourhood and Community Safety – 20 credits
    This focuses on neighbourhood policing and policing communities and covers such topics as the development of community policing; understanding neighbourhoods and communities; preventing and responding to anti-social behaviour; partner agencies and effective problem solving and community engagement and community impact assessments.
  • Understanding Vulnerability, Risk and Threats in Society – 20 credits
    You will examine terms and offences associated with public protection policing – including child abuse; adults at risk; domestic abuse; modern slavery and human trafficking; sexual offences and hate crime – and develop an understanding of strategies for dealing with these situations.
  • Technology in Policing – 20 credits
    This module looks at how criminals engage in complex digital-related crimes. Students will learn about legislation and offences associated with digital-facilitated crimes such as hate crime; sexting/revenge porn; abuse, bullying or harassment online; online fraud and child grooming. You will learn to identify individuals who may be more vulnerable to digital-facilitated crimes, how digital-facilitated crimes may be reported to the police and the impact on the individual and family.
  • Policing, Criminology and Victimology – 20 credits
    Students will be introduced to criminology and sociology and will cover such topics as crime, victimisation and harm; policing powers; trends, patterns and causes of crime; offenders and offending and risk and vulnerability.
  • Practical Forensics for Policing – 10 credits
    Using the University’s Forensic Crime Scene Training Facility, students will learn about securing and preserving a crime scene and gain skills in forensic record keeping; briefing and debriefing; handling and transporting evidence; forensic report writing and forensic tools and techniques such as DNA analysis, finger prints and footprints and blood splatter.
  • Academic and Professional Skills for Police Officers – 10 credits
    This module will allow students to development their personal and academic skills within a higher education and a policing context. They will learn how to make effective use of data and understand the importance of credible and reliable sources and referencing effectively.​

Year Two: Professional Policing degree

  • Research Methods in Policing and Security – 20 credits
    Students will learn to conduct reliable and credible research and to plan it and present it effectively and professionally by learning and developing their research skills. In this module they will cover topics such as academic writing and critiquing; developing critical analysis and arguments and working in teams but within a policing and security context.
  • Using Intelligence in Police Investigations – 20 credits
    In this module students will develop key skills relating to gathering intelligence and interviewing people. You will cover the role of specialist agencies including the National Crime Agency; Special Branch; Interpol and MI5 and MI6 and establish how information differs to intelligence and the different forms of intelligence.
  • Contemporary Operational Policing – 20 credits
    This module will examine key cases and their outcomes. It will scrutinise such key concepts as the effect of using a ‚default position’ for decision making, based upon previous approaches; the benefit of reviewing example case studies;
    risk assessment, risk aversion and risk avoidance and the concept of ‚constabulary independence’.
  • Vulnerability and Public Protection – 20 credits
    This builds on the work covered in the first year relating to the vulnerable in our society. Student will develop their knowledge and understanding of topics that include potential forms of abuse/harm, including digital-related abuse; the range of situations and locations in which abuse can take place; the Home Office definition of domestic abuse and why incidents of abuse often go under-reported.
  • Simulated and Immersive Learning – 20 credits
    This module offers students a practical simulated policing environment, as a means of contextualising policing concepts into operational practice, promoting the development of key decision making and problem solving skills.
  • Roads Policing and Investigation – 20 credits
    This module covers legislation, police powers and the most common offences associated with policing the roads. It covers such topics as how to prevent and disrupt high-level crime on the road network; the relevant case law and legislation in relation to drink/drug driving and stopping a vehicle, using the powers provided by Section 4 of Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984.

Year Three: Professional Policing degree

  • Police Duties and Law – 20 credits
    This module covers the legislation police officers will use in dealing with typical policing incidents such as Offences Against the Person Act 1861; Criminal Damage Act 1971 and the Public Order Act 1986.
  • Investigation of Serious and Organised Crime – 20 credits
    Students will study the fundamental principles, legislation and powers related to conducting investigations including entry powers; powers of arrest; ethical considerations when conducting investigations and the investigative mind-set.
    You’ll also study the legislation to be considered during interviews.
  • Cyber Crime and Forensic Investigation – 20 credits
    This simulation-based module has been designed in conjunction with the Regional Organised Crime Unit and offers students the opportunity to learn the skills and knowledge of an officer responding to cyber-facilitated crime. Students will develop skills in applying and executing a search warrant under PACE; searching premises and seizing evidence; analysing evidential exhibits; expert witness reporting writing and testimony and court room cross examination.
  • Leadership and Professional Development – 20 credits
    This module examines the necessity for maintaining professional standards in policing and relevant governance, roles and responsibilities. They will typically cover fair, ethical and unbiased delivery of policing services; professional standards and the roles and responsibilities of disciplinary procedures and the IOPC ( formerly IPCC) in serious cases.
  • Dissertation – 40 credits
    In their final year students have the opportunity to conduct research into a topic area of their choice related to policing and security. They will be supported and guided through this process by an assigned supervisor.


The Professional Policing course delivers a curriculum set by The College of Policing to ensure our graduates are of the highest quality. It will introduce you to the key areas of knowledge required by a contemporary police officer and develop your personal and practical skills.

We work in partnership with Dyfed Powys Police; Gloucestershire Police; Wiltshire Police; Dorset Police; Devon and Cornwall Police; and work closely with South Wales Police and Gwent Police.

During an average week, you’ll have lectures and blended learning activity before attending tutorials in assigned tutorial groups.

Each module has on average around 36 hours contact time and 12 hours using our blended learning facilities.

Every student studying a 20 credit module will be expected to complete 200 notional hours of study.

Why study Professional Policing at USW?

  • Experience: Policing has been taught at the University for more than 15 years and during that time we have developed close working relationships with local constabularies
  • Established and respected within the industry: The teaching team is made of experienced former police staff holding ranks from constable to chief constable
  • Exceptional student support: Our small class sizes and open-door policy mean that students thrive
  • World-class facilities: We are one of the few universities in the world to have a Hydra Minerva Simulation Centre, an immersive learning environment, used by the police to promote the development of critical thinking and key decision-making skills. We also have a Crime Scene Training Facility where students develop practical crime scene investigation techniques; well-equipped forensic labs and a mock court room.


Students will be assessed through a combination of approaches including coursework; vlogs; academic posters; presentations; essays; reports; interviews; portfolios; laboratory reports; written examinations; multi-choice questions and interactive assessment exercises.

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