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Gain the essential knowledge and skills required to be a police constable* and join a rewarding profession with considerable benefits. Become a capable problem solver, communicator, negotiator and leader, and discover how you can make a significant contribution to policing in the 21st century, as well as the wider criminal justice sector. Work with our Policing Institute on cutting edge research projects and hear from practitioners and experts in the field.
- Licensed by the College of Policing, this course covers their National Policing Curriculum at the same time as developing your higher-level critical, analytical and research skills.
- Discover how to tackle the challenges facing the modern police force, including digital and evidence-based policing.
- Take part in enhanced training sessions in our new Crime Scene rooms, available on both campuses.
- Take your first step to a rewarding career, in which your wages can almost double in your first 7 years of work (polfed.org)
- Study in Cambridge or Chelmsford, Essex – home of our Policing Institute for the Eastern Region (PIER).
Why do I need this degree?
Policing is growing as a profession. The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and National Police Chiefs Council recently set out a ten-year plan for transforming the police, in order to deal effectively with rapidly changing demands in England and Wales. Part of this involves the professionalisation of the police service, ensuring it attracts people with the right skills, knowledge, behaviours and values to deliver their vision.
As of 2020, taking a pre-join degree will be one of 3 possible routes into policing as a Police Constable, along with apprenticeships or degrees in another subject. This route, licensed by the College of Policing, will allow you to follow their curriculum, as well as gaining a wider understanding of law enforcement and the justice sector.
In Essex alone, the number of police officers grew by 5% from March 2017 to March 2018 (source: Home Office Police Workforce data tables, March 2018). Our course will help you stand out as a potential police constable, so you can become fully qualified, and gain Independent Patrol Status, soon after you graduate.*
The future of the police will increasingly feature multi-agency collaboration, or ‘inter-operability’, driven by new forms of technology, evidence-based policing and innovation. Our course will prepare you for these developments, as well as training you to reflect critically and constructively on their implications.
*Successfully completing the BSc Professional Policing does not guarantee entry to any police force and graduates must meet the eligibility criteria of the force they intend to apply to and follow their specific recruitment processes, including a 2-year probationary period. Your BSc Professional Policing degree will have a currency of 5 years from your graduation date for entry as a Police Constable.
What will I do on the course?
You will learn to think like a police officer. This includes not only the legal and professional responsibilities of the role, but also modern policing strategies and ethical considerations, as well as key skills including decision making, problem solving, and negotiation. You’ll also pick up the necessary research skills to put evidence-based policing initiatives into practice.
All your modules will be compulsory, ensuring you develop in a team of your fellow students, and learn to understand the importance of collaborative work. You’ll begin with an introduction to the key ideas and practices that underlie policing specifically, and the criminal justice system in general, giving you a strong foundation to study at higher levels.
In year two, you’ll learn to use more advanced critical and analytical skills, and understand the significance of research methods in different areas of study. You’ll also learn to process information and make comparisons in order to develop new insights into police work and apply them to the workplace.
By your final year, you’ll be an independent learner taking on a Major Project, focusing all the skills and knowledge you’ve developed so far into the area of policing that interests you most.
Throughout the course, you’ll take part in a variety of methods designed to develop your understanding of current policing practices and theoretical issues. These include a high level of practical and problem solving work in the form of role-playing and case study scenarios, balanced with individual skills, research and teamwork.
How will we support you?
Throughout the course, you’ll be supported by our team of expert lecturers, including both current and former policing practitioners and senior police officers, as well as visiting lecturers and specialist guest lecturers.
Our links with regional police forces and practitioners result in many events, giving you plenty of opportunities to further engage with criminal justice professionals. These include workshops, study trips and research projects, as well as events organised by our Policing Institute for the Eastern Region.
We have four brand new Crime Scene rooms available on our Chelmsford and Cambridge campuses, located in a secured area with CCTV, two-way viewing window and audio recording equipment for enhanced training sessions, as well as mock court rooms on both campuses.
You’ll also be assigned your own personal tutor, for one-to-one advice, as well as having access to the University’s student support groups, including an Employability Service, and social networks such as the ARU Criminology groups on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Your BSc Professional Policing degree will have a currency of 5 years from your graduation date for entry as a Police Constable.
Studying our BSc Professional Policing will put you in an excellent position to apply to be a police constable, demonstrating your ability to contribute to the policing profession through being a capable problem solver, communicator, negotiator and leader as well as being socially and emotionally intelligent in the performance of a professional policing role. The skills and knowledge you gain on this course will prepare you for the role of a police constable, as well as for work within the wider criminal justice sector, including the prison service, local government or the security industry.
However, successful completion of the degree does not guarantee entry to any police force: you must meet the eligibility criteria of the force you intend to apply to and follow their specific recruitment processes. You will need to pass medical and fitness tests, background and security checks, as well as a series of assessments including National Recruitment processes and Force vetting. All students who complete the course and are subsequently employed by a force will be subject to a two-year probationary period post-join, as specified in Police Regulations.
While recruitment processes and eligibility criteria are broadly similar for entry as a police constable, each police force in England and Wales sets its own recruitment process and selection policy, and entry requirements can vary from force to force. You are advised to check your eligibility against the information on the website of the force that you are interested in applying to. More detailed eligibility criteria are available on the Police Recruitment website, and the websites of individual police forces.
Modules & Assessment
Year one, core modules
Understanding the Police
Criminology and Crime
Introduction to Evidence-Based Policing
Introduction to Policing in Practice
Year two, core modules
Research Skills for Police Officers
Roads and traffic policing
Approaches to Policing Problems
Vulnerability and Risk
Information, Intelligence and Investigation
Year three, core modules
Undergraduate Major Project
Police Policy and Reform
Community Policing and Crime Prevention
For a full breakdown of module options and credits, please view the module structure (pdf).
Your studies will involve various methods designed to develop your understanding of current issues and debates within policing, and help you apply theory to different scenarios in the role of a Police Constable. This will also be reflected in the range of assessment methods, including essays, portfolios, problem-solving activities, case studies, blogs, policy documents, presentations, and a major research project.
You will also be encouraged to reflect on your evaluative work through group discussions, peer review, reflective writing and self-evaluation, further developing your critical and analytical skills.
Where you’ll study
In the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, we use our expertise and connections in Cambridge and beyond to nurture creativity through experimentation and risk-taking, and encourage critical thinking, in order to educate, entertain, inspire and understand, as well as to improve people’s lives.