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BSc (Hons) - Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA)

This 3 year apprenticeship course runs alongside your training as a full time police constable. A nationally recognised programme which is overseen by the College of Policing and a key requirement for all new recruit police officers to achieve a policing degree which results in confirmation in the position of Police Constable.

A blended learning approach with practical application in the form of on the job training matched to theory and learning through the university provision.

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Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) cover image

Course Overview

Your role is primarily as a new operational police officer on an apprenticeship programme undertaking initial recruit training.

Study time is provided to enable you to complete modules through workbook material and assessments leading to the degree qualification. The curriculum is professionally transformative, covering a breadth, depth and range of topics for the Police Constable in the 21st century.

On the job practical experiences complimented by theory seek to enhance knowledge and understanding in a range of disciplines and subject areas across policing.

Continuous professional development sit at the heart of this apprenticeship programme. Building on the initial recruit training students broaden their operational experiences through exposure to a range of operational police incidents.

Theory elements support the need for critical thinking, decision making, understanding conflict and communication skills together with law, procedure and evidenced based concepts.

On this course you will...

  • The degree qualification is a requirement for confirmation in the post of Police Constable.
  • The qualification is mapped against a series of approved competencies overseen by a professional body 'The College of Policing'.
  • Continuous professional development of key skills including communication, confidence and decision making.
  • Enhancement of critical thinking, problem solving, team working and leadership.
  • Compliment your operational policing with development of writing skills to ensure quality of reports and case files.
  • Improved performance and progression within the wider policing profession, supporting advancement along appropriate career pathways i.e. promotion/specialisation.
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Course Structure

What you will learn

As a full time operational police officer you will initially learn the role of a Constable including legislation, your powers and procedures.

This will progress to working alongside experienced police officers with exposure to a variety of policing incidents. The academic provisions bring in the theory elements to enable greater understanding of topic areas which include history of policing, decision making and discretion, critical thinking, criminology and crime prevention, proactive approaches to vulnerability, risk and public protection, supporting victims and witnesses, resilience, problem solving, teamworking and leadership.

Masterclasses will seek to broaden student officers knowledge and understanding of high profile case studies and the lessons learnt. Group discussions and the delivery of presentations will enhance students communication skills and confidence in a public arena. The assessments will develop key writing skills to aid report writing in a policing context.

Year one

The initial training consists of a 15 week classroom delivery which provides student police officers with the knowledge and practical skills to enable them to patrol operationally and includes the role of a constable, powers and procedures, decision making, conflict management, first aid, radio skills and basic report writing. Student officers will be posted to a police station where they will work alongside experienced officers in gaining knowledge and confidence to patrol independently.

This posting provides exposure to a range of operational incidents where you will be encouraged to take the lead, make decisions and take action including making arrests, comforting victims or searching for missing people amongst other things. Alongside this the degree programme will encourage reflective practice together with the application of theory learnt through workbook material and masterclasses. Regular assessments will explore knowledge and understanding of topic areas.

  • Introduction to Policing
    History of the Police, policing by consent, human rights, core principles of ethics and behaviour.
  • Operational Policing
    Legislation, powers and procedures, investigations and reflective practice
  • Studying Criminology
    Understanding criminology concepts, behaviours, procedural justice, problem solving and evidence based policing.
  • Community Policing
    Community Policing, concept of problem solving, partnership working and benefits of intelligence.
  • Vulnerability
    Offending and victimisation, national projects for those at risk, review of case studies and lessons learnt.
  • Reflective Practice Based Learning
    Importance of self evaluation, self improvement and reflective practice. Decision making and communication.
Year two

Year two develops competence and confidence in the role of Constable as you will be patrolling independently. The academic modules explore key topic areas in greater depth and seek to expand your critical thinking and overall application of theory and practice.
Experience in the operational field will support your wider reading and further develop your knowledge of policing. The report writing encourages evaluation and analysis across all areas of policing both locally and nationally.

Mid way through the second year you will be introduced to the concept of research. How to chose a title to explore in detail, linking in literature, statistical analysis and presenting your findings. On the operational side you will be expected to develop your knowledge and experience in key areas and must demonstrate competency as an effective front line police officer.

  • Community Policing
    Evaluation of policing activities, process of intelligence gathering and terrorism.
  • Policing
    Professional standards and community confidence.
  • Operational Policing
    Challenges of Operational Policing & the criminal justice system.
  • Studying Criminology
    Introduction to research.
  • Vulnerability
    Multi-agency working, repeat victimisation, theories and practices associated with vulnerability.
  • Reflective Practice Based Learning
    Self reflection, decision making and communication skills at police related incidents.
Year three

The final year sees further practical development as student officers focus on a specific area of policing. The benefits of coaching and mentoring in the workplace are also explored as new recruits join the police and you may be called upon to mentor them yourself.

The final degree requirement is that of a research project where student officers build on their year 2 introduction to research and analyse data through a range of sources in response to a question posed.This encourages wider analytical skills, the review of existing literature on the associated topic, reflection and review together with the presentation of findings.

Confirmation in the role of Constable is achieved when all aspects of the operational policing requirements have been met together with successful completion of the academic assessments.

  • Coaching and Mentoring
    Benefits of coaching and mentoring in the workplace.
  • Specialism
    Focus on a specific area of policing.
  • Specialist Procedures
    Focus on a specific area of policing.
  • End Point Assessment (EPA)
    Review of practical competence, research project of choice and confirmation of appointment as a Constable.

Attend an Open Day at Cumbria

An Open Day is your opportunity to explore one of 5 campuses, meet your lecturers, and find out how the University of Cumbria could become your new home.

Take the next step towards achieving your dreams.
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