New student Police Officers entry routes introduced by TVP
Two new ways of becoming a Police Officer have seen people aged 19-44 from all walks of life join the force via a partnership between Thames Valley Police (TVP) and Buckinghamshire New University (BNU).
More than 35 new police officers have joined TVP in December 2020 via its two new student officer entry programmes; the three-year Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) entry route for those who do not already hold a degree qualification, and the two-year Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) entry route for those that do.
The two cohorts are aged from 19 to 44 years old and 55% of new recruits are female, whilst 13% come from Black, Asian or Multi-Ethnic backgrounds.
They bring with them a variety of previous life and work experience including experience in community mental health support, the military, retail and leisure, foster care, the prison service, teaching, animal welfare, as well as university graduates, which demonstrates that policing at TVP continues to appeal to a wide range of people.
TVP is delivering the programmes in partnership with BNU, with initial training to be run primarily from TVP’s training centre in Sulhamstead, Berkshire.
The new student officers on both pathways will have much of their initial training in person at Sulhamstead, but due to Covid-19 we are also utilising new methods of virtual delivery by both TVP trainers and BNU lecturers; the course curriculum has been adapted for this purpose.
Chief Constable John Campbell, said: “I am very pleased to welcome the first students to TVP taking the new apprenticeship degree or the graduate diploma and I wish them well with their policing careers.
The introduction of the programme heralds an important landmark in the continued development of policing in the country, with all new recruits now having their initial learning accredited with a qualification.”
The new national entry routes for Police Constables have been set by the College of Policing to standardise professional qualification levels for police officers.
Initial training for both entry routes involves a fully immersive period of learning, with student officers trained in how to apply critical thinking, problem solving and evidence based policing skills.
The emphasis remains on practical policing with the majority of learning undertaken on the job.
The launch of these new entry routes is a huge achievement and the result of two years of hard work and collaboration between the two organisations.
Dr Rachel Cragg, Pro Vice-Chancellor External Engagement at Buckinghamshire New University, said: “It is fabulous to see this partnership come to fruition.
“Our Institute of Professional Policing has worked in partnership with Thames Valley Police for many years so it’s great to see that extended into apprenticeships.
“We have a shared mission to offer a new way of shaping the policing of our region; and we are excited by that opportunity.
“Policing is constantly changing to reflect the society it serves and the TVP focus on inclusive and forward-looking capabilities matches our own.”
TVP is on track for a significant uplift in police officer numbers over the next few years, with an additional 183 student officers expected to join the force by March 2021.
For some of the student officers, joining the police means fulfilling a childhood dream.
Student Officer Josh Burgoyne, 19, said: “I want to help people and have a job which I can say I am proud of the work I do. Wanting to be a police officer is not something you wake up one day and decide to do. It is something that you have always had a passion for.”
For others, like Student Officer Catherine Titcombe, 44, joining the police has been a long held ambition, which she is now able to fulfil later in life.
She said: “I started completing the application form to become a police officer over 20 years ago, and have started the process on several occasions since.
“Something stopped me from completing it in the past, but October 2019 was when I finally found the courage to go through with the full process.
“The fact that I would also be given the opportunity to study at degree level was also a bonus, as when I had the opportunity in the past, I was not ready.
“I feel like all the experience I’ve had in life so far has prepared me for now and I am really excited to become qualified and finally achieve my potential.”
Student Officer Sanika Mehta, 31, joined to ‘give back to the community’, adding: “Although I have enjoyed my previous jobs, there wasn’t always a sense of job satisfaction.
“I therefore decided that I wanted something more challenging and fulfilling.
“Whilst working at a phone shop previously, the store was robbed. It was an awful experience and the first and only time I have been placed in a position where I was threatened with demands, and felt no sense of security or control over the situation.
“When the police arrived, I felt a huge sense of relief and safeness. I decided then that I wanted to join the police so I could give back and make others feel that sense of security.”
TVP officers are warranted from day one of initial training and the starting salary for both the PCDA and DHEP is £26,177 (which includes the £2,000 South East Living Allowance).
The continuation of police officer recruitment and training has remained a force priority during the Covid-19 pandemic, as TVP works hard to make its commitment in ensuring the Government’s vision for 20,000 new officers across the country is realised.
Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfield, said: “Additional Government funding is enabling us to recruit, train and deploy even more officers to tackle crime and the issues that are really important to our communities.”
The national uplift in police officer numbers gives UK policing a unique opportunity to attract greater diversity into the force.
Chief Constable Campbell, added: “A diverse workforce is an important part of operational effectiveness for Thames Valley Police and is essential in maintaining public trust with all of our communities.
“Attracting people from a range of backgrounds will bring different knowledge and expertise and help us to build stronger relationships with the public, enabling us to serve and protect them more effectively.
“We have had success in attracting more women into policing, but realise there is work to do to increase broader diversity within the Force.”
In 2020, TVP introduced a Positive Action and Engagement Team made up of five serving officers, focused on building engagement in our under-represented communities and encouraging people from BAME communities to consider a career in policing.
As well as focusing on outreach work, the team supports applicants through the recruitment process and subsequently with their professional development and progression once they have joined.
Police officer recruitment at TVP is closed now, but expressions of interest are welcome on the force’s Talent Bank online.
You do not need a degree to apply to become a police officer. Applicants must be 17 years or older at the time of application, and 18 when they start training. There is no maximum age limit.
You can also find additional information about our Positive Action and Engagement Team on our Valuing Difference page.