Entry into the Police service is changing and West Midlands Police are one of the first forces to recruit student officers to study for a degree while they serve.
Nationally, training for new officers is being overhauled, with policing following a similar pattern to nursing and other public service careers, where new recruits will learn the job as an apprentice, splitting their time between practical learning and study, earning a degree in policing at the end of their three-year training.
West Midlands Police is now open for PC recruitment for the first time under the new student programme, meaning all recruits will join the new scheme. Applicants will be able to apply via one of three separate entry routes:
• As a candidate with an existing degree, making the transition to a Graduate Diploma in Policing
• Joining and studying towards the police constable degree apprenticeship (PCDA)
• Achieving a degree in policing prior to joining (not currently available nationally)
Chief Constable Dave Thompson is delighted to see the new approach launching in the West Midlands. “Modernising entry into the police service is a subject that has been talked about for some time, but now we are seeing that come into effect, with the first of our new candidates being given the opportunity to join West Midlands Police, while studying for a policing degree," he said.
“It’s a huge step forward and is a massive change for policing. How we police our region is changing. We do not simply respond to incidents any more. Much of our work is about prevention and intervening early, where we can, to make a long-term difference to peoples’ lives.
“Our new people will have a qualification that is internationally recognised which, when they reach the point of moving on from their police career, will enable them to access more opportunities."
The student officers will train and study over either a two or three year period, depending on which entry route applies, with the degree being delivered in partnership with a university. New officers will receive a starting salary of between £18,000 and £23,124 depending on entry route, previous qualifications and/or recognised prior learning.
Student officers completing the PCDA will complete initial training to help them learn the basics of policing before being allocated to a police team where they will learn the practical side of the job, while completing formal university study. Learning will be flexible, with some classroom-based study as well as local delivery and online lectures. Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson added:
“I am pleased we are delivering on the recruitment of police officers. By 2020 I promised to recruit 900 officers, 200 specialist staff and 150 PCSOs, to help keep the public safe. I want people from all backgrounds to apply to be a police officer to make the force look more like the communities it serves.
“We need to make sure that people from all communities apply to join the police to make sure we are harnessing the talents of all the people in the West Midlands. Joining the police is a fantastic opportunity to serve your community and help to keep people safe. These new officers will make a real difference."
Over the next year the force is looking to recruit 260 new officers, with training for candidates set to start in April 2019. Prospective PCs can start to complete their online forms from Monday 11 June, with the selection process, vetting and medicals set to take place through the summer and autumn.
When the force last opened their doors for PC recruitment, in November 2016, over 3,200 people submitted applications, with 260 of those having successfully completed their training and now serving the people of the West Midlands.
The last recruitment campaign saw officers stage open events at stations for community members in areas across the West Midlands, accompanied by members of the positive action team, to help people from diverse backgrounds see themselves in a police career. Similar events are being planned over the next few weeks.