Partnership with Avon and Somerset Constabulary celebrated during degree apprenticeship exercise

Media Relations Team, 22 July 2019

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Partnership with Avon and Somerset Constabulary celebrated during degree apprenticeship exercise

Avon and Somerset Police's Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens and Chief Constable Andy Marsh joined Vice-Chancellor Steve West on 22 July to celebrate the partnership's first Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA). Visiting the University's Glenside campus, they oversaw a training exercise involving 30 apprentice officers, who were learning how best to search people, buildings and vehicles.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “I'm delighted that Avon and Somerset Constabulary and UWE Bristol are working together to offer a rewarding learning experience to our new recruits. This is a great opportunity for individuals to pursue a varied and interesting role as part of the force while gaining a qualification at the same time.

“Local people deserve the best officers on our streets to keep us safe and the new apprenticeship prepares, trains and supports officers to deal with the complex crimes they will face as part of their role.”

University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) Vice-Chancellor Steve West said: “It's great to see the apprentice officers working on tasks that will prepare them for real world situations and lead them into a career where they could make a real difference to society. This programme highlights our devotion to working in partnership to deliver practice-based courses that provide individuals with the right skills and ensure they are ready for the workplace.”

Accredited by the College of Policing and launched this year, the three-year Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship has been developed through a partnership between UWE Bristol and Avon and Somerset Constabulary, making it the first force in the South West to move its initial police learning to a degree-based apprenticeship.

Apprentice officers on the programme spend three quarters of their time learning on the job and the rest studying, or in the classroom. During lectures and workshops taught both at the police headquarters in Portishead and at UWE Bristol, the apprentice officers learn about leadership, communications and legislation, as well as cyber security. They also learn bespoke skills central to policing, such as how to handcuff someone safely.

Today's training is a key feature of the programme and supports the apprentice officers' learning as they move on to the next phase of the course, which involves one-to-one tutorship alongside a trained police officer.

Andy Marsh said: “The PCDA's training and qualification formally recognises the complexity and professionalism within which our Constables work and is a positive development and improvement of police training. This is not three years in a classroom learning theory – UWE Bristol has created a rewarding learning experience that equips our new recruits with the skills they need for boots on the ground, on-the-job, training.

“Our intention is that this new training and qualification opens up a career in policing with a higher education qualification to an inclusive range of people who might not either have considered a career in policing or undertaken this level of higher education. Policing is still fundamentally delivered by people and this attracts and trains the very best, which is what our communities deserve.”

PCDAs were developed as part of the College of Policing Professional Development Framework in 2015 as a new pathway to police recruitment. PCDA apprentice officers will be employed by Avon and Somerset Constabulary prior to commencing the degree and can expect a starting salary of £20k per year.

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