Educating the 21st century detectives

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University of Cumbria has welcomed its first trainees to a new fast-track detective development programme. 

The 19 new officers at Sussex Police are among the first nationally to undertake the intensive two-year Detective Constable Degree Holder Entry Programme which offers specialist training in investigations. 

They have been personally welcomed to the force by Sussex’s Chief Constable Jo Shiner and Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne.  

Their recent attestation ceremony also included 28 new officers who are among the latest wave of students starting a three-year Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA). 

The new detective Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) blends practice and theory with real world experience in the workplace and learning assessed by the university.  

Gary Slater, Principal Lecturer for Policing at University of Cumbria, said: “Our experienced police teaching team is delighted to be collaborating with Sussex Police to deliver the new detective Degree Holder Entry Programme as well as the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship once again. 

“Together, we and our fellow universities in the Police Education Consortium, will educate more than 1,000 new police recruits in south east England over the next three years, helping to establish consistency in police training nationally and bring policing in line with professions such as nursing and teaching.” 

The recruits, who are funded by the both the Government’s national recruitment campaign and the Sussex’s policing precept, are working alongside each other for the first 30 weeks.  

The trainee detectives then specialise in investigations, working towards a Diploma in Professional Policing Practice and accreditation as a detective constable over the course of two years.  They then go on to join investigation teams or safeguarding units across Sussex. 

Trainee detective Alicia Smith wants to work in the force’s safeguarding investigation units, protecting the most vulnerable people in our community.  

“Having worked in courts after my law degree, I was passionate about supporting victims so joined Sussex Police as staff, working in both the Criminal Justice Unit and the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub,” said Alicia. 

“I was inspired by how dedicated the detectives were in helping victims and realised this is an area you can make a very real impact on people’s lives and help make the community safer." 

Laura Duke is driven by a desire to support and seek justice for victims of crime and bring the perpetrators to justice. After a career with the UK Border Agency in the Middle East, she volunteered for a domestic and sexual abuse charity for two years, offering support over the phone and in person. 

She said: “It is incredibly exciting to be a part of the fast track detective route. This route appealed to me as it took into account my previous experience and the emotional resilience I’ve developed. As a working mother and at the age of 39, I have realised that it is possible to chase your dream career.” 

University of Cumbria is one of four universities with top tier police education expertise to have joined together as the Police Education Consortium. The consortium, which also includes the universities of Canterbury Christ Church, Middlesex and Portsmouth, has a contract to deliver the programmes with three forces – Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire.  

Recruits allocated to each university are full students of that university, with access to their programmes of learning and support but are taught in a police training session, not on campus. 

Sussex Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: “It was a pleasure to welcome these 47 new officers to the force and I am proud that Sussex Police – through collaboration with the University of Cumbria – is one of the first forces in the country to launch the new fast-track Detective Constable DHEP programme.  

“Both this and our Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship offer new entry routes as officers, making a policing career more accessible for more people, ensuring we create a diverse workforce with the best range of skills, aptitudes and experience we need for 21st Century policing. 

“As crime and technology evolves, our need for investigative roles is greater and more important than it’s ever been, from tackling cyber crime and catching online sex offenders to disrupting serious organised crime and safeguarding vulnerable adults and children. As a result we’re investing in the recruitment and development of both detectives and investigators.  

“We are taking significant steps internally to develop police officers and police staff into these roles; while this additional new fast-track programme for degree-holders will help us accelerate the development of the specialist trained officers we need to identify and pursue criminals using cutting edge technology as well as traditional skills.  

“All 47 officers will be joining frontline response teams in December to develop the essential core skills of policing. I wish them all every luck in their career.”

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Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Little Ireland: Educating the 21st century detectives
Educating the 21st century detectives
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