Chief welcomes recruits under new training programme

Norfolk’s Chief Constable has welcomed the first intake of officers starting new a police training programme.

Paul Sanford met with recruits at the forces training centre Hethersett Old Hall on Wednesday 20 April 2022, speaking to them personally and welcoming them to the constabulary.

Norfolk Police has now started delivering the Police Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF), signalling the biggest change in police training for a generation.

The new national framework for the professional training and qualification of police officers means recruits will join through three new entry routes which are: 

  • The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA)
  • The Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP)
  • Professional Policing Degree (PPD)

Mr Sanford said: “It’s always a pleasure to meet our new recruits at the start of their career. Policing is a challenging but extremely rewarding career, and the move to this new training programme intends to help prepare officers for a role which is becoming ever-more complex.

“The move to PEQF will see a combination of dynamic operational training, together with classroom law inputs.  Throughout the design of these new courses, we have prioritised the investigative and procedural skills that future officers will need to become effective officers.

“During their probation, student officers will be studying and working alongside colleagues on the frontline, dealing with issues which matter most to our communities and protecting the public.”

The latest recruits, who started yesterday, will be completing the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) over two years.

It’s one of three ways recruits can enter policing, with all courses including an initial 22-week training period, followed by a student officer probation period, which is either two or three years depending on recruits existing qualifications. Recruits on all entry routes will need to prove their operational competence and street-based policing skills during their student officer probation period.  Later in the year, the force will be welcoming non-degree holders who will be joining as apprentices. 

Student officer PC Brydon Middleton started his training this week, having joined the police from the fire service. He said: “I wanted a new challenging career which would test my people skills, both mentally and physically, in a dynamic environment where I can make a difference.

“This first week has been great meeting the staff and other students who have been friendly and supportive. The highlights for me this week have been learning the history of the police and being officially sworn in as a police officer.

“It’s been full-on and sometimes a struggle getting to grips with new IT system but driving home after each day, I can honestly say I’ve been buzzing with excitement over my decision to join.”

Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Giles Orpen-Smellie said: “Policing and the demands on officers have changed dramatically in recent years and we continue to see new challenges each year. Equipping officers with the tools and training they need right at the start of their careers to enable them to respond to modern crime is essential.

“Officer numbers are increasing, and I have committed through my Police, Crime and Community Safety Plan to respond to people’s wish to see more visible policing. But we must also respond to the crimes that aren’t solved by an officer on the beat, such as domestic abuse, cyber-crime and fraud amongst others and this focus on professional training will equip new officers to respond to the multitude of challenges they will face as they begin their careers serving the people of Norfolk.”

Norfolk, along with six other eastern region forces, have partnered with Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) to educate new police officers.  ARU will be providing essential classroom based training and qualification whilst experienced police officers will continue to instruct students in core operational skills.

“ARU are proud partners with Norfolk Constabulary to deliver the PEQF programmes” said Sara Archer, ARU’s Head of Partnership Delivery for Police Education, “We’re thrilled to welcome the first cohort of Norfolk student police officers this week and are looking forward to supporting them through their initial training and qualification.”

Why has PEQF been introduced?

It’s designed to support the development of policing as a profession, bring consistency of initial training across forces in England and Wales and acknowledge the high level of service required from officers in today’s complex and challenging working environments. These changes have been introduced by the College of Policing and are mandatory for all forces. 

What are the new entry routes?

There are three new entry routes to a career in policing. They are:

The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA)

This is aimed at people who don’t have a degree and will study while on probation.

The PCDA combines on the job learning with academic study, working towards a fully funded degree – BSc (Hons) Professional Policing Practice.

Recruits will be required to achieve this, along with satisfying work-based competence requirements during their three-year student officer probation period.

You can find more information here.

The Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP)

This is aimed at recruits who already have a degree (which can be in any subject).

Recruits will be required to achieve a Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice and complete work-based competence requirements during their student officer probation, which for this entry route lasts two years.

You can find out more information here.

Professional Policing Degree (PPD)

This is aimed at people who wish to study before joining the police.

This is a self-funded pre-join undergraduate degree in Professional Policing which is accredited by the College of Policing.

Courses follow the College of Policing’s National Policing Curriculum, learning to think like a police officer and developing problem-solving, communication, negotiation, leadership, and research skills.

The student officer probation period for this entry route is still two years, although involves shorter on-the-job training programme to satisfy the work-based competence requirements.

This course is offered through ARU, however locally we’ve teamed up with City College and Easton College to develop courses locally

Further information about the Professional Policing Degree courses is available from the  City College, Easton College and ARU websites.

If you’re interested in a career in policing, you can visit the Norfolk Police website under the ‘Join Us’ section for more information and entry requirements.