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Durham Constabulary and PCDA

Northumbria University and Durham Constabulary have joined forces in an exciting partnership to help educate the next generation of police officers. 


Durham Constabulary has been in existence since 1839 – just ten years after Sir Robert Peel formed the Metropolitan Police in London – serving the regions of Co. Durham and Darlington. Recognised as one of the top performing police forces in the UK, Durham Constabulary employs over  
1,150 officers, supported by more than 1,000 members of police staff, 70 special constables and 145 police community support officers. 


From 2020 the entry routes into policing changed nationally. With newly established qualifications required for incoming hires, apprentice officers undertake supported and specialist deployments in order to achieve Independent Patrol Status and Full Operational Competence addressing critical questions from multiple perspectives relating to the role, function, and delivery of policing. These include evidence-based practices; decision making and discretion; criminology and crime prevention; pro-active approaches to vulnerability, risk and public protection; and development of contemporary techniques such as digital policing. 


Northumbria University developed a three-year Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) which employs apprentices as full-time frontline officers by Durham Constabulary, with provision for off the job learning. The core curriculum has been designed by the College of Policing (CoP), the professional body for all those working in the Police Service, to reflect the contemporary areas of knowledge, skills, behaviours, and professional practice essential to the 21st century police constable role.  

Apprentices are instructed and supported by a diverse range of highly experienced Durham Constabulary and Northumbria University personnel.  Northumbria University has developed considerable expertise working with police forces regionally, nationally, and internationally; this sustained excellence in police research offers a unique advantage, as our work supports the design, development and delivery of this programme. Law trainers and tutors provide practitioner-specific curriculum input in relation to legal procedures; operational tutors provide support, guidance and encouragement during periods of work-based learning. Key members of wider police teams also provide mentorship as apprentices apply in practice the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to competently, lawfully and safely manage work related duties in the role of the police constable.  

The university’s world-class experts in crime, forensics, business and law work in partnership with Durham Constabulary to equip new officers with the skills and knowledge needed to help prevent and respond to the changing face of crime. 


Apprentice officers develop transferable key skills throughout the programme, including enhanced research and communication skills, project management and problem-solving abilities, along with independent learning skills enabling apprentices to take responsibility for their own sustainable professional development. In terms of public-facing outcomes, PCDA informs policy and practice, providing wide-ranging, cutting-edge science and applied research developed in partnership with the Police and agencies regionally, nationally, within European networks and internationally. 


Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary Jo Farrell said: "A career in policing is extremely varied and offers great opportunities for personal and professional development with many ways to progress throughout the force as you gain skills and experience. We’re looking for ambitious, motivated people who want to make a genuine difference to their communities and those in need.” 

For info Durham Constabulary recruiting new officers - and offering the chance of a university education - Chronicle Live 

For enquires please contact


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