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Northumbria Police Education and PCDA

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


Northumbria Police serves a population of 1.5 million people and covers an area of more than 2,000 square miles in the North East of England, from the Scottish border down to County Durham and from the Pennines across to the North East coast. Northumbria is one of the largest regions in the country and is recognised as one of the top performing police forces in the UK. 


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 apprentice officers by Northumbria Police full time, 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 Northumbria Police 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 Northumbria Police 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. 



Northumbria Police Chief Constable Winton Keenen said: “I am delighted we have partnered with Northumbria University to deliver entry routes into policing, which will help recognise the professionalism and complexity of the role fulfilled by officers. 

“The new programme will provide an exceptional educational programme alongside shared practice and experience to deliver a strong foundation on which to embark on a hugely rewarding career. 

“Police officers operate at a level where they take personal responsibility for difficult decisions in complex, unpredictable environments, which impact the public every day. They also face growing demands from new crime types and this programme will provide the knowledge, skills and professional practice to ensure we can respond. 

“I look forward to the new recruits becoming a valued-part of an existing, highly-skilled and dedicated workforce who have earned the trust and confidence of our communities over many years hard-work.” 


Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird QC said: “This is an exciting opportunity working in partnership with Northumbria University to make forging a career in policing more accessible. It’s important to make clear – you don’t need to be a graduate to become a police officer – this scheme is about training you to become one. We are keen to encourage applications from groups of people currently underrepresented within Northumbria Police – to be more reflective of our local communities – and crucially, at no cost to the new recruit. This is a real opportunity to bring talent to the forefront thanks to funding from the recently introduced Apprenticeship Levy.” 

For info Partners in detecting and preventing crime: university and police join forces

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