The College bursary scheme, which provides financial support for police officers and staff to undertake further study, has made awards to 64 police students this year.
The scheme, now in its fourth year, has provided funding to over 200 police officers and staff. This year's recipients are from 31 forces across England and Wales with two-thirds going to police constables or sergeants, and nearly a quarter to members of police staff.The bursary scheme is open to police officers and staff across England and Wales who can apply for up to £2,000 per year towards their tuition fees, covering up to two years of study. Nearly a third of bursary recipients this year did not have an existing degree level qualification and many have returned to education for the first time in years. Temporary Police Sergeant Richard Jones successfully applied for a bursary to cover his fees for a two year Batchelor's degree in Policing at Canterbury Christ Church University. Richard, currently a patrol sergeant at West Mercia Police, already completed a foundation degree during his initial training which reduced his new academic programme from three years to two. Often courses are tailored to meet the needs of in-service officers and staff by using a range of delivery methods, including face to face and online learning opportunities. He selected the course at Canterbury Christ Church because he wanted to have face-to-face interaction with staff and fellow students and is looking forward to his first weekend school this month:
" I have always wanted to study at higher education level but had dismissed it as being something for the younger generation. It is over twenty years since I did exams and I am looking forward to working with like-minded colleagues at university to develop my knowledge, support my role and benefit my force."
PC Peter Stone (pictured above), a collision investigator from Gloucestershire Constabulary received a bursary this year for continuing his Batchelor's degree in Computing at the Open University, having funded the first two years of the programme himself. The flexible structure of the course means that Peter can determine his progress and time spent studying to fit in with his work and home commitments. Peter's course has already given him new insights which he has put into practice in his policing role:"Because cars are really like mobile computers now, the course has given me new technical skills to better understand car systems and their available data for us as investigators. I have used this knowledge to assist my understanding of the potential data that can be gained from crashed vehicles." Bursaries have also been awarded to students carrying out postgraduate study. DC Yusuf Deerow from City of London Police, has ten years' experience as a police officer and has embarked on a master's programme at Liverpool John Moores University on Terrorism, Security and Policing. Yusuf was awarded a bursary in 2018 and has used this to continue studying his course which is delivered online on an interactive platform. He says that a recent module on policing in society has allowed him to reflect on his day to day role as a detective. Yusuf has taken a particular academic interest in reducing knife crime which has also influenced his approach as a chairperson of a London-based youth organisation. Yusuf says:
"I must say, thus far I have thoroughly enjoyed the course and I wish I had embarked it on earlier in my service. Some of the learning I have achieved has allowed me to develop an informed approach professionally and personally. I am currently doing a project critically evaluating how the police service, together with other agencies can reduce knife crime. I hope to share the findings of the project with the police, College of Policing and wider community."
Some bursary recipients have successfully reapplied to the scheme to support their continued study. Jo Traynor, a doctoral candidate at Anglia Ruskin University and a control room supervisor from Essex Police, has used the funding to carry on with her research about the quality and interpretation of police incident logs. She said:
"The initial bursary funding enabled me to begin my research journey. Knowing I could reapply for funding kept me focused and kept me on track to deliver. The application process this year provided a wonderful opportunity to reflect on my journey so far from my initial proposal to my PhD upgrade report. When you begin your journey do keep a reflective diary, this will help you complete the bursary forms and perhaps more importantly show you how far you have come."
Over a third of the 2019 applicants expressed an interest in exploring whether they could use Recognition of Prior Experience and Learning (RPL) and the College's Credit Estimator to identify how many credits they may hold in terms of their prior experience and learning to help them achieve a recognised qualification. Using RPL might reduce the period of study (and therefore the fees), or may provide access to a higher level qualification in light of existing experience and learning. For further information regarding the College bursary scheme, please see our website.