27 October 2020

Energy and enthusiasm as 2020 College bursary students get ready to start a new term

Our fifth scheme was launched in March, just as police forces responded to the unprecedented situation caused by the pandemic. We were pleased to receive over 130 applications from officers and staff across 40 forces in England and Wales. 

This year we awarded 65 bursaries. Over half of our awards were made to constables and sergeants and almost a third went to members of police staff. Over a quarter of recipients had not studied at university level before. Most bursaries were awarded to people studying at postgraduate level and 11 were made to undergraduate students. Subjects to be studied were wide-ranging, including policing and police leadership, counter-terrorism, criminology, cyber-crime and organised crime. 

Sergeant Kelly Reed, from Thames Valley Police was awarded a bursary under this year's scheme. She told us that lockdown had made her reconsider her priorities, leading her to apply for a bursary to study a Crime and Justice Master's at The Open University. Starting this month, Kelly said:


Starting off studying is an exciting prospect for a Detective Constable in the Metropolitan Police Service who is going to University College London to do a Master's degree in countering organised crime and terrorism. Izzy said: 

"I am doing a distance learning course so I can work flexibly. This is really important for me because my role in the proactive investigations unit means it is difficult to plan ahead and I often have to work at short notice."

Detective Constable Jason Thomas from Suffolk Constabulary is about to start studying for an undergraduate degree in Applied Investigations at the University of Sunderland. Like Izzy, he had some initial concerns about fitting in studying with working full-time:

"I first thought about applying to do academic study when I went to a disclosure masterclass in Birmingham and saw some handouts about the Applied Investigation Course. Another delegate approached me and said he had managed to do the course while working full-time with two young children… and he still looked fit and healthy! This gave me the final push to go for it myself."

There are lots of advantages for students working in policing, they often have clear ideas about the topics that need researching and they have ready access to policing. Temporary Sergeant Jagwant Singh, Leicestershire Police, has received funding to complete his Master's degree in police leadership at the University of Derby. Jag said:


Jag is a busy sergeant in a neighbourhood team and manages the demands of work, family life and his voluntary role as vice president of the National Sikh Police Association UK by balancing his time, planning ahead and being very organised about deadlines.

Danyela Kellett, a forensic science manager from Lancashire Constabulary, is starting doctoral studies on a subject that she has been working on at a local and national level throughout her career, she said:


Chief Inspector Ross Campbell from Warwickshire Police is starting a course at the University of Portsmouth. Ross agrees that people working in policing are ideally placed to take up further study and wants to link his studies in criminal psychology to his operational roles in firearms and hostage and crisis negotiation. Ross said:


Ross has dyslexia, which affects him every day but he wasn't diagnosed until his 30s. He advises people who are dyslexic (or think they may be) not to see this as a barrier to progression in policing or academic study but to get tested. He refers to the amazing support universities offer, which can also help you in the workplace. 

Skills, experience and learning from policing can also be transferred to academic study. Around a third of the 2020 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.  

* Officers and staff who identified as being from an ethnic minority group accounted for over 10% of applicants and 12% of bursary recipients.  Under this year's scheme, 40% of bursaries went to female officers and members of police staff.


If you choose to apply, the College provides a range of other support resources for police officers and staff carrying out academic study:

The Academic Support Network
​The Academic Support Network offers a peer-support system for police officers and staff who are undertaking academic study.​

​'How to' research guides
The College has produced a series of 'how to' guides which include a guide to conducting focus groups as well as hints and tips on designing and carrying out surveys.

The Policing and Crime Reduction Research Map
The Research Map plots details of relevant ongoing policing related research at Masters level and above. It is intended to increase opportunities for collaboration, and to enable forces to engage directly with researchers working on topics of interest to them.

Research surgeries
Research Surgeries are an opportunity to get bespoke advice and guidance from specialist College staff on any research issue facing you or your force.




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