Staff development and regular strategic and team meetings ensured that communication occurred, so that contemporary good practice both in teaching and operational policing were at the forefront of delivery
From the outset of the development it was vital that shift managers and inspectors were involved in the discussions about patterns of delivery, so that operational considerations could be considered and opportunities for learning maximised.
Apprenticeships offer a good opportunity to enhance diversity within the policing workforce, increasing both the number of female recruits and those from BAME communities. In our first cohort 19% of the recruits on the cohort are from BAME communities compared with between 7 and 10% in previous cohorts.50% of the cohort are female, compared with 30% in previous groups and 31.45% in force.
More than 50 % of the cohort are the first in their family to enter higher education with a variety of reasons for undertaking the programme. Most wanted to be police officers from a young age, but had not thought it possible, either because they thought that the police service wasn’t for people like them or logistically because they had caring commitments or other factors that they thought would be a barrier to joining the force. Mandy Crawford- Lee in her recent blog for FACE commented about the contribution of DAs, and in particular the PCDA, has made to social mobility.
An element of the EPA includes a work-based project – for the success of the apprentices, and the perceptions of the PCDA within the force, these projects have to be meaningful and relevant to current evidence based practice in policing. With the support of the operational managers, a range of project themes were discussed with the apprentices, who then chose from these an area that was of interest to them and relevant to their future career development within policing. The external examiner specifically commented on the range of topics, the rigour of the research process, but , most importantly the relevance and potential impact that the adoption of these projects could have on routine policing practice. Indeed already some of the recommendations from the projects are being implemented within the local force.