Programme design in partnership with the Police
Martin, Vivien (2007) Programme design in partnership with the Police In: Society for Research into Higher Education annual conference 2007, 11 - 13 Dec 2007, Brighton, UK. (Unpublished)
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Some UK universities have recently engaged in partnerships to develop police officers able to work more effectively with their local communities. Police training and development in the UK has traditionally been delivered by police trainers in national training colleges, working to occupational standards without accreditation. Policy changes to improve policing now require each of the 44 UK police forces to make local arrangements for initial training (Eliott, 2003). Many have retained skills-based provision, but a few have sought partnerships with universities to develop the new award of Foundation Degree (QAA, 2005), intended to widen access to HE to non-traditional students and to engage with employers to develop the workforce. This paper focuses on the design of a collaborative programme involving a consortium of three universities in partnership with one police force. A collaborative critical reflective approach to capture the team’s learning was adopted in the early stages, enabling action research, including open sharing of relevant organizational data and records. This paper provides a reflection from the HE perspective about designing to meet the needs and requirements of both the police and HE and balancing the aspirations of learner-centred police trainers and an emancipatory educationalist. Additional data has been collected through focus groups with students and staff and questionnaires. The detailed programme design began with a lead academic and a small team of experienced police trainers. The aim was to develop 300 new police officers, in four intakes each year, through a continuous 43-week programme delivered by police trainers on three campuses in two universities. Student officers were also required to spend about half of this time in police work placements (to achieve occupational standards) and in short community placements with more than 100 local organizations. This complex programme has now been running successfully for well over a year and there is early evidence that it has significantly raised performance within the police. Issues discussed include: • Developing shared understanding and trust; • Philosophy, values, attitudes towards employees and students; • Developing design process and intended learning outcomes; • Learning for a job and education; • Combining quality assurance frameworks; • Developing 120 police trainers, workplace tutors and assessors to deliver and assess HE; • Influencing change in both organisations; • Management of expectations, flexibility, compromise and integrity; • Early indications of benefits and costs. This programme introduces culture change into both policing and HE, to respond to the needs and expectations of society. For the partner universities there are important questions to consider (Sastry et al, 2007) about the extent to which HE can and should engage with employers.
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