School of Society and Culture

BSc (Hons) Professional Policing

Planned new course

UCAS tariff 104 - 120
UCAS course code L900
Institution code P60
Duration 3 years
Course type Full-time
Location Plymouth

Inspired by Line of Duty? Want to make a real difference in people's lives? Our Professional Policing course is licensed by the College of Policing and taught by staff who have served in the force and who are leading criminologists, ensuring you're equipped with the skills you need to work in law enforcement and security for the police force and beyond.

Realistic crime scenes and immersive virtual reality scenarios will enhance your understanding of yourself and your place in policing by gaining deep appreciation of its fundamental philosophy and ethics and forming life-long habits of reflective practice. As the only University offering this degree in the Southwest Peninsula you will enjoy a beautiful and exciting area with the unique and hidden challenges of policing in a rural, urban, and coastal environment.

Professional Policing
Careers with this subject

This degree is a precursor to an application to be a police constable in any geographic Police Service in England and Wales or the British Transport Police, Ministry of Defence Police and Military Police, the Security Services or the National Crime Agency. It provides excellent skills and experience for an application to any police staff post within UK policing such as:

  • Police Community Support Officer, Tri-Service officer
  • Accredited criminal or misconduct investigators
  • Accredited alcohol or firearms licencing officers
  • Control room and call handling officers
  • Administration, analytical, and support roles
  • Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner

It would also be a firm grounding to apply to private sector security positions, event management, and private investigation positions.

Finally, there are a plethora of public service roles which require the investigative skills and knowledge of the criminal justice system gained through the degree.

  • Environment Agency Water Bailiffs
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • RSPCA
  • Local Authority Licencing and Enforcement Officers
  • Independent office for Police Conduct investigators
  • NHS and Department of Work and Pensions Investigators
  • Border Force
  • Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs

The list is growing as the traditional functions of the police are taken on by an increasing number of agencies and companies.

Key features

  • Licenced by the UK College of Policing as a Pre-Join degree for all policing roles.
  • Open doors to careers in the private, public or third sector – highly transferable skills mean you will find opportunities in a diverse range of enforcement and investigative settings.
  • Taught by experienced former senior police officer linking academic theory to practice.
  • Realistic crime scene investigations with live suspect interviews to develop your detective skills.

Please note, this Professional Policing degree does not guarantee entry into employment as a police constable or any police staff position. It is tailored towards developing the skills, knowledge, experience and personal confidence students will need to apply for any of the posts offered by the police service. It will also prepare them for other roles in the increasingly pluralised environment of policing in the UK.

Each Police force in England and Wales has its own recruitment process, selection policy, and entry requirements. Upon successful graduation, students who wish to apply to the Police force should check their eligibility against the respective force's website.

Course details
  • Year 1

  • Semester 1 – Who are the police and what do they do?

    You will start with a history of the modern police, their role and function and how they respond to public need and gain insights into roads policing and the trauma experienced by first responders.

    Module PPD 401. Introduction to British policing

    This module provides students with a comprehensive introduction to the profession of policing in modern Britain. It explores the structure and function of the police service, the unique position of the office of constable, and how the police secure and maintain public consent for policing to take place. It describes the role of the College of Policing and the exercise of using police powers without favour or affection, malice or ill will.

    Module PPD 402. First responders

    This module introduces the acute customer facing activities of response officers and the challenges faced by those at the 'sharp end' of policing. It examines the personal impact on officers of handling trauma and violence. It also explains the controversial aspects of policing the road network, both for the safety of road uses, as well as denying criminals the use of the roads.

    Module PPD 403. The importance of knowledge in policing

    Intelligence is the lifeblood of policing and this module will identify the key aspects of the National Intelligence Model and explain the challenges associated with the collection, analysis, dissemination and practical applications of criminal and community intelligence. The legislation on handling and storing police information is also explored using case studies.

    Semester 2 – Criminology and communities

    Understanding the causes of crime and applying criminological theory, you will problem-solve real policing issues by analysing criminal and community intelligence.

    Module PPD 404. Getting the grease to the squeak

    Problem Oriented Policing is a key tool in identifying, analysing and creatively responding to crime data and this module will deconstruct a real-life policing problem, selected by students, using the SARA model and the problem analysis triangle. Students will create a plan to address the policing problem they have identified in their local area.

    Module PPD 405. Moving beyond 'the Bobby on the beat'

    The challenges associated with trying to police both economically and socially deprived urban environments as well as isolated coastal and rural communities will be examined in depth. Students will delve into the hidden issues of rural deprivation, polysubstance drugs misuse and the strengths of communities when they come together, whilst acknowledging the issues associated with assumptions about the 'greater good'.

    Module PPD 406. Why crimes occur and how to prevent them

    Drawing on longstanding traditional criminological excellence at the University, students will explore the connection between crime and punishment with key criminological theories about why criminality occurs. With three major prisons in the county of Devon there will be opportunities to understand the impact of crime on both victims and perpetrators. It will build on the key aspects of problem-solving policing to look at innovative solutions to preventing crimes from occurring.

  • Year 2

  • Semester 1 – From crime scene to court

    Immersing yourself in our realistic crime scene you will form investigative hypotheses, interview live suspects, and develop policing skills to solve a murder scenario.

    Module PPD 501. Crime scenes and suspect Interviews
    In this module students will investigate a simulated serious crime scenario. Starting from a real-life or virtual reality crime scene students will secure the area, collect samples for forensic analysis, look at the wider collection of evidence from victims, witnesses, CCTV etc. and interview a suspect in real time using the PEACE model of police interviewing. This will help to dispel any myths about the investigation process that you may have from watching police TV and film dramas and to concentrate on the significant issues associated with investigator bias, forensic capture, and witness capability.

    Module PPD 502. No witness, no justice
    The complexities associated with victim and witness evidence and the care required when dealing with them are demonstrated and analysed. Personal communication skills and the ability to manage inter-personal conflict in a professional manner will be addressed practically and theoretically.

    Module PPD 503. Delivering justice
    No policing degree can be complete without a detailed understanding of the UK criminal justice system and the role of the police within it. Students will look at a crime and take it through the criminal justice process, the Crown Prosecution Service, a simulated Magistrates and Crown Court, and look at prison and probation as well the often-neglected role of the police with Her Majesties’ Coroner when seeking to understand why and how a person has died.

    Semester 2 – The ethics of the police

    The police service operates in a risky environment with the need for fast paced but high-quality decision making. You will work through real-life case studies where the police have caused the death of a member of the public to enhance your decision-making capabilities under stress.

    Module PPD 505. Why all communities matter
    This module will build on the policing communities work from year one and take a more detailed and nuanced look at those communities who are perceived as 'other', especially in rural environments. How is it possible to improve community cohesion and the quality of police service offering to those who are marginalised or neglected by public services across the peace? The lived experiences of Black and Minority ethnic, LGBTQ+, faith, disabled, and travelling communities will be explored through the involvement of members of those communities.

    Module PPD 506. Research and methodology skills
    This module will develop your enquiring mindset and equip you with the essential skills of an academic researcher in preparation for your dissertation. It will look at the importance of evidence-based policing and the benefits and pitfalls associated with qualitative and quantitative, inductive and deductive research methods.

  • Final year

  • Semester 1 – Dissertation and protecting the vulnerable

    You will challenge your understanding of how to safeguard the vulnerable, protecting children and tackling extremist radicalisation and domestic abuse.

    Module PPD 601. Understanding and managing risk
    This module defines the concept of vulnerability and analyses the national drivers for the police in providing a professional and ethical service to people who are, or may be, vulnerable, suffering harm or at risk of harm. It uses national examples of vulnerability and risk, such as the Baby P case and gang culture, to develop a deep understanding of the psychology of vulnerability and the importance of a bespoke police response to handling the associated challenges.

    Module PPD 602. Working together to keep people safe in a democracy
    This module offers students the opportunity to analyse and critically examine the issues associated with public protection, child and adult safeguarding to identify and mitigate the risks to vulnerable people through multi-agency interventions and policy making. It will also look in detail at counter terrorism work and the links between diversity and inclusion, community cohesion and the nature of radicalisation.

    Module PPD 603. Dissertation
    This module offers the opportunity for you to research an area of policing in which you have an interest and will be linked with Devon and Cornwall Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall who will propose topics in which they need research to be conducted. In this way we try to put your dissertation at the forefront of policing innovation as it will seek to actively assist the police and OPCC in scanning, analysing and developing policing policy in new and emerging areas of criminological concern.

    Semester 2 – Criminology and communities

    Police corruption and cyber-crime are examined in depth, and you will be able to contribute to the development of evidenced-based policing through your dissertation research into real-world policing problems.

    Module PPD 604. Keeping people safe in the digital age
    The area of digital policing is discussed in detail as there can be no cases in the modern world that do not involved cyber-derived evidence from phones and other mobile electronic devices. The prevalence of online hate crime, fraud, bullying and child sexual exploitation are examined through case studies with a view to synthesising the literature into a roadmap for protecting people in a digital environment.

    Module PPD 605. Who guards the guards themselves?
    The ethics of the police service and standards of morality and probity in public life are a matter of constant concern. Drawing on international counter corruption experience this module will examine police corruption, its causes, the harm it produces and the cultural icons of the police service, such as the 'blue wall of silence' that might encourage corrupt or improper behaviours.

    Module PPD 606. Dissertation
    This module extends your opportunity for you to research an area of policing in which you have an interest and will be linked with Devon and Cornwall Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall who will propose topics in which they need research to be conducted. In this way we try to put your dissertation at the forefront of policing innovation as it will seek to actively assist the police and OPCC in scanning, analysing and developing policing policy in new and emerging areas of criminological concern.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

104 - 120

A level: 104-120 points from a minimum of 2 A levels. This course accepts general studies.

BTEC: 18 Unit BTEC Extended Diploma: DMM in any subject.

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

Access: Pass a named Access to HE Diploma in any subject with at least 33 credits at merit/distinction.

IB: 26 - 30 overall to include 4 at any subject at Higher Level.
English and Maths accepted within: Higher Level = 4   Standard Level = 5

All applicants must have GCSE (or equivalent) mathematics and English at grade 4/C or above.

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

English language requirements

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2021-2022 2022-2023
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Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. For more information about fees and funding please visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/money.

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business additional costs.

 

How to apply
All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Expand your knowledge

  • Experience the 'The Murder House', our immersive virtual reality crime scenario.
  • Develop your skills with face-to-face interviews of suspects in a simulated police interview room with one way mirror and video capture of the actor and the students.
  • Extensive use of real-life examples of policing public disorder, death in police contact, police corruption investigations and football and major sporting event command
  • Hear from a range of speakers who currently hold the roles that the students aspire to.

Learn from experts in their field

Featured module

Crime scenes and suspect interviews

In this module students will investigate a simulated serious crime scenario. Starting from a real-life or virtual reality crime scene students will secure the area, collect samples for forensic analysis, look at the wider collection of evidence from victims, witnesses, CCTV etc. and interview a suspect in real time using the PEACE model of police interviewing. This will help to dispel any myths about the investigation process that you may have from watching police TV and film dramas and to concentrate on the significant issues associated with investigator bias, forensic capture, and witness capability.