School of Society and Culture

BSc (Hons) Professional Policing

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

Our Professional Policing degree is licensed by the UK College of Policing and is delivered by leading criminologists and former officers with 30 years’ experience at senior rank in the police service. The course will equip you with the skills and practical experience you need to work in law enforcement, security and all aspects of policing.

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

The Professional Policing Degree, licensed by the UK College of Policing, is one of three routes into the police which now requires a higher education qualification.

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 you 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. Students who wish to apply to the Police service should check their eligibility against the respective force's website. Joining as a new PC | College of 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 licensing 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
  • Local Authority Licensing 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 and leading criminological academics linking academic theory to practice. This gives unprecedented access to real examples of the materials being taught such as major event management such as the Olympic torch relay in 2012.
  • Realistic crime scene investigations using real locations and scenarios which will test your forensic recovery skills as well as a sociological and criminological undertaking of why and how such crimes occur.
  • State of the art 3D virtual reality crime scenes to augment the live experience of crime investigation.
  • Participate in live suspect interviews using actors to develop your detective skills by real life engagement with the interview process.
  • Present your evidence of the case in a simulated court room and learn with our law students who will be practicing their own skills by cross-examining you in the court environment.
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 4001. 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 exercise of using police powers without favour or affection, malice or ill will and the role of the College of Policing in developing and maintaining national standards and evidence-based policing.

    Module PPD 4002. 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 4003. 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 4004. Getting the grease to the squeak
    This module explains the history and development of problem-oriented policing and students will interpret the problem analysis triangle and SARA models alongside criminological concepts such as routine activity and rational choice theories. The module encourages reflection on evidence-based policing foundations to develop creative and innovative approaches to solving policing problems.

    Module PPD 4005. Moving beyond 'the Bobby on the beat'
    This module illustrates the challenges associated with trying to police both economically and socially deprived urban environments as well as isolated coastal and rural communities. Students will utilise their understanding of community policing to dissect the complicated interactions between community needs and how policing treads a fine line to improve community cohesion. This will be exemplified in case studies examining the strengths of communities when they come together, whilst acknowledging the issues associated with assumptions about the “greater good”.

    Module PPD 4006. Why crimes occur and how to prevent them
    This module provides introduction to criminology and sociology as they relate to the causes and prevention of criminal activities. Building on the work of the module entitled “Getting the Grease to the Squeak” this module outlines the concept of procedural justice and applies criminological theory to the creation of innovative crime prevention solution as well as reviewing national crime prevention strategies and high-profile initiatives.

  • 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 5001. 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 5002. 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 5003. 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 PPD5004. Managing critical incidents
    The police service operates in a risky environment with the need for fast paced but high-quality decision making. The presence near Plymouth of a Naval dockyard, Critical National Infrastructure, a football club, and well-known rave sites, gives ample opportunity to experientially examine the National Police Decision Model and its links to the Code of Ethics. Students will also look at policing protests and the discretion available to the police during such critical incidents. We will use real-life case studies where the police have caused the death or serious injury of a member of the public to dissect the heuristic nature of police decision making.

    Module PPD 5005. Equality and diversity and human rights
    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 5006. 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 – 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 6002. Understanding and managing vulnerability
    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 6001. 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.

    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 6003. Keeping people safe in the digital age
    The area of digital policing is explored in detail as there can be no criminal cases in the modern world that do not involve cyber-derived evidence from phones and other mobile electronic devices. The prevalence of online hate crime, fraud, bullying and sexual exploitation are examined with a view to synthesising the literature into a roadmap for protecting people in a digital environment.

    Module PPD 6004. 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.

    All year – Dissertation

    Module PPD 6000. Dissertation
    This 40-credit module straddles both semesters and offers the opportunity for students to research an area of policing in which they have a particular interest, based on their stage 1 and 2 studies. It 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 the University aims to put the dissertation at the forefront of policing innovation as it will actively assist the police and OPCC in scanning, analysing and developing evidence based policing policy in new and emerging areas of criminological concern.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BSc Hons Professional Policing Prog Spec Sep22 7191

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
Home N/A £9,250
International N/A £14,600
Part time (Home) N/A £770
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 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

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

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.

Meet our experts

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.

Foundation-year courses

Whether you haven't yet submitted your application, you're worried about whether university is for you, or if you don't meet the entry requirements to apply for a three-year degree, our foundation year may be the perfect route to a full degree.

Our foundation year courses are specifically designed to introduce and develop essential skills for success in higher education.