Considerations for supporting officers and staff completing academic studies

What do we need to consider when providing education to operational officers and staff?

Working students will have significant demands on their time from work and from their personal lives. Making sure that programmes are clearly structured and timetabled is important in helping them plan their time, giving individuals the best possible environment to succeed.

There may be times when operational commitments of officers and staff mean they are unable to attend planned events. Make sure a process is in place to allow notification of tutors where officers and staff are not able to attend, and where possible provisions are put in place to help officers and staff who may have missed lectures or tutorials. What to consider about different teaching methods

What might a force expect of us?

Demands on forces are high and abstractions can have a significant impact on operational capability. Forces will therefore expect HEIs to be flexible in their approach to delivery. This will allow officers and staff the best opportunity to succeed. This might be through online tools such as Moodle and Blackboard, distance learning or experiential learning as well as more traditional teaching methods.

Forces may wish to fill a specific knowledge gap within force and this could mean a force wishes to work with an HEI to design bespoke programmes of study. This would require a collaborative approach.

What will officers and staff expect from us?

Many officers and staff may not have been in a learning environment for some time. This can be overwhelming and daunting.

Officers and staff will expect a clear idea of what is expected of them. What work they will need to submit or undertake and when. Providing them as much information as possible will allow them to plan study around personal and work commitments.

Clear easy lines of communication should be promoted, along with clearly publicised information about support that is available.

What support can we offer?

 HEIs offer a variety of support to all students, this is particularly important for officers and staff who are working and have not studied for some time.

Application Stage

  • Be clear with timetables/ study time expectations
  • Set out what peer and pastoral support might be available
  • Set out the learning methods for the course
  • Provide examples in marketing material of what would make good evidence in an application form
  • Be clear about what evidence you might require from a force to support an application form for RPL
  • Signpost and provide bridging modules to help support officers and staff to have the academic skills to complete study at a higher level.
  • Ensure all information in the College online tool is current and up to date
  • Clearly explain the next steps after an individual has applied for RPL
During study

  • Be clear with timetables and deadlines
  • Provide clear, easy lines of communication
  • Study skills sessions around referencing and academic writing
  • Library sessions – how to access University library online, conduct a search and where else to go for library resources
  • Sessions on how to do a literature review
  • Sessions giving examples of Evidence Based Policing in practise
  • Sessions on the challenges of using research and theory in policing
  • Understanding critical operational demands
  • Technology skills sessions

How can you support officers and staff requesting support from their force?