Putting Learning into Practice: Self Reflections from Cops
Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) have been involved in police education with serving officers for over twenty years. The College of Policing (COP) are currently considering a range of options to develop learning within the police organisation and this involves a drive for more officers to be degree educated. The responses to a recent public consultation on this proposal involved some differing views on its introduction. Some of the criticism coming from officers themselves about the proposal argues that there is a limited evidence base for degree level entry and this small study provides some insight into this world. This paper will discuss the findings from interviews conducted with police graduates from CCCU following their completion of either a BSc or MSc degree programme in Policing. It will discuss officers’ perceptions of their ability to utilise the learning they have gleaned in the classroom and how it is received from their supervisors and peers. The aim of the drive to increase education in policing focuses on the need for students to develop critical thinking skills, to further apply knowledge and their problem solving abilities. The research found that police officer graduates felt these skills were enhanced as a result of undertaking a degree, and felt empowered to apply their knowledge. However, findings indicated inconsistencies as to whether this knowledge was applied in practice. This often depended on whether an officer’s immediate and senior management were receptive to embrace learning, more often than not there was a lack of willingness from management to ‘hear’ the learning from the police graduates interviewed in this study. Therefore, this research found that in order to embed knowledge systematically, a wider infrastructure is required to facilitate this at every rank of the police organisation.
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