First-class honours for police officers at DMU

Two police officers from Leicestershire have graduated from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) with a first-class honours degree after completing the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA).

PC Lauren Thacker and PC Georgia Wood joined the force’s fourth PCDA cohort in May 2021. The PCDA entry route enables officers to receive practical on-the-job learning alongside academic theory and knowledge.  The degree is fully funded and they earn a wage while working and studying for three years.

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PC Lauren Thacker discovered she was dyslexic halfway through the course.  She said: “Being assessed as dyslexic explained a lot about why I had to work extra hard and took much longer to do the academic work than other people on the course. I was really only aiming to pass so I was very shocked to be told I’d got a first – I am over the moon.”

“To help me, I moved onto neighbourhoods for a while with a fantastic tutor constable, it is easier to learn on neighbourhoods because you have a bit more time than you do on response. I did my Student Officer Learning and Assessment Portfolio (SOLAP) on coloured paper which also helped. My assessor supported me the whole way through my course, and I am very grateful for not only the support I received from them but from everyone else within the police and DMU.”

Lauren has been on attachment to CID and had really enjoyed it. She remains on CID with the intention of becoming a qualified detective.

She added; “There are so many career options in the police service that are now open to me. I have had a lot to overcome but I just thought that the PCDA was only for 3 years which would go so quickly and I was determined to pass everything first time so I didn’t have to do anything again.  

“I have no regrets at all and would recommend the PCDA route to anyone, I never thought I would be where I am so I’d encourage others to do it.”

PC Georgia Wood is currently working on response in North West Leicestershire based at Coalville Police Station. She was also surprised to learn she had a 1st Class Honours Degree. She said; “The PCDA route is not the easiest one because you work pretty much full time and have to study on rest days and at the end of your shift, however, I am really glad I did it.

Although both her parents are police officers (her father is retired but works in the rape investigation unit), Georgia hadn’t wanted to become a police officer until she was furloughed from her job during lockdown. She said; “I saw the PCDA advert and thought I’d apply and see what happened and I got all the way through the process!  Our cohort started during COVID so we initially had to learn online but as a result we have remained really close and are all really good friends.  

When asked what advice she would give to someone thinking of joining the police via the PCDA route, Georgia says: “Going back into education after two years away wasn’t easy at times and studying as well as working long shifts means you really have to manage your time but actually, I got into a good routine.  It was all worth it – I now have a 1st class honours degree and no student loan.  

“I don’t know where my career will take me because there are so many options but I did an attachment to the Child Abuse Investigation Unit which I really enjoyed and the mental health triage car too but, for now, I am enjoying be on response.

“It still feels a bit surreal to be honest but getting a first feels like a great achievement.”

Paul Mabbutt, Acting Programme Lead for the PCDA at DMU said: “The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship programme is operated at DMU together with our partners at Leicestershire Police.

“It’s a great opportunity to join the Police by being trained as a warranted officer and also to study for a fully-funded BA Degree in Professional Policing. Since the course was revalidated in 2023, it now means that studying and assessments are completed during short block attachments to university, meaning that student officers are then released to concentrate on policing, and also this now preserves their rest days.

“Both Lauren and Georgia have done extremely well and are great examples of how the PCDA can develop professionally trained police officers with a professionally recognised degree. I’ve no doubt they will go on to further develop successful policing careers. The policing team at DMU are very proud of these student police officers and we wish them all the very best for the future.

Sarah Taylor, Head of Team Leicestershire Academy and Careers said; “My congratulations go to both Lauren and Georgia. To get a first while balancing the demands of being in an operational police officer on a shift pattern, as well as studying and finding time for family and friends, is a huge achievement and their success is a credit to their determination, dedication, hard work and commitment.”

18 officers completed the fourth PCDA cohort and everyone did really well –  8 of them got a 2:1 and a further 8 got a 2:2 so congratulations to them all.

Posted on Thursday 20 June 2024

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