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What is PCDA?

What is Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship?

PCDA is a three-year programme that will see student officers gain a fully funded, BSc(Hons) degree and earn a full time wage by working as a police officer. Once officers have successfully completed the three-years they are able to explore the many career paths that are available at Bedfordshire Police.

This route to join as a police officer was developed from a need of progression and to recognise the hugely challenging job done by officers every day. It addresses the fact that policing is about so much more than just catching criminals. Policing is complex, it’s about problem solving, understanding social difficulties and working in an evidence-based way.

Over the years the role of an officer had developed and changed. Every day officers face complex problems, often dangerous situations, and includes a lot more digital investigation and the protection of vulnerable people. So, the training requirements have been updated to meet what is needed to be a PC today. 

Why a degree?

The skills needed to be a PC were then independently assessed by the Institute for Apprenticeships and others and was recognised to be at a degree level. This made the College of Policing understand that current officers are already operating at degree level.

This route is delivered in partnership with Anglia Ruskin University and is moving forward in professionalising policing and to recognise the work and level that student officers now work to as well as giving them a tangible and widely recognised qualification. 

The PCDA journey:

You will start your three-year journey with a 22-week initial training phases. During this period, you will learn how to use our IT programmes, the basic dos and don’ts of policing, personal safety training, law, role plays and everything else needed to prepare you for life as a police officer. You will be awarded your warrant card during a ceremony called an Attestation, where family and friends can also join and watch this special moment in your policing career.

The next phase is the 15-week tutorship where you will gain independent patrol status. During this time, you will work on response with a tutor on a one to one basis. They will guide you through each of the different jobs you will attend as a student officer and help you to achieve independent patrol status.

From then your time will be split between working on response and class room based/ protected learning time. In the first year your time will be split approx. 50/50 between off the job, classroom-based learning time and, on the job, learning in response. Over the remaining two years you will spend 80% of your time as a police officer on response with 20% classroom-based learning time. You will be expected to work towards and complete written assignments during the classrooms based/ protected learning time.

Modules on the course include crime investigation, understanding vulnerability, leadership and coaching, and specialist policing.

Once the three years are complete and you have passed the degree programme you will graduate and be a fully ranked officer. Officers and tutors are on hand to help you if you need more time or need to go to certain jobs to pass the course. 

As a fully ranked officer you will be able to take advantage of different training opportunities that are available and apply to work in different departments like community policing, firearms, cybercrime and more.

The salary of a fully ranked officer is £27,030 and will increase each year for the next seven years to reach £41,000.

You will start on this route at £24,780 and will increase to in the second year and third year. There is also a £1,000 yearly allowance added on top of the above salaries.

Salaries are on a scale system with yearly increases over the next seven years.

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