Operational Policing

Work based learning with the Police

The University of South Wales supports police officer training in multiple Police Forces across England and Wales ensuring by the end of their training, officers will be educated to degree level, whichever route they choose.

Dependent on their qualifications when joining the police, new police officers will be required to commit to study through a combined work and study route within their local constabulary. There is also an option to study a pre-join degree before applying to the police service.


What qualifications and training are required in the Police?

The College of Policing, whose purpose is to develop police standards, have begun to implement a Policing Education Qualifications Framework which includes nationally recognised and accredited qualifications for the police service.

The University of South Wales are a licenced to deliver these qualifications in the workplace, which include a degree apprenticeship and graduate diploma in Professional Policing Practice.


Degree Apprenticeship

Jemma Dicks police

Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA)

If you join the police without a degree-level qualification, you can follow a three-year professional degree apprenticeship known as the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA).

This study route includes on and off-the-job learning. On completion, you will gain a BSc (Hons) Professional Policing Practice degree.

Your learning journey will consist of academic modules that has practical elements integrated into them. You will be required to evidence practical competency by completing an Occupational Competency Portfolio (OCP) of the skills you have demonstrated in the workplace.

You will need to achieve Independent Patrol Status (IPS) by the end of your first year and complete the portfolio by the end of year 2. To successfully complete your 3 year probationary period and attain the qualification you will need to have evidenced all practice based competencies, passed all academic modules and (where not already achieved) attained the equivalent of Functional Skills Level 2 in English and Mathematics as prescribed in the College of Policing requirements for this qualification.


Year One

  • Role of the Police I
  • Responding to Incidents I
  • Continuous Improvement I
  • Working with Communities I
  • Prevention and Protection I
  • Evidence and Investigation I

Year Two

  • Role of the Police II
  • Responding to Incidents II
  • Continuous Improvement II
  • Working with Communities II
  • Prevention and Protection II
  • Evidence and Investigation II

Year Three

  • Modern Policing and Investigations
  • Intelligence Led Policing
  • Management in Policing
  • Occupational Competency Portfolio Review (EPA)
  • Evidence Based Project (EPA) (40 credits)

Please note: All modules are worth 20 credits unless otherwise stated.

 The University’s PCDA Course handbook contains important information about the course is a valuable resource during your studies. Handbooks available are tailored to each partner constabulary.


Graduate Diploma

Gloucestershire Police

Degree-holder Entry Programme (DHEP)

If you already have a degree when you join the police, you can join and follow a two-year work-based programme known as the Degree-holder Entry Programme (DHEP).

This study route is supported by off-the-job learning. On completion, you will gain a Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice

Your learning journey will consist of academic modules that has practical elements integrated into them. You will be required to evidence practical competency by completing an Occupational Competency Portfolio (OCP) of the skills you have demonstrated in the workplace.

You will need to achieve Independent Patrol Status (IPS) by the end of your first year and complete the portfolio by the end of year 2. To successfully complete your 2 year probationary period and attain the qualification you will need to have evidenced all practice based competencies and passed all academic modules.


Year One

  • Role of the Police
  • Responding to Incidents
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Working with Communities
  • Prevention and Protection
  • Evidence and Investigation

Year Two

  • Response Policing (Advanced) 
  • Community Policing (Advanced) 
  • Modern Investigations (Advanced)


Please note: In year one, all modules are 10 credits and in year two each module is 20 credits.



The University’s DHEP course handbook contains important information about the course is a valuable resource during your studies. Handbooks available are tailored to each partner constabulary.



Admissions Advice and Eligibility

To be eligible to study the degree apprenticeship or graduate diploma in professional policing you need to be a serving police officer in one of our partner constabularies. Serving police officers satisfy the academic entry requirements having passed the recruitment and selection process to join the police.


Partner Constabularies