POLICE will be graduating from Huddersfield University along with thousands of other students this week.
The 136 student officers from West Yorkshire Police have completed a two-year police studies foundation degree course, studying practical and class-based work alongside their time on the beat.
The county’s Chief Constable, Sir Norman Bettison, was attending today’s ceremony alongside stage, film and TV star Patrick Stewart, who is the university’s chancellor.
This is only the second year the course has been completed after the force became one of the first in the country to provide such a qualification for its trainee officers three years ago.
It includes topics such as understanding social and community issues, professional and community partnerships and equality, plus diversity and human rights.
The student officers have also been on placements with community groups.
Pc Nicole Rubio-Senior, from Batley Neighbourhood Policing Team, is one of the student officers graduating today. She said: “It has taken a lot of time and effort to achieve this foundation degree.
“It has been difficult at times to manage to mix my normal operational duties alongside the university workload, but it has all been worth the effort.
“My first work placement was at the Drugs Intervention Programme and Lifeline. I sat in on various meetings with drug users and learned how officers were able to work with them in achieving a positive outcome.
“In my second year I worked with Kirklees Social Services, which tended to focus more on partnership working and helped us to realise how our partner agencies can help.
“As police officers you can often have preconceived notions of what other agencies can provide. The placement was really useful in seeing the different roles and functions they have. “I think it also helps to break down barriers when it comes to partnership working and ultimately bodes well for members of the public who receive our services.
“I’ve waited a long time for this to happen. It means a lot to have achieved this and hopefully I will be able to deliver the things I have learned back to the community here in Batley.”
Divisional training officer Julie Bates said: “Although the students will now come out of their two-year probationary period with a professional policing qualification, it also ensures they can step into the role as well-rounded officers who are fully aware of the issues they are likely to face when they take to the streets.
“The placements they undertake provide the student officers with an understanding of some of the issues facing our communities.
“It also trains them in building up good relationships with members of the public.
"All in all, the course gives them the best possible foundation for their future police career.”