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Dyfed-Powys first to graduate degree officers with two-year diploma

Dyfed-Powys Police is the first force in the country to pass out graduates with the new diploma in policing.

Eight officers with Dyfed Powys are the first in England and Wales to complete the complete the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) at the University of South Wales.

With backgrounds ranging from sports management to criminology and biology, the group now hold a Graduate Diploma Professional Policing Practice.

The programme forms part of the Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF) and is a two-year graduate diploma.

From the first day of the course, the group became both serving police officers and USW students. Student officers gained independent patrol status by the end of the first year, and were required to complete an Operational Competency Portfolio by the end of year two.

They are set to be based across the force as fully licensed police officers responding to calls and investigating incidents.

The group marked their achievement with a virtual passing out parade on Friday and will have a reunion for a formal ceremony once restrictions have been lifted.

Superintendent Ross Evans, force lead for Learning and Development, said: “Not only have they been the first cohort to combine real-life policing experiences on division with academic learning, but they have successfully managed this while reacting to the operational changes and challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I have no doubt that the theory and practice of the diploma, coupled with the support from University of South Wales and our in-force learning and development department, will have put them in very good stead as they begin their careers with Dyfed-Powys Police in earnest,” he said.

Getting the first cohort of officers through brings to an end a process of modernisation that had included a legal challenge brought by opponents. And with thousands more from the Uplift recruitment drive set to follow them, the Class of 21 will be the start of a generational shift in policing.

But Federation reps are already warning that the pressure on sergeants who must mentor them is significant and all eyes will be on retention figures – especially as a degree will open career alternatives earlier.

Beating the rest of the country to the post will also be marker for the force’s Chief Constable Mark Collins who is stepping down.

The College of Policing praised the force for embracing the reforms.

Jo Noakes, Director of Workforce Development at the College of Policing, said: “This is a significant milestone in the adoption of the new initial entry routes into policing as they are the first in England and Wales to complete any of the new programmes for police constable.

“We would like to commend Dyfed-Powys on their enthusiastic and positive approach to the challenge of bringing the new learning programmes to life.

"This is a huge achievement, particularly in the context of the national police uplift programme and the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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