Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA)
Earn while you learn with the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA), a three-year programme where you can study for a degree whilst training on the job.
From day one you will learn and train as a student officer and be appointed a Tutor Constable who will chart your progress as you alternate between periods of study and working on the front line, putting theory into practice with help from officers and staff. Everyone’s in the same boat so apprentices can share experiences and set up study groups.
By the time you have completed your three years, you will graduate as a fully-fledged Merseyside Police Officer and be awarded a BSc (Hons) Degree in Professional Policing Practice.
For those who don’t already have a degree, this is a great way to start a career with Merseyside Police, with a starting salary of £24,780, no student loan or tuition fees.
Method of study
In order to study for your degree as well as completing the practical training you will be given protected academic learning time.
This course will be delivered by Subject Matter Experts and experienced practitioners with a wealth of professional and subject expertise supported by a network of relevant subject specialists to prepare you with key transferable skills required for the role of Police Constable.
Your learning will be a mixture of face to face, remote and digital learning inputs with access to both Merseyside Police and Liverpool John Moores University learning platforms. Such inputs will be delivered via a mixture of attendance at Academy premises at Mather Avenue, in the workplace at your designated operational police station or upon occasion by studying from home.
How will I be assessed?
Assessment methods will assess your knowledge, understanding, skills, attitude and behaviour and will include: Written exams; Essays; Reflective Accounts; Work-based portfolio of work activity; Academic Posters; Practical role-play exercises; Tutor observation in the workplace; testimony from experienced colleagues; Case Study exercises; Professional Discussions; evidence based police research project; question and answer activities. There will also be assessment of your competence in relation to 1st Aid and Personal Safety.
What will the training be like?
The PCDA entry route will be a mixture of classroom and operational learning phases.
This commences with an initial 35 weeks learning phase (which also includes 2 x 1-week periods of holiday). This phase will include practical learning, for example, about making arrests, protecting vulnerable people, searching people and premises, responding to incidents, how to use protective equipment, using police IT systems, investigating crimes including interviewing people.
You won’t just learn practical skills though; there will also be learning related to important principles associated with policing, for example, the role of the police, the criminal justice process, ethics and standards within policing and decision making and discretion.
In years 2 and 3 you will attend further 4 week learning phases throughout each year during which your knowledge will be furthered enhanced either with new topics of learning or re-visiting previous learning areas. This will include inputs upon how to conduct and use evidence based policing research and implement this within policing practice.
This is where you will spend 10 weeks patrolling, whilst working shifts, with an experienced officer who will help you to develop your policing knowledge and skills ‘on the streets’. Here you could be called to deal with incidents such as a neighbour dispute, the sudden death of a person, a pub fight, a burglary or a report of theft. All of these will utilise the learning from your classroom-based phases of learning and assist you to develop and work towards becoming competent in your role as a police officer.
Throughout this time, you will be assessed in order to determine whether or not at this stage you can police ‘safely and lawfully’, not yet fully competent perhaps, but able to operate in obeyance of the law without putting others unnecessarily at risk. In being able to operate to this standard you will be deemed to be fit to attain independent patrol status (IPS).
Once you are deemed to have IPS status you will then develop your knowledge and skills further by policing on your own, or with colleagues, dealing with policing incidents in response to demands of the public and the police force. This phase will continue into your second and third years of development during which time you will have attachments to other policing functions. As a minimum you will spend time within response policing predominantly dealing with 999 calls; community policing dealing more with longer term community problems such as drug dealing and further time within the Investigation function investigating crimes that have been reported by the public.
It is during this phase of your learning that you will continue to be assessed against and develop your ongoing competence, as to how you deal with certain policing activities. Once you have achieved this full occupational competence (FOC), and passed the academic assessments (see below) then subject to you having also demonstrated good ethical behaviour in line with police standards you will then be able to be confirmed in the rank of Constable.
Throughout your apprenticeship learning programme, as well as the two work-based assessments stated above (IPS and FOC) you will need to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of all aspects of policing. To assist you with this there will be small informal assessments that will help you develop your knowledge and understanding but there will also be formal academic assessments that will assess the knowledge and understanding that you have gained whilst studying on your programme. These will be devised by LJMU our partner university but will consist of a variety of different types of assessment designed to also develop your policing skills. So for example, whilst at first glance a written assignment may appear to just be about writing about policing it also helps develop your research skills and your report writing skills, both of which will be required as part of your policing duties; similarly giving a presentation helps develop your communication, whilst a self-reflection can aid your decision making.
Towards the end of your 3 year programme you will undertake an ‘end point assessment’ which is a requirement of an apprenticeship; this will assess your overall progress of knowledge, understanding, skills and behaviours that you have developed whilst being on the apprenticeship.
You will need to successfully pass both the work based and academic assessments in order to be successful and be confirmed in the rank of Constable at the end of your 3-year probation period.
The learning programme for this apprenticeship is 3 years in length. During this time you will get 4 weeks of holiday a year, some of those weeks must be taken at certain times within your programme, others can be taken at your request subject to certain operational requirements (in other words whilst you are guaranteed the 4 weeks, you cannot be guaranteed to be able to take it when you may wish).
You will be required to work shifts throughout your programme (days and lates when in learning phases; days, lates and nights when in operational phases).
Are there opportunities to develop?
Once you have passed the probationary period you will have the opportunity to progress through the ranks and/or specialise in an area of policing that interests you most, dependent on the vacancies available in the force.
In choosing to partner with LJMU on this important work, Merseyside Police will be drawing on the expertise of the Liverpool Centre for Advanced Policing Studies (LCAPS), established by LJMU in 2015. This centre has prospered since its inception and is now one of the largest policing centres in the UK. LCAPS contains a wealth of professional, practical and academic experience, situated in the heart of the city. LCAPS uses this experience to conduct research, for example, staff just completed an evaluation of fast track detective recruitment schemes on behalf of the National Police Chiefs’ Council ongoing review of detective recruitment and retention. The centre also has a number of experienced and high profile former senior police officers from Merseyside Police, Cheshire Constabulary and Lancashire Constabulary who assist with training clients such as the International Cricket Council and the Royal Military Police.
- We are proud to offer a competitive starting salary of £24,780 which will rise to £41,130 after a period of 7 years
- Annual leave entitlement is 22 days per year rising to 30 days depending on length of service
- Range of Sports Clubs
- On site gym facilities
- Wellbeing and mindfulness sessions
- Blue Light Card Discount
- Member of the police pension scheme
- Continuing Professional Development
- Career Progression
To help make Merseyside Police representative of the communities we serve, we have a dedicated Inclusion team who provide support and guidance throughout the recruitment application process to candidates from underrepresented groups. You can learn more about the support available here.
To undertake the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) you will need to meet the minimum criteria as outlined below:-
- To have achieved a minimum of a Level 2 qualification in Maths and English Language A*-C or 4-9 or equivalent. Please ensure you upload these when making your application as we require these in order to progress you further in the process. If you have international qualifications, we will be able to check these for you in terms of whether they are of equivalent level to the UK qualifications so please ensure you upload these as part of your application.
- If you have already achieved a degree in any subject, you can still apply, but this process is primarily aimed at those without degrees, and you would have to undertake an additional degree. We would ask those with degrees to consider applying for the Degree Holder Entry Programme when our recruitment lines next open.
- If you are currently studying for a degree, you are eligible to apply for this entry route but you will be held at a certain point of the recruitment process to determine a suitable training programme for you taking into account any recognised prior learning you may have.
- Be over the age of 17 to apply – although we will be happy to take your application, you will not be offered an intake date which starts prior to your 18thbirthday so please bear this in mind when applying as this could make your application process quite extended.
- Have not had a Police Officer application rejected by ourselves, or another Force in the last 3 months
- Not be a member of an extreme political organisation such as BNP, Nation Front or Combat 18
- Not have any tattoos (irrespective of what they are) on the hands, face or neck that are visible above the collar line or below the cuff line
- Not have any tattoos that may be deemed inappropriate, offensive, or lewd in nature irrespective of placement on the body
- Not have any charge or summons currently outstanding against you
- Have not been sentenced to a custodial sentence
- Not been registered as a sex offender
- Not be currently registered as bankrupt
To join Merseyside Police you will go through the following stages:
- Check Eligibility
- Application Form
- Candidates then go through to an online assessment which has -
- Situational Judgement Test
- Competency-based video interview
- Written exercise and briefing exercise
- Successful candidates will be invited to interview
- Pre employment checks are then completed which consist of:
- Sickness absence
6. Final reference checks for any successful candidates once offers are made
Frequently Asked Questions
If you would like more information available about this PCDA entry route, please visit our FAQ page here.
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Please note: Our Police Officer PCDA programme is currently closed.