Thames Valley Police degrees launched at universities

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A university degree launched by Thames Valley Police will see some future officers pay for their own training.

Billed as an "alternative method of entry" to the force, the two-year course will cost up to £9,000, while in-house training is salaried and free.

The Thames Valley Police Federation said: "It's a way of passing on the cost of training to the individual."

The force said graduates would be 30 weeks ahead of regular recruits and receive a higher salary sooner.

The 120 foundation degree places at Oxford Brookes University, Bucks New University and the University of Northampton and an unconfirmed site, will be available next year.

Oxford Brookes will charge between £6,000 and £9,000, Bucks New will charge £7,500 and the Northampton course fees will be £8,500.

Thames Valley Police said it wanted to recruit "a significant percentage" of policing degree graduates from 2014, though a spokesman said it was too early to say what that percentage was.

There is no guarantee of a place on the force, but successful graduate recruits will be deployed "within days of joining".

'Objective review'

Traditional recruits spend two years training in-house on an Initial Police Learning Development Programe, while on salary.

Don Oldcorn, of Thames Valley Police, said: "Those who have completed the foundation course would be 30 weeks ahead of their traditional colleagues.

"If they are passed as fit for independent patrol they will get a pay increment."

He added the degree "opens up routes of entry to policing" and would be attractive to those who want to become a police officer but also want a university degree.

Graham Smith, chairman of the Thames Valley Police Federation, said he wanted to see an "objective review" after three years.

"We don't want it to close off any other methods of joining the police that would stop people from poorer backgrounds joining," he said.

The University of Central Lancashire first launched a policing degree in 2007.

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