PEQF Police Education Qualifications Framework | Suffolk Constabulary

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PEQF Police Education Qualifications Framework


The entry requirements for all Police Officer roles have changed, in line with the College of Policing’s Police Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF).

Police Constables will need to either hold a degree already, or study to gain one on the job.

PEQF is designed to support the development of the profession while acknowledging the high level of service required from an of an officer in today’s complex and challenging policing environment.

Suffolk, along with the six other eastern region forces, has partnered with Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) to educate new police officers.


The PEQF programmes

Police constable degree apprenticeship (PCDA)

The basics

Individuals can join the force as an apprentice:

  • for a minimum of three years
  • earning while they learn
  • gaining a degree in professional policing practice
  • potentially specialising in their third year 

Educationally they will need:

  • Level 3 qualification to UCAS points of 64+ (i.e two A level grade C, BTEC MPP/MM or equivalent) and these must be evidenced with valid certificates.
  • competence in written and spoken English

Key aspects of the PCDA programme

When considering this type of programme, forces should note that:

  • it is subject to Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) rules
  • it must be delivered in collaboration with an organisation that holds taught degree awarding powers (TDAP)
  • forces enter into formal contractual arrangements with a TDAP provider, following a procurement exercise
  • it must include a minimum of 20% off-the-job learning, averaged across the programme
  • all learning and support aspects must be delivered collaboratively, and as holistically as possible – bringing theory and practice together
  • in addition to the academic requirement to achieve 360 credits (with 60 of these credits being achieved within the End Point Assessment) candidates must also evidence occupational competence to independent patrol status in year 1 and full operational competence by year 3
  • an additional end-point assessment must be undertaken by an independent assessor in year 3
  • it is funded through apprenticeship levy funds, with potential for co-investment and transfer of levy funds from other employers to support more apprentices

Degree-holder entry programme

The basics

This programme:

  • is for anyone who already has a degree in any discipline other a Degree in Professional Policing licenced by the College
  • gives the individual a graduate diploma in professional policing
  • offers specialist pathways in neighbourhood policing and investigation (leading to accredited detective constable status)

Key aspects of the degree-holder programme

When considering this type of programme, forces should note that:

  • it covers the whole of the PCDA curriculum but with aspects relating to research and academic study removed (as they are already covered in previous degree study)
  • it has the potential for specialist pathways:
    • neighbourhood policing (currently only offered via Police Now)
    • detective (Police Now programme or in-house delivery) – includes the requirement to successfully pass national investigators exam (NIE) and to create a portfolio of evidence to specifically meet PIP 2 requirements 
    • Successful students achieve PIP2 accreditation as well as Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing
  • there is no external funding stream to support this route

Degree in professional policing

The basics

The degree:

  • is completed prior to joining the service
  • can be a three-year or a two-year version
  • can be taken alongside special constable voluntary service to develop operational competence alongside knowledge and skills

Key aspects of the Degree in Professional Policing

When considering this type of programme, forces should note that:

  • most are three-year programmes, but  a two-year version was developed in 2020
  • some universities are able to transfer students on pre-existing policing related degrees onto the second year of this programme to facilitate earlier finishes – subject to very specific criteria
  • university funding is by the individual with no cost to a force 
  • there is potential for a university to work with a force to offer special constable roles, students gain operational competence alongside knowledge and skill – where this is offered there may be some cost to a force in terms of supporting assessment of operational competence
  • successful students can apply to join the service and, if accepted, will follow an operational competence focused programme to achieve independent patrol status and full operational competence over a two-year probation period


Why have entry routes changed?

A fundamental requirement of a profession is the foundation on which practitioners (officers and staff) are allowed to exercise a high degree of individual autonomy and independence of judgement.

The criteria which define professional discretion vary, but common key components are:

  • a specialist knowledge base
  • a distinct ethical dimension
  • continuing professional development (CPD) requirements, and
  • standards of education

Policing did not have consistent, national education levels for all policing roles or ranks which reflected its current and future challenges, nor an entry level qualification that would be considered appropriate with that of a profession.

PEQF has been introduced to bring consistency in terms of the implementation, assessment and accreditation of initial police training across the 43 forces in England and Wales. This consistency can contribute to the professionalism of the police service and put policing in line with other professions with regard to its formal education standards.

This supports the NPCC and APCC Policing Vision 2025 which sets out the need for "clear and consistent requirements for entry into policing and for accreditation to defined ranks and roles in the service" and the support for "key aspects of policing training and development through academic accreditation which recognises the skills and knowledge of our workforce."

Recruitment lines are now open.

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