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Force’s young recruit encourages others to sign up for new two-year-degree course

June 28, 2020
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One of the force’s newest recruits who is in his final year of the policing degree is encouraging others to follow his lead and join up.

Toby Roberts has spoken of just how great an experience he has had since joining Nottinghamshire Police Force – where he does on the job training alongside his studying.

The force is urging people to come forward and sign up for its new two year degree course, which is being run by the University of Derby. Instead of the usual three-year under graduate degree, students get to do this inside just two years instead.  Alongside doing the degree, students are also being encouraged to sign up as Nottinghamshire Police Force special constables so they can quite literally start as a new officer in the force the day they leave the course.

Nottinghamshire is the first force in the country to get behind this new degree, which they believe will be a game changer.

When Toby joined Nottinghamshire Police as part of a new degree apprenticeship, he was realising a life-long dream by following in his father's footsteps.

Nick Roberts worked for Lincolnshire Police and in Hong Kong as a Police Constable and Superintendent, working abroad in a British colony for 18 years.

The 23-year-old is now thriving at the force having joined the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) entry programme two years ago. He's now into his final year of the policing degree that is run alongside his policing attachments. He will then join the force full-time next year.

He said: "My Dad and all his cop friends used to tell us all kind of stories when we were growing up. It's pretty cool to have that bond and relationship where we have both been through the same things now.

"It's nice to have that support and to be able to talk through things after you've come home after a really bad day. He'd give me general advice about investigations and how he would deal with certain situations.

"We still sit down and watch those police shows together and he gives me a running commentary! He's retired now, but I know he and the rest of my family are really proud of my role and what we do in the communities.

"He worked as an officer in Hong Kong, as it was a British colony back then. He met my Mum and we moved back to England and we've been back and forth a couple of times."

Toby studied Geography at the University of West England in Bristol after school. He worked in a call centre ahead of joining the police, and readily admits that year-long experience of disgruntled customers prepared him for the policing world.

He said: "I think having worked in a call centre, I knew it wasn't something I wanted to do for the rest of my life, although it's fair to say the angry customers have set me up nicely do deal with some of the trickier incidents we get called to.

"I didn’t want to sit in the office 9-5 every day. I wanted to have an exciting life. I didn’t want to be pushing paper around and policing gives you the opportunity to go out into the local communities and make that difference."

Toby is currently on attachment working for the Clifton Neighbourhood Team and is coming to the end of his second year and is due to pick his specialism for the upcoming and final year of the course.

He's already completed a year as a response officer in St Ann's and spent time on attachments with a number of departments including Public Protection, the Fraud and Cyber teams, CID and the prisoner-handling team.

He said: "I really enjoy the togetherness, meeting other cops and sharing experiences and learning from them.

“I love the teams I’ve already worked with. You spend so much time with them, you start to become really close friends with them and they are always there to support you. Even after coming back from a really grim job, you come back to the station and you get that smile back on your face."It's been great to gain that experience with multiple areas of the force. I absolutely love it. It's the best job in the world. I can see myself doing it for the next 30 years, just like my father did. There is always something to learn and there is always progression.

Follow the same path as Toby

The force has opened up a new way for people to join the force and follow in the footsteps of Toby and his Dad.

Applications are now being welcomed for aspiring police officers to fast-track their way to a career in policing, thanks to the launch of a pioneering new degree which aims to welcome graduates on to the frontline a whole year ahead of similar courses.

The two-year BA (Hons) Professional Policing (Accelerated) degree has been developed in partnership between Nottinghamshire Police and the University of Derby and is the first of its kind in the country.

The course, which begins in September 2020, has already generated significant interest in the new approach from applicants, with more aspiring students being encouraged to apply by 30 June 2020.

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic applicants are steadily increasing in the police force across Nottinghamshire, with 5.8 per cent of the police’s workforce currently from these backgrounds. The force is particularly keen to attract local people from diverse backgrounds as part of its Uplift programme.

Toby would encourage those wanting a career in the police to apply.

He added: "I can imagine a lot of younger people coming from school that would be attracted by the new course. It's a great opportunity to see what policing is all about and also get that fast-tracked two year degree."

Take the fast-track into policing

The University of Derby is now welcoming applications for the two-year BA (Hons) Professional Policing (Accelerated) degree, which is currently subject to validation by the College of Policing as one of its approved routes into policing.

For more information and to apply, visit the University of Derby website.

* The BA (Hons) Professional Policing (Accelerated) remains subject to University of Derby and College of Policing validation.

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