Merseyside Police and Liverpool John Moores University can confirm that a project to assess the feasibility of a joint academy has been given the go-ahead.
The force and university have been working together for the past ten years to strengthen ties between academic study and policing. In 2009 the organisations introduced police-based academic programmes for police officers and staff wanting to enter higher education.
This was followed in 2015 by the establishment of the Liverpool Centre for Advanced Studies (LCAPS) which offers undergraduate and post graduate courses aimed at serving police officers and staff, as well as students with career aspirations in policing.
Thanks to this relationship, and following extensive discussions, the force and university are now exploring how feasible and beneficial it would be to set up a joint academy bringing together academic teaching staff and police trainers potentially on one site.
The concept supports a drive from the College of Policing (COP) to encourage police forces to support employees in developing themselves through academic study, as well as giving the police officers of the future the chance to gain a degree before or during their recruitment into the police.
The University is an approved provider for the College of Policing and with a credible history of continued excellence in this field, a joint academy would enable the development of courses, training and research programmes on subjects such as forensics and cyber investigation.
Merseyside Police’s Chief Constable, Andy Cooke, QPM, said: “This is an exciting development which will benefit both organisations, the city region and the communities my officers and staff serve. By investing in the development of our people we will create officers and staff better able to tackle the policing challenges that lie ahead.
“We already have a strong partnership with LJMU and many members of the force are studying for academic qualifications there in addition to their policing jobs. A joint academy would allow students with aspirations to go into policing to learn alongside serving officers and staff studying for extra qualifications, giving them a fantastic insight into real life policing. It would also enable the university’s academics and the force’s trainers to work side by side and learn from each other.”
LJMU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nigel Weatherill said: “Merseyside Police and LJMU have shared values and focus. We are both ambitious organisations looking to provide the best environment for our staff and students to flourish and grow. We have been a natural fit from our first collaboration, and looking to the future, we know that we can work together to develop a wholly new and progressive framework for the professional development and education of the police officers and police staff of today and tomorrow.”
Jane Kennedy, Merseyside Police & Crime Commissioner, added: “In this era of austerity it is more important than ever that we police our communities as effectively and efficiently as possible, sharing knowledge and understanding to improve the ways we prevent crime, care for victims and keep people safe.
“A joint academy, if developed, would ensure we are investing in our most important asset – our people – and making sure they are as prepared as possible to tackle the challenges they face.
“Assessing the feasibility of a joint academy, and the benefits one might bring to both organisations and their people, is a significant step towards ensuring the force is using the most advanced academic research and technology to rise to the challenges of modern day policing.”
Following the decision to embark on a feasibility study a project team has been set up to look at recommendations from the scoping report, including options for where the training academy might be located, how it would be financed, what training and academic packages could be offered, and a detailed consultation process with trade unions and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.