Liverpool John Moores University is working with Merseyside Police to raise the standards of new officers policing Merseyside.
The ACC with special responsibility for people and training spoke of her pride and satisfaction of working with the university at the opening of a two-day summit on police education in the city.
ACC Sims joined Dr Carol Cox, Head of the Liverpool Centre for Advanced Policing Studies, to outline the partnership, which has come to be seen as a national model for police force training and standards.
The partners work together on initial police education, leadership training, research and more and recently celebrated the graduation of the first cohort of officers from the LJMU Degree Apprenticeships.
All twenty-four officers completed the apprenticeship – 10 achieving first class honours and 14 upper second class, with another 600 still in the process at various points.
Jenny Sims said: “There is a lot of trust in this partnership and it is reaping the rewards in terms of standards.
“Trust in the police locally is high, a fact we are very proud of but something we could not achieve without our officers being prepared to the highest possible standards."
“Everything we do is centred around the students to ensure they are happy" - Dr Carol Cox, head of the Liverpool Centre for Advanced Policing Studies
And referring to recent high-profile crimes on Merseyside, she added: “We have achieved the outcomes in court for victims and families due to high quality training and ensuring our officers and staff work as one team”
Police officers at all levels are increasingly completing university-based training, with a growing recognition that the complexities of modern policing require both practical, operational skills learnt on the job together with a more thorough understanding of communication, criminology, technology, critical-thinking and leadership.
Together LJMU and Merseyside Police deliver the Degree Apprenticeship, the Degree Holder Entry Programme and the Detective Pathway Programme, all regulated to College of Policing standards.
Jenny Sims says one of the strengths of the relationship is in each other’s confidence and ability to challenge the other. “We talk everything out. We are critical friends and hold each other to account; that’s how we get high quality training with a focus on standards and values”
The two collaborate on diversifying the police cohort, to help ensure officers are representative of their communities. There is much work to do but they have already taken steps towards ensuring a wide range of lived experiences and understanding ensuring all communities are represented by guaranteeing entry at Level 2 – a lower entry point than other forces in the country.
Merseyside Police has also invested in inclusion ensuring a great place to work and continues to make progress in relation to delivery of the Police Race Action Plan working with the Anthony Walker Foundation, part-run by LJMU lecturer Dominique Walker.
Carol Cox concluded: “Everything we do is centred around the students to ensure they are happy. It is not easy straddling university and operational policing. There is little doubt that the academic background makes them better officers, far better prepared to serve to public.”