On Wednesday 4th March, the Outreach Officers from the University Centre Leeds and University of Huddersfield held a Policing Taster Day at The West Yorkshire Police Training and Development Centre in Wakefield. The students that attended were from schools and colleges in West Yorkshire, and Wakefield College sent along a group of first year Level 3 Public Services students. The students were selected as they had previously expressed their interest in pursuing a career in the police and had chosen to study Level 3 Public Services to provide them with the skills and knowledge needed to work in the field of uniformed public services.
The day then started off with introductions from the force, and each of them spoke about their journeys and their roles; this provided the students with a useful overview of the different jobs available within the police force. As well as telling the students about the different roles in the police, they were also told about the various routes into the police, such as the degree apprenticeship, degree holder entry programme, volunteering opportunities, and the pre-join undergraduate degrees in Policing Studies or a similar subject.
The students also had the opportunity to explore the grounds of the centre. They were taken to see the police horses in the stables, as well meet the staff that look after them. They were then taken to see the specialist equipment that the police use on the job. The police officers showed the students the drones that they use, the equipment carried in a marked police car and even let the students inside the vehicle for closer inspection. This was exciting for the students and gave them a taste of what a day in the life of an officer consists of. The students also got to carry out a search and were taught the steps that the search teams take in order to retrieve prohibited items. It was great to see all the students from the different schools and colleges work collaboratively and as a team across the day’s activities!
In the afternoon, the students enjoyed a session delivered by an academic from Leeds Trinity University, during which they learned about the different degree options at university and gained an insight into the life of a student. They then got to take part in further activities, which showed them how the police collect evidence from a crime scene in order to identify suspects. This was clearly very exciting for the students and it was great to see them being so enthusiastic and asking lots of questions about this. When being shown how the police collect fingerprints from a crime scene, the students were able to provide their own prints and discuss the distinctive characteristics of them, which would make them identifiable. They then got their prints on a keyring to take home with them.
At the end of the day the students had the opportunity to ask any questions that had arisen throughout the day, which was a great way to round off the day and provide further information to help cement the days findings.
Overall, the day went down really well with the students. Verbal feedback that I received indicated that they thoroughly enjoyed themselves, were more aware of the different options in the police and were even more keen to pursue a career in this field. All in all, a fantastic and insightful collaborative event, and I must admit that even I was considering a future career in the police after attending this day!
Poppy Denston, HE Progression Officer at Wakefield College