The Higher Education Contribution to Police and Probation Training: Essential, Desirable or an Indulgence

Published 15/09/2010
Type Article
Author(s) Jane Dominey, Andy Hill
Corresponding Authors Jane Dominey, Principal Lecturer in Community and Criminal Justice and Programme Leader for the Probation Qualification Framework, De Montford University

This article explores the higher education contribution to the qualifying training of police officers and probation officers and asks whether university study is an essential, desirable or indulgent ingredient in the education of people entering these careers. Claims for the benefits of higher education in vocational training for criminal justice work are examined, as is the extent to which possible benefits are delivered in practice. The importance of a graduate workforce, the potential for the experience of higher education to lead to organisational culture change, practice in the area of diversity and the exercise of professional discretion are all investigated. The article concludes that, in order to make an essential contribution to the training of these criminal justice workers, universities must deliver programmes that offer real academic challenge and opportunity. The article draws on research and policy as well as the authors’ experience as teachers and trainers in practice settings and in higher education.