Criminology, Investigation and Policing
Start date(s)
Direct Applicant to the West Yorkshire Police Website
Study Mode
Full time (3 years)
Main Campus (Horsforth)

Course overview

BA (Hons) Professional Policing Practice

This work-based programme is designed to provide the essential knowledge, understanding and skills required to operate effectively as a modern Police Officer.



The Student Contract

About this course

This apprenticeship is suitable for school/college leavers and career changers who wish to pursue a career as a Police Officer in West Yorkshire Police.

It will allow apprentices to combine workplace learning opportunities with theoretical knowledge gained through a number of formal classes which are relevant to modern-day policing.

The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) route into policing enables you to receive practical on-the-job learning alongside academic theory and knowledge while earning a salary of £23,556 (increasing to a minimum of £28,932 after three years, subject to performance). Starting salaries are reviewed annually. You will be a police officer from your first day on the job but will be required to successfully complete the course to be confirmed in the role.  

The PCDA covers areas that are critical to effective policing in the 21st century, such as evidence-based policing, supporting vulnerable people, dealing with cybercrime and crime prevention.

  • There are no direct fees paid by the apprentice as the programme is fully funded by the West Yorkshire Police apprenticeship levy
  • Successful apprentices will gain a degree in Professional Policing Practice
  • Your time will be spent across a combination of sites including Leeds Trinity University campus, West Yorkshire Police Training Centre at Carr Gate in Wakefield, and within the local policing Districts of West Yorkshire – Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds or Wakefield. This will also be supported by online delivery.

West Yorkshire Police logo.

About West Yorkshire Police

West Yorkshire Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing West Yorkshire in England. It is the fourth largest force in England and Wales.

Programme duration and delivery

It will typically take three years to complete the apprenticeship.

Apprentices will benefit from lectures and seminars delivered at Leeds Trinity University

On-campus learning is supported by a variety of online tasks and independent research activities which can be undertaken in the workplace.


Note: This course will only run if minimum student numbers are met.

Year 1

During your first year, you'll study six core modules.

An introduction to the Police Service and your apprenticeship (core) The investigation process (core) Policing society (core)
Investigative skills (core)

This module delves into the intricacies of the investigative process, addressing information and intelligence gathering, interviewing techniques, and an evidence-based approach to tackling serious and complex criminality.

Apprentices will acquire skills in evaluating intelligence from diverse sources, navigating complex investigations, considering memory's impact on interviews, and applying lessons from past investigations to future cases.

The curriculum emphasizes evidence-based policing, teaching students to identify constraints, critically evaluate evidence, and differentiate between 'volume and priority' and 'serious and complex' crime for effective problem-solving in policing.

Supporting witnesses, victims and the vulnerable (core)

Apprentices will delve into ethical approaches when dealing with the vulnerable and those at risk, exploring legal complexities, good practices, and attitudes in victim and witness treatment.

The curriculum encompasses public protection in policing, addressing offenses, strategies, and the intricate links between Serious Organised Crime Groups and public safety.

Lastly, students learn effective evidence gathering, policing standards, the influence of personal values on investigations, and strategies for communication in a policing context.

Community-orientated policing (core)

This module focuses on community policing, covering key issues, effective communication in various contexts, and the impact of crime on local communities.

Apprentices will explore crime prevention, the relationship between community engagement and evidence-based policing, and develop skills in effective team-working and problem-solving techniques.

In practice, the module emphasizes understanding effective police action, fostering partnerships, and engaging communities to enhance the purpose and value of community policing. The course integrates theoretical knowledge with practical applications, preparing apprentices for the complexities of modern community-oriented law enforcement.

Year 2

During your second year, you'll study six core modules.

Operational Policing (core)

This module provides apprentices with the opportunity to specialize in policing, choosing roles like investigator, response officer, or neighborhood officer.

Potential investigators focus on complex investigations, victim support, and appropriate interviewing techniques, while response officers address challenges in policing, communication strategies, and handling critical incidents.

Neighbourhood officers emphasize community policing strategies, interventions for community engagement, and all officers learn about intelligence gathering, cross-border cooperation, and roads policing procedures.

Contemporary Policing (core)

Apprentices will explore contemporary policing issues, delving into theories on victimisation, the impact of early intervention, and approaches to managing vulnerable individuals and youth gangs targeting them.

They will examine public protection practices, considering the influence of personal attitudes, the role of MAPPA, and the media's impact on policing strategy.

Apprentices will also delve into digital crime, covering internet-facilitated crimes, investigative procedures, and counter-terrorism strategies, including organisational structures and potential insider threats within the police service.

Criminology (core)

This module aims to explore contemporary crime explanations, addressing critiques of 20th-century theories and introducing the latest 21st-century frameworks.

Apprentices will examine these emerging frameworks within the contexts of evolving crime markets and contemporary changes in political economy, culture, social theory, psychoanalysis, and philosophy.

Advanced Investigative Skills (core)

This module delves into the intricacies of investigative processes, focusing on information and intelligence gathering, interviewing in complex circumstances, and adopting an evidence-based approach to serious and complex criminality.

Apprentices will acquire skills in evaluating diverse intelligence sources, applying memory concepts to interviews, and optimizing evidence for effective policing solutions.

The curriculum emphasizes understanding the nuances between 'volume and priority' crime and 'serious and complex' crime, highlighting the links between serious organized crime and public protection issues.

The Skilful Officer (core)

Apprentices will explore theories and practices of communication, including non-verbal skills and effective presentations for professional settings, as well as the process of conducting operational briefings.

The course also delves into decision-making, teaching students to evaluate operational decisions, consider the impact of the National Decision Model, address accountability in risk assessment, and navigate ethical considerations crucial to the decision-making process.

In the realm of teamworking, apprentices will acquire team-building skills, understand team dynamics, and develop strategies to enhance individual and team performance based on objective analysis of police models.

Advanced understanding of the Police Service (core)

Explore professional standards in the police service, comparing them to other similar organizations. Analyze processes preventing malpractice and assess external bodies like the IPCC and HMICFRS holding the police accountable.

Examine factors leading to misconduct in positions of authority and their impact on policing. Evaluate strategies for handling organisational culture and explore progress within the police service to enhance professional standards.

Analyse ethical theories, applying professional approaches to policing with a focus on fairness, ethics, and integrity.


Year 3

During your final year, you'll study four core modules.

Advanced Professional Practice (core)

Apprentices will have chosen their police specialism at this stage and so will have the opportunity to attend teaching around either response policing, community policing or investigative policing.

All apprentices will also learn the principles and processes of an effective communication strategy and how to use social media as a means of informing and engaging with the community and promoting policing initiatives.

An Introduction to Coaching, Mentoring and Assessment (core)

In this module, apprentices will learn coaching and mentoring skills that will be useful to them in their service.

Coaching and mentoring models will be taught and apprentices will be given opportunity to put those into practice.

Apprentices will learn about assessment in the police and how assessment processes inform and maintain consistent, professional standards.

Leadership in Policing (core)

This module will include content around the concept of policing as a profession; it will consider the bodies and policies that have supported and helped develop this professionalism; and the impact this has had on the service. The role of the College of Policing and its business in the role of professionalising the service will be considered.

Apprentices will have the opportunity to consider their own leadership style and develop strategies to employ the most effective leadership style for a given situation in a policing context.

Research project and End Point Assessment (core)

This module empowers apprentices to investigate a pertinent police-related issue, sourced from the West Yorkshire Police Knowledge Bank or their specific specialism.

Through structured sessions, one-to-one supervision, and a blended learning approach, apprentices will develop research skills, focusing on elements such as research design, ethics, data interpretation, and presentation methods.


Learning and Teaching

At Leeds Trinity we aim to provide an excellent student experience and provide you with the tools and support to help you achieve your academic, personal and professional potential.

Our Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy delivers excellence by providing the framework for:

  • high quality teaching
  • an engaging and inclusive approach to learning, assessment and achievement
  • a clear structure through which you progress in your academic studies, your personal development and towards professional-level employment or further study.

We have a strong reputation for developing student employability, supporting your development towards graduate employment, with relevant skills embedded throughout your programme of study.

We endeavour to develop curiosity, confidence, courage, ambition and aspiration in all students through the key themes in our Learning and Teaching Strategy:

  • Student Involvement and Engagement
  • Inclusion
  • Integrated Programme and Assessment Experience
  • Digital Literacy and Skills
  • Employability and Enterprise

To help you achieve your potential we emphasise learning as a collaborative process, with a range of student-led and real-world activities. This approach ensures that you fully engage in shaping your own learning, developing your critical thinking and reflective skills so that you can identify your own strengths and weaknesses, and use the extensive learning support system we offer to shape your own development.

We believe the secret to great learning and teaching is simple: it is about creating an inclusive learning experience that allows all students to thrive through:

  • Personalised support
  • Expert lecturers
  • Strong connections with employers
  • An international outlook
  • Understanding how to use tools and technology to support learning and development


Throughout the programme, apprentices are assessed via various methods including:

  • presentations
  • assignments
  • practical scenarios
  • exams

Apprentices will also create an Operational Competence Portfolio of evidence.  Towards the end of the programme, each apprentice will undertake the 'End Point Assessment' which has been designed to ensure that the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the apprenticeship standard have been developed.  The End Point Assessment will consist of an evidence-based research project, a presentation, and professional discussion which builds on the Operational Competence Portfolio.


About Negotiated Learning:

All apprentices will work with their employer to agree on the central theme of their work-based learning for Negotiated Learning modules. These themes will be based on the apprentice’s desired Professional Qualification and the Degree Apprenticeship Standard. Apprentices, Employers, and Mentors will come together and agree upon the preferred Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSBs) that the apprentice will focus on during each module.

Entry Requirements

Leeds Trinity University is committed to recruiting students with talent and potential and who we feel will benefit greatly from their academic and non-academic experiences here. We treat every application on its own merits.

The following information is designed to give you a general overview of the qualifications we accept. If you are taking qualifications that are not included below, please contact our Admissions Office who will be happy to advise you.

  • 80 UCAS points. You can check your qualification UCAS points using the Tariff Calculator on the UCAS Website.
  • Have a Level 3 Qualification (equivalent to 2 A Levels), or appropriate experience as a Special Constable or PCSO. If your Level 3 qualification does not meet the minimum UCAS points, completion of a 1000-word essay would need to be undertaken as part of the selection process, for consideration of suitability, by Leeds Trinity University.
  • Be 17 years old or over. There is no upper age limit. You can start the application process if you are 17 years old, but you must have reached 18 years to start the course.
  • Pass grades in both English Language and Mathematics at Level 2 / GCSE (A*-C or 9-4) or equivalent.
  • Must have no criminal convictions (minor offences will be considered on an individual basis).
  • Meet West Yorkshire Police attendance standard (this relates to absence in your previous role/s if relevant).
  • Be able to pass the job-related fitness test.
  • Comply with the West Yorkshire Police tattoo policy.
  • Pass the police vetting checks.

Please note, the application process can take up to 12 months, depending on the applicant.


Leeds Trinity University offers extensive support to all of our apprentices - whatever your background or academic experience.

This includes access to the Learning Hub, which offers tailored support for academic skills.

Fees and finance


Degree Apprenticeships are fully funded by your employer if their wage bill is over £3 million each year.

The government will fund up to 95% of the apprenticeship’s course fees, up to the relevant funding band, if the organisation has spent all its levy or has an annual wage bill below £3 million each year. Employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy contribute 5% towards the total cost of the apprenticeship, the ESFA will contribute the other 95% directly to the University. Employers must have an account with the Apprenticeship Service Account to be able to reserve Government funding for an apprenticeship. This reservation ensures that funds will be available to pay for the training from the point the apprenticeship starts.

Read more about how levy payments work from the UK Government website.

How to apply

Whether you’re looking to develop your skills with us as an apprentice, or you’re an employer looking for more information on using Leeds Trinity University as a training provider, please complete the form below and we will contact you to discuss your options.

Get in touch

About Leeds Trinity University

Our professional Apprenticeships combine part-time study at Leeds Trinity University with workplace training. We've been providing outstanding provision in higher education for over 50 years and have significant experience of delivering work-based learning programmes. We're proud to offer a personal and inclusive university experience that gives everyone the support they need to realise their potential. Our teaching staff have extensive and relevant professional experience.