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Course aims to speed up time it takes to get Norwich bobbies on the beat

PUBLISHED: 15:06 19 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:34 02 July 2010

Students on the police course at Norwich City College.

Students on the police course at Norwich City College.

Tracey Gray

The need to get bobbies out from behind their desks to provide a visible presence on the streets has long been championed by families, community groups, politicians and the police themselves.

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The need to get bobbies out from behind their desks to provide a visible presence on the streets has long been championed by families, community groups, politicians and the police themselves.

Too often 'red tape' and form-filling has been blamed for keeping officers from pounding the beat.

But now a new college course being trialled in Norwich will go some way to tackling the problem by aiming to reduce the time new recruits spend as trainees in the police force.

City College Norwich, in partnership with Norfolk police, is pioneering the new Diploma in Policing and Public Safety.

The diploma, which lasts 18 weeks and started at the beginning of December, does not guarantee entry to the police force - the students will still have to satisfy the same assessment requirements as any other applicant.

However, while normally there is a two year training and probation period when someone joins the police force, the course aims to cut that down by 30pc.

Areas covered in the course, which is open to people of any age, include policing in Norfolk, neighbourhood policing, models and methods of police work, communicating with the public, and equality and diversity issues.

To complete the course, students attend City College Norwich one day a week for 18 weeks, as well as some time at weekends, combined with home study.

One of those taking part in the course is 49-year-old Stephen Bailey, who lives in the Golden Triangle area of Norwich.

He has already been accepted on to the police force and will start in June this year, so he is doing the course as a stop-gap.

He said: “The course has been really useful so far for helping us understand about engaging with the community and actually getting hands-on experience.”

Vicki Penney, 23, from Wymondham, is hoping to join the police and decided to join the course after hearing about it from friends who visited her mum's pub.

She said: “The course has been beneficial because of advice we are being given about the application process for the police; we are also getting to go out with police officers on the beat and see for ourselves first-hand what they do.”

Charlie Hall, assistant chief constable of Norfolk Police said: “If an applicant is successful following our standard recruitment procedure, the course will help reduce the time that individual will be in training once they join. This means fully-qualified officers can be posted into Norfolk's neighbourhoods quicker, rather than spending more time in the classroom.”

Dick Palmer, principal, City College Norwich added: “We are delighted that Norfolk Constabulary has chosen to develop this important new training course with City College Norwich.

“This is an outstanding example of how employers in any sector, public or private, can now work with the college and benefit from the fact that we now have the ability to develop new qualifications that meet employers' needs and which also carry national recognition.”

Do you think more needs to be done to get more police officers out on the streets? Write to Evening News letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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