PC Akeem Griffiths is in his first year of a three-year police constable degree apprenticeship (PCDA).
Before he decided to apply to become a police officer Akeem worked as a training consultant within the retail and financial sector, in the UK and overseas. Akeem’s role was to deliver customer service skills which included, communication and rapport building. He obtained a number of transferable skills from his previous job which included obtaining a great understanding of certain cultures.
Then he found out he could join to be a Met police officer through the police constable degree apprenticeship (PCDA) route. A fully funded course where you can earn a starting salary of more than £36,500 including allowances and the opportunity to gain a degree in professional policing practice on completion.
“I wanted a career where I could help people, something that felt rewarding. Once I found out that I could do that via the PCDA route and gain a degree with no debt it seemed like a great choice for me.”
PC Griffiths attends Anglia Ruskin East London Campus with around 30 other recruits most of whom are aged 18-22. The course requires recruits to be on campus for the first 17 weeks where students learn the basics of modern policing including the importance of officer safety. Officers also spend time learning policing laws and regulations as well as lifesaving first aid, how to apply handcuffs and the appropriate use of force and interview techniques.
“My mum was worried about me becoming an officer because of my safety” says PC Griffiths, who lives in south-east London. “ But the training we receive is really thorough so that we can keep the public, our colleagues and of course ourselves safe. Once she realised that, she felt better about me joining.”
Students study at one of four partner universities; Brunel University London, the University of West London, Anglia Ruskin University or the University of East London.
Following the initial 17 weeks at uni, Akeem then completed another 10 weeks of the course to gain his Independent Patrol Status (IPS) where he worked alongside experienced officers to get an insight into what policing London really involves. During this time Akeem was a key part of every-day policing; carrying out patrols, making arrests, conducting stop and searches as well as completing reports, all with assistance from his instructors.
“Once I gained my IPS I was out on the streets, policing London for real. It did feel a little daunting at first but I knew that I still had the support from my team,” says PC Griffiths.
Throughout the three-year course Akeem had to return to university for a week or two of further study, giving him the opportunity to reconnect with other students.
“The weeks when you’re back at uni are really beneficial as it gives you the chance to catch up with other officers and hear about their experiences. Although we’re all training to be officers we’re deployed across London so each of us have a unique journey and it’s great to be able to share your own experience and learn from others” says PC Griffiths.
While there are other entry routes into the Met, PC Griffiths saw the benefits to earn while you learn, gaining a (BSc) Hons degree in professional policing practice. The Met covers all qualification fees so there’s no cost to you, it’s all fully funded.
“Even if you are worried you aren’t academic or you haven’t considered a degree before, I’d recommend the PCDA course to anyone. If you put your mind to it, you can be a police officer and help protect others.”