With the growing popularity of distance learning, online courses and adult education, the notion of lifelong learning is becoming increasingly well-known and important to more people of all ages. Subsequently, the embracement of lifelong learning is often argued to enhance social inclusion and quality of life, as well as employability – so how can it benefit those embarking on prospective police officer careers?
The role of the police officer in UK society is constantly evolving and the responsibilities ever-changing. This is one of the factors that underpins police studies, and the varying facets of being an officer in specific historical (i.e. the 21st Century) and geographical (such as a small rural community on Dartmoor or in the centre of a major city) context is significant to degree-level learning.
How policing varies between times and places is just one focus of police officer degree courses, and much study time is also dedicated to criminology. Criminology is a relatively young subject covering the causes and reasons for criminal behaviour and draws from a number of philosophies established over the last few centuries – ranging from a focus on the individual to the environment in which the criminal lives.
It is perhaps this theoretical depth which makes police studies appealing to those who have been in the force for some time. Accompanying the study of methods of policing and criminology, there is also a significant amount of course time dedicated to debating punishment and the penal system in general – not only as to ensure such issues are dealt with fairly, but also to ensure that punishments are sufficient deterrents to crime.
Of course, punishment and laws are subject to evolve as much as methods of policing and the type of criminals police officers have to deal with. Consequently, establishing lifelong learning is important for those pursuing a career in the police force as fresh challenges and new responsibilities emerge, and the need to remain up-to-date is an ever-pressing matter. And with police officer degrees available to study online, it is possible to continue serving as an officer whilst doing your studies.