Coventry students are about to join police ranks in the city after they were officially sworn in as Special Constables.
Eight Coventry University and Coventry University College students will spend a year as Special Constables with West Midlands Police starting this week. They will be volunteering after completing the first or second year of university studies in subjects including criminology, law and order and policing.
The students had to complete a rigorous recruitment and interview process.
The scheme is a UK-first initiative, involving Coventry University and Coventry University College along with the West Midlands Police.
The project is supported by funding from West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner and Coventry’s Local Police and Crime Board.
The new recruits – selected from 64 students who expressed an interest – will join the force in the city centre and Hillfields.
They’ll be challenged to identify an area of police work they could potentially improve, streamline or remodel and present proposals to address the issue in a year-end thesis – with the force looking to implement feasible recommendations.
Coventry Police Inspector Hasson Shigdar, project manager for the scheme, said:
The students come from a variety of courses including policing, criminology, psychology, planning, law and geography they all showed great enthusiasm during the selection process and I’m excited by the project.
They will identify an issue on their neighbourhood linked to crime or disorder, research it and come up with a number of options to use a partnership approach to tackle it, cut crime and protect the public. They can develop their ideas further in their final academic year whilst still working on the same police team part-time.
This is a great opportunity for the students to develop their law, crime prevention and problem-solving experience within the community. And the thesis won’t just be a theoretical piece of work it’ll be a chance to genuinely contribute to policing in Coventry.
Cllr Ann Lucas, Leader of Coventry City Council, added:
The young people reflect the important role that students have in the city. This is a great scheme and one that will benefit everyone involved.
Volunteer Specials are a crucial part of community relations in Coventry and having undergraduates involved is really exciting. The ceremony in which they are sworn in is a way of thanking all the partners involved and celebrating the efforts of the students, as a city we wanted to congratulate them all.
The students completed a 16-week Special Constabulary training programme as part of their preparations.
Sandrea Maynard, programme area leader for Law & Policing at Coventry University College, said:
The eight students from Coventry University and Coventry University College are to be congratulated on successfully completing the training to now be sworn in as Special Constables.
They will now have the chance to put what they have learnt in the classroom into practice and contribute to policing in the city where they study. This marks an exciting stage in what is a ground-breaking initiative.
West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner David Jamieson is funding the project through his department’s Innovation Fund. He said:
I am delighted to be funding this project that will harness the talents of some of our best young people, having eight young and dynamic people on board will be a big boost to policing in Coventry. I am excited to hear their proposals for how we can continue to improve the way that we work.