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Isaac Hepworth


United Kingdom
Upon visiting multiple University open days around the country, NTU’s Professional Policing degree was by far the best and stood as the benchmark to which I compared all the other open days.

More about Isaac

Why NTU?

What inspired you to study your subject?

"I have dedicated myself to joining the police for a number of years, first joining as a Police Cadet during GCSEs and A-Levels, before being lucky enough to have a week’s worth of work experience shadowing a number of teams which drove my interest and enthusiasm to pursue a career in policing. Studying Professional Policing was the next progression on that path.  

The Professional Policing course enabled me to gain an insight into policing within the classroom, working towards graduating with a degree at the end of the three years, all the while having the university experience of moving away from home and learning to live independently for the first time.

Learning the background, legislation and policing landscape from an academic perspective appealed to me in order to develop a whole-rounded understanding of the complex nature of crime and policing in the modern age, exploring subjects in more depth than you might ordinarily do in Police Training School.

I felt that studying at university would benefit my understanding and decision-making in the future when joining the police, as although it is ultimately a career where you learn on the job, having that academic overview and understanding would stand me in good stead, and benefit the police service."

Why did you choose your course and NTU?

"Originally, Nottingham Trent University was not what I had in mind. It was too close to home, and I was looking to move away for University. However, upon visiting multiple University open days around the country, NTU’s Professional Policing degree was by far the best and stood as the benchmark to which I compared all the other open days. To which no other matched.

From visiting NTU’s open day, speaking to lecturers and listening to their course presentations, I could clearly see how organised and professional the lecturers were, and that the course was well structured to develop upon each previous year’s learning, to provide me with the best knowledge from experienced ex-Police Officers and staff. After the open day, I was impressed with the course and knew that it was where I wanted to study. NTU was miles ahead of other Universities that were beginning to introduce this Professional Policing degree, which was new at the time.

One of the stand-out factors was the partnership with Nottinghamshire Police to apply for roles as a Special Constable or Emergency Call Handler alongside studying. NTU offered places to apply and join Nottinghamshire Police and a Special Constable, unlike other Universities who instead would only help write an application but had no formal links with their neighbouring police force.

In turn, the lecturers at NTU tailored their first year’s learning to the knowledge and legislation needed to prepare to become a Special Constable. This was all very appealing to me as I was eager to become a Special Constable alongside my university studies and NTU offered the best opportunity of achieving that."

What’s your experience been like of your course so far?

"My own experience of the Professional Policing course has been very positive. I’ve been introduced into the world of policing, moulding me into looking at and approaching things from a policing perspective. I’ve found the information learnt in lectures very interesting and stimulating, often involving many class discussions about past and present policing topics, current legislation, examples and incidents. Each lecturer has a different area of policing expertise, which you can tell they are genuinely passionate about and makes the lectures and content even more engaging, all of which is a better environment to learn.  

Furthermore, the course has had a number of guest lecturers visit to give their own experiences and expertise on a particular subject, sometimes ex-police or current active police officers. We have had guest talks from ex-Traffic Police Officers, Armed Response Officers, Digital Media Investigators, Drone Unit Officers, Community Cohesion and Liaison Coordinators, Under Cover Officers involved in investigating and dismantling Organised Crime Groups and Drug Trafficking."

Have you been involved in any projects or extra-curricular activities that have supplemented your studies run through NTU?

"I had the opportunity to be a part of a Mock Coroners Court at the end of my second year, alongside other NTU students from the Paramedic’s course,  mock Barristers from the Law course, and journalists in the back of the courtroom from the Journalism Couse. This was a very interesting experience, inside NTU’s Mock Court Room, indistinguishable from the real thing, seeing a Mock Coroners case through from the opening, witness statements, giving evidence myself from my provided witness pack, barristers cross-examining and then the Coroner’s final verdict on cause-of-death.

In addition, there was a collaborative exercise with students on the NTU Social Work course. This opportunity involved the Policing students and the Social Work students working on mock scenarios and incidents to understand effective joint working and the differing perspectives we both had on a single scenario and what different actions we prioritised based upon our backgrounds and experience. Overall this gave me a greater appreciation towards other services and their differing approach and considerations at an incident."

What does Social Sciences mean to you?

"The Professional Policing course is providing a professional service to the public at its core. Everything I have learnt has been driven towards providing a better policing service of the future, exploring the existing legislation and procedures in depth, alongside learning upon the mistakes of the past as well as discussing and anticipating the changing direction of the policing landscape of the future.  

The frontline services have been impacted by the austerity of previous years, like all public services have, and the course has explored this impact on the role of a Police Officer - changing from protecting the public, and preventing and investigating crime, to being a social worker, supporter, and working with people suffering from poor mental health.

Policing is a catch-all, it’s a wide variety of roles cobbled together, often splitting the opinions of what people think a Police Officer’s role and priorities should be. However, when there is a call for assistance from a member of the public the Police are often the last or only resort. It’s a job that is different on a day-to-day basis, which is what is so appealing and exciting to me, and although there are many ups and downs, it’s a rewarding career assisting and supporting someone in their lowest most desperate moment in need and throughout to the other side."

On Placement

Have you completed any work placements on your course?

"I have had the opportunity of serving as a Special Constable alongside my university studies, which have complemented one another perfectly. I've been able to put classroom learning into practice as a Special, and to take knowledge and first-hand policing insight gained as a Special back into my university learning.  

This is a voluntary Police Officer role, meaning it was suitable finding hours around lecturers and studying, but as a Special Constable you hold the same warranted powers as a Police Constable. While not a conventional ‘placement’ as such, where you may take a year out or summer to complete it, volunteering as a Special Constable runs alongside your degree studies and is unpaid. The experience itself is definitely worth it, and it gets you a foot in the door with the police, giving you opportunities, experience and employment interview examples that your other contemporaries just won’t have.

I joined a response policing team full of current Police Officers, and from clock-on to clock-off, I experienced the daily incidents that the police have to deal with, from out in the public to the paperwork afterwards back at the station. It gave me a whole-rounding unique insight into the job I was striving towards, developing my policing ability as I was able to get hands-on and involved in all aspects, and ultimately confirming it was the career path for me.  

Being a Special also contributed to my final year dissertation, as deciding on a topic can be difficult, too broad and daunting, however, I chose to investigate a subject that I was exposed to as a Special, and that I would not have known about otherwise. Upon further exploring the topic, I found there was a significant gap in the current academic research, and so as a Special I was able to canvas the opinions of 136 Response Police Officers and 9 Custody Sergeants gathering my primary research to benefit my academic study and success.

If you are wanting to become a Police Officer and are on this university course, I would definitely recommend pairing it with volunteering as a Special Constable, as the experience is invaluable, not only for knowing if the job is for you but also as a benefit to your degree."

Do you have any memorable moments from your placement?

"Every shift I have been on has been memorable. My first shift was definitely my most daunting and nervous, as putting on the uniform I was now a Police Officer who members of the public looked to for answers. At the very first incident I went to as a Special, in the first 10 minutes of my first shift, I was involved in discovering a cannabis grow in the loft of a house, and aided in dismantling and seizing it all for the following investigation and disrupting the supply of controlled drugs.  

Blue lighting within a police car is a thrilling experience, a mix of adrenaline, anxiousness - of what you’re going to be faced with at the incident, and an eagerness to get there as soon as possible to provide the much-needed help to members of the public. I have had exposure to many policing incidents, including Anti-Social Behaviour, Road Traffic Accidents, Missing Persons, Domestic Violence, Assaults, Rape enquiries and Sudden Deaths.  

It’s all a learning experience and the knowledge and intricacies of investigating live incidents that comes as second nature to regular Police Officers is a skill that develops with more exposure to a range of incidents and through having an active involvement in each. My confidence, decision-making and ability to professionally control incidents grew with the more shifts I went out on and the officers that I worked with."


What do you think of the support available from tutors and staff at NTU?

"The support from the lecturers on the NTU course has been great. The lectures are an open and a safe space to learn, as it can be daunting to put your hand up to answer or ask a question for fear of being wrong and embarrassing yourself in front of the other students. However, the lecturers have worked hard at making people feel comfortable enough to want to ask questions, and engage in learning, with student’s questions often sparking new lines of discussion in the class that lecturers are eager to explore.

I feel it important to reiterate the passion that the NTU lecturers have about policing and their area of expertise, and how this comes to the forefront in lessons and discussions.

If I ever had further questions, after we had moved on to a different topic in the lesson, or from my private study, lecturers would make time for me at the end of lectures to give me a comprehensive answer, or even out of lessons contactable through emails.

In my final year, with the largest piece of writing I had ever done in my dissertation, I received support and guidance from my dedicated tutor, in our 1-to-1 sessions, helping to spark ideas and how to structure my academic research project."

Outside of the Lecture Theatre

Did you find it easy to make friends and settle in at NTU?

"Everyone is looking for the group they belong to, especially at university when it is often their first time away from home on their own and in new surroundings. On the Professional Policing course, there were many like-minded individuals like myself, and so I found my group of people. I made many quality friends on the Professional Policing course, finding it easy to connect and form a strong friendship group who I have remained close with throughout the whole three-year degree, living with many of them in private accommodation for second and third years, and ultimately sharing the majority of my university experience alongside.

It may take time to adjust at first, some people are close with flatmates, others become friends with coursemates, and some are friends with people through societies. Just because you may not have found your people through your flat or course, doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to. It took me a while to find the friends I felt comfortable with, and I put myself out of my comfort zone going along and getting involved in Play-For-Fun sports sessions which have been a great way of meeting new people."

The Next Steps

What’s next for you after NTU?

"After graduating from NTU with a First Class Hons degree, I am joining the Police on a Fast Track to Detective Constable route, following on from my role as a Special Constable, as that is the area of policing that I am most interested in.

As part of the Fast Track to Detective Constable route, I will be working for a year as a Police Officer on response, responding to 999 and 101 calls, and building up my policing experience, before moving across to a Detective Constable role, working in CID and Public Protection, developing my skills as an investigator.

How is NTU helping you to achieve your career goals?  
The lecturers have provided me with great insight into policing and have gladly given me their advice on joining the police. Any questions I’ve had about the process or what I should be looking towards next, they have made time to go through the process and explain different routes available, all the while forwarding job opportunities to all of us, from the multiple recruiting forces reaching out to them.

The lecturers have taken time to have a genuine interest in my career prospects and interests, and have provided their advice based upon their own professional and personal experiences in the police, wanting me to get the best out of a career, that they loved and found much enjoyment in.

Particular thanks to one of the lecturers on the Professional Policing course who gave me his time and advice to help aid my preparation towards the National Sift and Online Assessment Centre process, that all new police recruits must sit, and also when I was invited to interview by the police force. This helped me towards securing a job with the police.  

The support from lecturers and staff goes beyond just lectures and assignments but also for personal and career issues that they are willing to provide support for. They’re willing to reply to emails in-hours and out-of-hours to answer questions, put on extra sessions or alter lesson structures to support learning, or even arrange 1-to-1 meetings to clarify and support those that may need additional help."


What top tips would you give anyone thinking about studying your course at NTU?

"For anyone thinking about studying Professional Policing at Nottingham Trent University, I would advise coming to an open day to get a feel for the university, the course and the lecturers that you’ll be engaging with and learning from. I would also advise visiting the city on your open day, as it enables you to also experience your surroundings in Nottingham, as it is important to feel attracted by the city you’ll likely be living in for the next three years, as the course you’ll be studying.

I would also advise applying to become a Special Constable alongside your university studies, as the two go hand-in-hand and complement both perfectly, enhancing your overall knowledge of the intricacies of policing. It is also important in determining whether it is still the career you want to pursue after experiencing it first-hand, but still not committing to it indefinitely by joining straight-out without prior exposure to policing.

Upon deciding and moving to university, I would advise going along to the Play-For-Fun sessions that NTU put on, as it enables you to be involved in a range of activities without having to commit to a society, allowing you to find a new sport you’ve never tried before and to connect and form new friendships outside of your student halls or your course."

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