From education to employment

Crime commissioner hails new criminology degree course

A new degree course designed to prepare students for careers in the criminal justice system has been given the seal of approval by Durham’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

The BA (Hons) in Sociology and Criminology, which has been validated by the Open University, is starting at Bishop Auckland College in September and is ideal for anyone considering roles including policing, probation services, youth work and rehabilitation.

Its launch coincides with the ongoing nationwide police recruitment drive; forces across the country are taking on 20,000 additional officers, including 226 new recruits at Durham Constabulary, by March 2023.

In recent years entry requirements for new police officers have been toughened and applicants must have either a Level 3 qualification/A Levels, or GCSEs and some relevant life experience, to be eligible to join a police force through the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) scheme, or a degree to join via the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP).

A starting salary of more than £24,000 rises to over £41,000 within seven years, and for those with even loftier ambitions, salaries increase to more than £90,000 for Chief Superintendents.

The new degree course, which follows the launch of a Level 3 in Criminology and Policing four years ago, can be studied on a full-time basis – attending college one day each week and studying independently for a further full day each week – over three years, or part-time over six years.

The programme covers modules including criminological theory, forensic psychology, social inequalities and social science research.

Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen

Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen #DurhamPCC said the degree would give those graduates pursuing a career in policing an advantage in terms of completing the various modules and assignments on the Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice, and an early insight into the knowledge needed to become a police officer.

She added: “I’m delighted to see Bishop Auckland College expanding their crime, policing and public service offer and warmly welcome this new sociology and criminology degree.

“As someone who has studied both I know how interesting and insightful the content of the course is and how transferable the degree will be. The qualification will no doubt enable graduates to pursue the many opportunities that exist for those wanting to a career in uniformed services, rehabilitation services or public sector.

“As Police and Crime Commissioner I very much want to work with local schools and colleges to explore community safety volunteering, employment and training opportunities and it’s fantastic to see Bishop Auckland College launch the new degree and look forward to meeting and speaking with the new students during the course of their studies.”

New police recruits at Durham Constabulary in 2020

Katy Dixon, the college’s Higher Education Co-ordinator, was previously a serving police officer and has been heavily involved in the development of the new course.

She said: “There are so many potential career routes this degree can lead to within the criminal justice sector, including roles in the Probation Service, the Prison Service, the Civil Service and criminal profiling as well as the police service. We are delighted to have secured both the validation of the Open University and the support of our Police and Crime Commissioner for the new course.”

Applicants who already hold a Foundation Degree (or similar Level 5 qualification) in a related discipline could be eligible to complete the one-year ‘Top Up’ to complete their overall BA (Hons) degree with the college.

For more information and to apply for the BA (Hons) in Sociology and Criminology visit:

Related Articles