Sheffield graduates join forces with South Yorkshire Police and Durham Constabulary

South Yorkshire Police and Durham Constabulary have welcomed 20 newly qualified Investigation Officers, after the group graduated from The University of Sheffield.

The Investigation Officers have received their Postgraduate Certificate in the Investigation of Vulnerabilities Crimes, seven months after enrolling on to a pioneering Investigation Officers course in June 2017.

The course, which is a national pilot, was developed by the School's leading criminologist Professor Joanna Shapland, in partnership with South Yorkshire Police, Durham Constabulary and the College of Policing, and was specifically designed with a bespoke curriculum for police investigators covering vulnerabilities offences including child exploitation, domestic abuse and human trafficking.

Photo of group

As part of the course, the Investigation Officers undertook 12 weeks of intensive training, including three weeks placement in the workplace, to gain experience of working with vulnerable people. Since their training ended, Investigation Officers from the South Yorkshire Police have been posted into a recently established Investigator Development Unit to consolidate their learning, build experience and achieve accreditation in line with national standards.

Detective Chief Superintendent, James Abdy, Head of Crime at South Yorkshire Police, said: “I’d like to congratulate all Investigation Officers who have been successful in completing this unique and challenging programme of study. The development of this specialist course, between policing and academia, forms part of our broader plan to improve service delivery to our communities, by improving and enhancing the skills of Investigation Officers working within public protection. Such officers, working together with detectives and staff from key partner agencies, play a vital role in protecting society’s most vulnerable people, supporting victims and bringing offenders to justice.”

The course is the result of a research grant awarded by the Police Transformation Fund of the Home Office.

Professor Joanna Shapland, leading Criminologist at the University of Sheffield, said: “We are delighted that we have been able to work in partnership with police forces to create this new and innovative course which trains investigators in relation to vulnerabilities offences. There is a real need for effective investigation and support for victims of these offences and we have been able to use our knowledge gained from research with victims and on the role of investigators, to combine with the skills of the police to create the course.”

Throughout the course, students gained knowledge and understanding of the legislation relating to criminal law and evidence, the impact on victims and those close to them and the measures to protect and support them, the research evidence in relation to the policing and investigation of vulnerabilities offences, and the roles of different agencies relevant to the investigation.

Following the success of the course, a second cohort of Investigation Officers have recently begun the university programme and will be commencing their first week of placement in the workplace next week.

More information about the Postgraduate Certificate in Investigation Vulnerabilities Crime is available here.