Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary is one of the biggest police forces in the country delivering policing services to the people of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The force has retained a strong neighbourhood policing approach; with more police officers in frontline roles than average.
The Vision for the force is ‘Safe for Everyone’, with the scale of this challenge including policing across 1,500 square miles. Land is largely rural but with densely populated cities, combined with the changing face of crime (with similar trends to those nationally) in terms of increased reports of cyber-crime, child sexual exploitation and domestic abuse; a significant transport network including the M27 and M3, key rail hubs and two international airports; and critical national infrastructure sites to keep safe - such as the ports in Southampton and Portsmouth and crucial oil refineries.
As well as front line officers the force also employs staff in a variety of supporting roles including call handlers, detention officers, PCSOs, analysts and Police Staff Investigators. They also have over 500 apprentices in emergency contact handler, Police Community Support Officer and Police Constable roles – at various levels.
Recognising a lack of digital knowledge in the force, especially around the creation of mobile applications to reach their communities, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary looked at training and employment schemes they could benefit from in the workplace. Training undertaken would help to not only address their skills shortages, but to also support the organisation with their lack of knowledge and understanding of digital applications more generally.
The force realised the benefits T Levels could bring, through hosting T Level students on industry placement. Working with Fareham College they brought their second cohort of three digital T Level students into the force, on their 315 hour industry placements, tasked with helping the force to address their digital needs.
Kate Mason, Head of Training Design at Hampshire Constabulary said:
“Working with the next generation of learners through T Level industry placements enables us to learn about what students like to and want to learn so we can adapt our organisation accordingly. It also enabled us, as a business, to support and cascade our knowledge of new IT applications to students too.
“This opportunity didn’t only benefit students - by hosting T Level students on industry placement we have learnt from their knowledge and problem solving skills how to overcome some of our digital challenges. So, it has been transformative for us too.
“Getting buy-in from the senior leaders for their support in the T Level programme, getting Chief Officer Group governance and empowering other leaders to support the projects students are given helps with the success of the programme and thanks to T Level students we now have the applications we need at this moment in time, and the knowledge we need for when it’s time to review or change these.”
One of the challenges recognised by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary, and other police forces, to hosting T Level students on industry placement is the vetting of individuals and the granting of access to policing systems.
“There are hurdles to overcome, especially around vetting. Students were initially police checked rather than vetted. During the first term the students worked with student application accounts away from the Force network, meaning vetting was not required. During the beginning of the second term, students were spoken to, ensuring their commitment for the rest of the duration of their course. By this time students had completed a few projects which were ready to be brought into Force and tested - and it was at this point they were vetted at normal entry level and issued with networked laptops, ID numbers and cards under a volunteer role profile. Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary paid for the vetting as they would for any other volunteer role.
“We do all we can to make sure T Level students feel part of the team. We are an Employer of Choice and have a Positive Action team to support all employees. Once a student is established in our organisation we have support for all Neurodiversity’s and we have internal networks where students can gain support where needed. All employees undertake Equality and Diversity training. Students were an asset to us, and they should be proud of themselves for their impact they made.”
The success of the two cohorts of industry placements means Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary will be extending their industry placement offer to future students, with between 3 and 5 digital T Level student, and possibly T Level students in Business and Administration being offered industry placements from September 2023.
Find out how other businesses are using digital T Level industry placements: