Investigators crack their degrees to graduate
Released: Thursday 12th July 2012 at 15:15
FIFTEEN police investigators are celebrating today after graduating with a specialist qualification in ‘investigative interviewing’ – a unique course that has been pioneered at the University of Sunderland.
Hailing from forces across the UK, the investigators are graduating with a BA Applied Investigation degree at the university's annual awards ceremonies, held at the Stadium of Light.
Launched three years ago by the University’s Business School and Department of Law, the course covers investigative interviewing within major crime, serious and complex crime, family liaison and investigative interviewing for trainers. It’s designed to support specialist investigators in developing and enhancing their critical skills in this niche area.
Pauline Wonders, University Head of Corporate and Professional Education, said: “The course was introduced to improve the service and fill a gap in the strategic competencies of managing an investigation.
“Because of previous issues surrounding court case collapsing or cases being thrown out of court due to errors in the interview process, police forces want to develop investigators who take a much more critical approach to their investigation. This unique course builds self awareness, looking at the personal development of investigators, but also helping them take a critical look at some contemporary issues.
“We’re delighted to see our latest cohort of investigators graduate today. The programme has just snowballed since it was piloted three years ago and we now have 100 students on the course with a waiting list of another 50.”
The students are certainly in expert hands as Gary Shaw MBE, National Interview Adviser, is Professor of Practice on the course. He has advised senior investigating officers about key witnesses and suspect interviews in high profile and complex investigations, frequently involving multiple victims or offenders, including the murder of PC Sharon Beshenivsky in West Yorkshire, the investigation into the murder of five prostitutes in Suffolk and the disappearance of Shannon Matthews.
Gary said: “I am delighted that all of our investigators are graduating today, this is acknowledgement of the training and competence of these investigators, who are experts in their field.
“As a result of the experiences and reflective thinking they have adopted while on this course, they have been able to improve and implement some of these techniques into their own current practices within their respective forces.
“We believe we have designed a unique programmes which focus on investigation, professional competence and contemporary issues and we are delighted with its success.”
Detective Constable Mike Jardine, of Cheshire Constabulary, said: “I have found the course excellent, especially with the research we have been doing for our project. We have learned a lot of techniques that we are taking forward within our own force, and the job that I am doing will promote useful changes within the workplace.
“I would highly recommend this course to anyone in this line of work. We have had all the support we needed from staff at the university.”
As well as launching the one-year BA Applied Investigation course, the university simultaneously launched a two-year Masters course in Investigative Management, designed to enhance the skills at senior investigative level, focusing on areas of research skills, investigation management, legal issues and behavioural science.
The detectives graduated this week alongside thousands of other students at a ceremony presided over by University Chancellor Steve Cram.
This year's annual awards ceremonies are the biggest in the University of Sunderland's 111 year history. Over five days 3,218 students from sixty-eight countries – from Nepal to Uzbekistan - will graduate from the Stadium of Light watched by 8,786 guests, with 289 academic staff cheering on the class of 2012.