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Issue No. 410 February 2017

Graduates eye policing career

Superintendent John Price with the first BCJ graduates.
Photo: University of Canterbury

The ranks of the next generation of aspiring police have been boosted with the first group of graduates receiving degrees from the University of Canterbury’s new Bachelor of Criminal Justice (BCJ) programme.

Justice Sector agencies were represented at the graduation ceremony in Christchurch by Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price, and Corrections Regional Commissioner Ben Clark.

The BCJ is the first degree programme of its kind in New Zealand, combining multidisciplinary academic study with a strong vocational focus.

Topics covered range from psychological and sociological aspects of offending to the practicalities of prison and community-based sentences.

Many students aspire to careers in policing, court work, Corrections and related fields – and courses are available as a study option for existing Police staff.

Graduate Sam Fear says the degree’s versatility is a big plus. “Students are taught how to deal with individuals who come from various ethnic backgrounds, youth offenders, as well as serious violent and sexual offenders,” he says.

“Alongside this, we are taught how to resolve problems and the best steps that can be taken to have a positive outcome for both the offender and the victim.”

Fellow graduate Tanya Galbraith says the BCJ offers a real insight into the world in which Justice Sector agencies operate.

Mike Webb, from PNHQ, who represents Commissioner Mike Bush on the BCJ Board of Studies, says graduates are expected to be strong competitors for roles at Police.

“They get a solid grounding in issues which face policing and Police and courses taught as part of the degree are also available for our existing staff to consider – for example, by distance learning – to help with ongoing development.”

For more, search ‘Bachelor of Criminal Justice’ at www.canterbury.ac.nz.

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