Linda Polska

Criminology, Policing and Investigation - BA (Hons)

Making a difference within the community has always been Linda’s passion, and our Criminology, Policing and Investigation degree has developed her skills to help secure her dream job with the West Midlands Police; successfully becoming their first Latvian PCSO.

I always wanted to join a profession that would make a difference in other people’s lives. When I went to college, I studied public services as I felt that I wanted to serve the public and be useful to the community. During my time there, I was given various choices on where to go next and which career path to choose. After doing my research, I decided that I wanted to join the police.

Once I knew that I wanted to study policing, I started to look for universities that had a policing course. When I came across BCU, the course intrigued me as it looked very interesting and I decided to go to an open day. Meeting the lecturers and seeing the campus first-hand really showed me the quality of the facilities available at BCU, as well as the passion the lecturers have for their subject area. From then on, I knew that this was the university I wanted to go to.

The biggest challenge that I have faced while studying at BCU has been the language barrier. Sometimes I have felt like I could not fully express what I was trying to say in my essays. However, my tutors have been very supportive and have helped me throughout my degree by having one-to-one meetings with me during their student consultation hours, while also taking time to read small pieces of my work and explain which areas needed more developing. The level of feedback I got showed me that my tutors truly cared about my development. In addition, being able to communicate with the public is a vital skill, as without communication we would not be able to get the information we need to provide help and support.

During my second year we had a module on the ‘History of Policing in England and Wales’ – because of this module I now understand how policing has evolved, and how important policing by consent is. Studying the code of ethics, as well as the nine principles of policing, created by Sir Robert Peel, has helped me understand how the police functions as an organisation, and what British citizens expect from me as a PCSO. Another valuable module was ‘Applied Investigative Techniques’, which taught me the importance of critical thinking and how cognitive bias can affect a criminal investigation and the work of police in general. This has taught me to be open-minded when working with members of the public and how to be aware of biases that all of us have. I took this knowledge into my job role, which has helped me to create a positive relationship with members of the public that I have come across, as I have treated them in a non-judgemental manner despite our differences. 

Joining the force during a global pandemic was a surreal experience. Despite joining the police at such a strange time, I have still had ample opportunity to put my experience from university into action. For example, I had to deal with a neighbourhood dispute in which two neighbours had a disagreement. This really helped me to put into practice what I had learnt about communication. By chance also, it turned out that one of the neighbours, whose English was not so good, spoke Russian, so I also got to show off my linguistic skills!

BCU is a community that has a real diversity of people but with the same passion for learning and achieving great things. It is a place that will support and encourage everyone to achieve their dreams.”

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