Case study

How volunteering helped Grace fast-track her way to Police Detective

Grace Jolly is on the fast track. Little over a year after completing her BA (Hons) Policing and Investigations degree, she is starting as a trainee detective with Nottinghamshire Police. She never imagined it would become a reality so soon.

A change in direction

Grace originally joined our access course for Nursing and Midwifery. Then she had a change of heart. Her desire to become a police officer drove her to switch onto the Policing and Investigations degree.

She explains: “I was unsure if I wanted to be a PC or civilian investigator, and the Policing and Investigations degree seemed to provide a more specialised route into investigations. It made me feel as if I would stand out more if I chose to go down the investigative route.”

Encouragement from day one

Once Grace joined the Policing and Investigations degree, she met programme leader Angie Neville, who has over 20 years’ experience as a police officer and detective, and Grace immediately felt at ease. She says: “Angie was a rock for me throughout my degree. She helped focus my vision, encouraged me to strive only for the best and gave the best advice on how to achieve my goals. The teaching and assignments were always fun and enjoyable because of Angie.”

Grace's highlights from the course include the way theory taught in the classroom was always brought to life through practicals, and the mock interviews and role plays that gave her the confidence she needed to take forward into her career.

“All the theory I got taught at University, I am now coming across in my job, so embrace the teaching because it will all help in the future”.

Raising your profile

Investigative work experience is central to your studies on our Policing and Investigations degree. Working with employers allows you to put theory into practice, as well as strengthening your CV. Grace secured a volunteering opportunity with the serious collision unit of Nottinghamshire Police, where she was able to observe the role of the officers as well as use that experience to help in her studies.

She says: “I chose to do one of my reports on ‘factors surrounding serious collisions’ while volunteering in the unit. I was able to interview some of the team, which was great because it helped me complete my assignment, but it also gave me the chance to make contacts and get myself known within the force.”

Grace also managed to secure a role on a ‘meet and greet’ pilot scheme in West Bridgford which saw a group of students on the Policing and Investigations degree volunteer to help businesses prevent crime. After taking part in this scheme, Grace contacted the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) in West Bridgford to see if she could shadow the team.

She says: “The opportunity of seeing how CID operated really sparked my interest about what my future career options could be. I am so glad I took the plunge and made contact with them.

“I can’t emphasise the importance of volunteering and how much it helped me. It allowed me to make connections and network. I personally feel it helped get me onto the detective fast track programme as I’d made myself known while at University.”

Investigating the future

Upon graduating, Grace joined Nottinghamshire Police in July 2020 as a Police Staff Investigator. This role was a great starting point for her career, and made her more determined to follow her dream to become a detective.

In March 2021, Grace was accepted onto the fast-track programme. This journey would see her undertake ten weeks training to become a Police Constable (PC), a further ten weeks on the beat under supervision of a tutor, and a further four weeks on independent patrol. In September 2021, Grace joined a team for two years as a trainee detective before she will qualify as a Detective Constable (DC).

Grace says: “I am still yet to know my location or role, but I have stated my preference as CID or public protection in a city location as I know that is where my passion lies. I am just so grateful to have even made into on the fast-track programme, and I am excited to see where I end up in the future.”

Grace Jolly outside Radford Police Station whilst on Response
Grace Jolly on response at Radford Road in Nottingham
Students assessing evidence in an investigation

BA (Hons) Policing and Investigations

Broaden your career scope by gaining high-level investigative skills underpinned by strong academic knowledge.

Find out more about our BA (Hons) Policing and InvestigationsFind out more about our BA (Hons) Policing and Investigations