West Yorkshire Police embraces e-learning

West Yorkshire Police has become one of the first forces in the country to tap into e-learning to help with child protection training.

Feb 28, 2008
By Paul Jacques

West Yorkshire Police has become one of the first forces in the country to tap into e-learning to help with child protection training.

The force is working with Ilkley, West Yorkshire-based Safeguarding Children e-Academy, specialists in this field of online training, to improve the learning process for all officers and support staff who come into contact with children.

Around 160 members of the force have signed up for the Safeguarding Children e-Academy’s Child Abuse and Neglect online courses.

DCI Joanna Burton, head of the Child & Public Protection Unit at the force’s Wakefield headquarters, said: “Child abuse investigators within West Yorkshire Police already receive extensive training, including a four-week residential course to cover all aspects of child protection.

“However, general frontline officers and staff still have a need for such training, which generally occurs within their induction period. Divisions find it difficult to release people from their duties to attend basic awareness courses, so e-learning offers them a viable and workable alternative.”

Louise Embleton, administrative officer with the Child & Public Protection Unit, is responsible for raising awareness of the new online courses. She circulates details of courses available through local safeguarding children’s boards (LSCBs) – of which West Yorkshire Police is a statutory member – across all divisions, then collates names and arranges for log-in details to be forwarded to officers and staff via respective area administrators.

She said: “The Child Abuse and Neglect foundation and core courses have gone down extremely well within the force, with some extremely positive feedback received. Trainees have told us that they are interesting, enjoyable, clear and easy to understand and that they would definitely adopt this online method of learning again.

“This clearly proves that e-learning is an easier alternative for officers and staff to obtain training, enabling them to complete the courses at their own pace.”

Launched in 2006, the Safeguarding Children e-Academy has seen 40 safeguarding children’s boards across the country take up membership, including every local authority-run board in West Yorkshire.

e-Academy manager Abby Dacres said: “Vast numbers of people require appropriate training in areas of child protection, but many struggle to engage in traditional classroom-based delivery.

“Our key aim is to provide online solutions to help enhance the traditional approach to education and training. Courses currently available cover a variety of child protection issues and are suitable for anyone who works with children.

“The fact that all regional safeguarding children boards are now members allowed us to target West Yorkshire Police and offer the same flexible training across all their divisions.

“We feel the work we are undertaking with them is unique and represents a role model worthy of adoption by other police forces and large support organisations across the UK.”

The Safeguarding Children e-Academy – www.safeguardingchildrenea.co.uk – is operated, managed and supported by the Virtual College, also based in Ilkley, which develops e-learning solutions across sectors including the police, fire services and the NHS.

The Safeguarding Children e-Academy is now developing other learning modules, including Awareness of Domestic Abuse and Runaways Protocol, Child Protection in Sport, Protecting Children from Sexual Exploitation and Awareness of Substance Abuse.

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