A HIGH-profile cop has proved he is top of the class after achieving an honours degree.
Inspector Lee Rukin, who is currently acting as temporary chief inspector of operations for Hartlepool Police, has been studying at Teesdide University for an honours degree.
As part of his course, Inspector Rukin, 32, undertook a final work-based project examining and developing an effective strategy with how the police engage with young people in Hartlepool.
Senior officers are now looking at how they can implement some of his recommendations.
Teesside University has been working in partnership with Cleveland Police for 10 years – with officers undergoing training with both the School of Social Sciences & Law and in the last three years with the University’s Business School.
Now 40 more officers, both sergeants and inspectors, are working towards achieving their BA (Hons) leadership and management through work-based study.
Insp Rukin, who was encouraged to progress to an honours degree at Teesside by his wife Joanne, said: “Doing this degree has already meant that I am another step ahead on the promotions ladder with this position.
“It was a bit daunting but Joanne encouraged me. I went from youth football to the Army and then into the police, not a college route so I had never completed an academic report.
“I was aware that I needed to understand more of the theory-based practice of leadership skills, how to be a good leader.
“It was a personal challenge for me but I was given so much support by the University from such experienced lecturers.
“They youth project was a fantastic project – I organised a big football tournament event with Hartlepool United football club who gave us the ground free for a day.
“It was police officers against teachers and 1,000 pupils attended. I did some research and analysis afterwards and it has really changed the perception of the police for a lot of young people.
“We are now making changes in how we work with schools and young people through neighbourhood officers and we will be able to evaluate the long term impact on crime and anti-social behaviour.”
Commander Glenn Gudgeon added: “It is important as a police force that we support our officers in continuous development.
“It leads to a professional service for the public that is flexible and responsive and challenges us to find new ways of working to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.”
For more information about courses on offer at Teesside University, contact Suzanne Withrington, business development manager, at email@example.com