University of Chester

Programme Specification
Criminal Investigation FDS
2014 - 2015

Foundation Science Degree

Criminal Investigation

Criminal Investigation

University of Chester

Cheshire Constabulary and the University of Chester

University of Chester, Warrington Campus

Undergraduate Modular Programme


Classroom / Laboratory,

2 years

5 Years



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Social Science Institute of Policing

Skills@Justice - sector skills council []

 The course content is underpinned by the "Practice Advice on Core Investigative Doctrine" (ACPO NPIA 2012)

Criminology  (where relevant)

On completion students will be eligible to receive the College of Policing Initial Crime Investigators Development Programme PIP Level 2.

Policing Module Assessment Board

Friday 1st July 2011

The educational aims of the programme are to develop students' ability to utilise their research skills, evaluate existing bodies of knowledge, critically evaluate new information and ideas, and accept accountability for their actions and conclusions. The programme will also equip Trainee Investigators with the knowledge, understanding and skills to be able to conduct professional and objective investigations, while maintaining an approach that recognises the concerns and needs of all parties involved. At the end of the programme Trainee Investigators will be better able to exercise appropriate judgement in a number of complex situations and

  • Explain the investigative process and planning required to conduct an investigation relating to Serious and Complex Crime.
  • Apply the investigative mindset.
  • To plan, prepare, conduct and evaluate investigative interviews with
    suspects, victims and witness in accordance with legislation, national advice and best practice
  • To critically analyse evidence and intelligence and assess its value in the investigation process balanced against criminal legislation, procedure and human rights.
  • Demonstrate how to make and record decisions during an investigation.
  • Explain how investigative and evidential evaluation can assist to determine the value of material gathered in an investigation.
  • Use core investigative strategies common to most investigations including victim and witness, suspect and scene strategies.
  • Record their decision-making process and justify their actions in criminal and civil proceedings.

Knowledge and Understanding

A factual and conceptual knowledge of investigative interviewing and the context within whichit is used.
Anawareness of the ethical issues involved in investigative interviewing.
Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the principles and practice of criminal investigation.
Thinking or Cognitive Skills

An ability to collect and categorise information gathered by means of investigative interviewing.
An ability, with guidance, to analyse information gathered in investigative interviewing.
An ability to evaluate conclusions derived from the process of investigative interviewing.
The application of such skills as outlined above in the context of the profession.
Practical Skills

An ability to conduct an investigative interview, to analyse such interviews, and to defend conclusions against critical examination.
Demonstrate a competence and appropriateness in the application of the use of investigatory skills.
An ability to act with limited autonomy under direction and supervision.

Key Skills

  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving

An ability to interview and to communicate the conclusions of such a process and to be able to defend the conclusions under examination within a legal and ethical context.
An ability to evaluate own strengths and weaknesses as an investigative interviewer.
An ability to work appropriately with other members of the group and alsowith representatives of other agencies involved in professional decision making.
An ability to use the concepts and methodology associated with investigative interviewing and to recognise the complexity of so doing.

Transferable Professional Skills

An ability to conduct, analyse and evaluate the conclusions ofinvestigative interviewing
The ability to:
1. Formulate a coherent argument, with the appropriate use of data and evidence.
2. Critically evaluate their own performance and respond appropriately.
3. Resolve complex problems in context.
4. An awareness of the needs of society generally and of its most vulnerable members particularly.
5. Understand the importance of personal and organisational ethics.
6. Work with other organisations and individuals.

The Foundation Degree in Criminal Investigation is a level 4 and 5 qualification. Level 4 PIP Level 1 will be APEL. Level 5 consists of four modules; interviewing witnesses and victims, interviewing suspects, investigatory practice and a placement in an operational unit. Students will normally complete level 5 in 1 year. The programme is designed for those officers who wish to develop their ability to critically review their work, utilise their research skills, develop their technical expertise and exercise a degree of professional judgment whilst making their career in 'Crime Investigation'. The objective is for students to gain a Foundation Degree in Criminal Investigation and to meet the National Occupational Standards for investigation thus being appointed as level 2 investigators. 

Please note that this programme has been granted derogation from the University's Regulation, and therefore all components of assessment must be passed with a minimum mark of 40%.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
SO5604 5 Interviewing Victims and Witnesses in relation to Serious and Complex Crime 20 Comp
SO5605 5 Interviewing Suspects in relation to Serious and Complex Crime 20 Comp
SO5606 5 Developing Investigatory Skills 40 Comp
SO5607 5 Investigation Placement 40 Comp

Level 4
APL'd, having successfully completed Level 4 of the FdSc Policing orequivalent qualification/experience and being able to demonstrate written and verbal evidence of conducting competent interviews and investigations at PIP Level 1.See admissions requirement.
Level 5
FdSc Criminal Investigation - 120 Credits
Level 6 and Level 7
Future programmes are under development to design a BSc in Criminal Investigation a BSc in Public Protection and an MSc in Criminal Investigation

The vast majority of students on this programme will be police officers and therefore will have already been vetted. It is an offence under the police disciplinary code not to divulge to the employer any conviction, irrelevant of the type of charge. In view of this a CRB check is not thought necessary.

Students on this programme will predominantly be serving police officers or police staff who will be employed by their respective professional organisations and meet the professional standards required for their occupational status. There may however be exceptions to this, to cater for a specific operational need of a particular organisation whereby a student who is not employed by the police may attend the programme.

In order to be admitted onto the programme the student must meet all the criteria below:


  1. APL 120 Credits Level 4 evidence of investigative and interviewing competences at PIP Level 1
  2. Successful written application form evidencing competence of both investigating and interviewing to PIP Level 1 National Occupational Standards.
  3. Pass the National Investigators Examination.



Foundation Degree, 120 credits at level 5

Suitable students wishing to take the Foundation Degree in Criminal Investigation will be required to show an aptitude for investigation and successfully pass the National Investigators Examination prior to being accepted on the programme. This examination is validated by the College of Policing and normally takes place four times a year.

This is also a condition that needs to be fulfilled for a student to qualify as a PIP level 2 Investigator, by evidencing competence against the National Occupational Standards for the role, which have been validated by Skills for Justice, and successful candidates will be awarded a certificate of completion of the Initial Crime Investigators Development Programme.

Students will also go through a rigorous internal selection process consisting of a paper application form in which they  evidence their competence at PIP level 1 National Occupational Standards concluding with an interview with a senior officer.




Threshold achievement

Typical achievement

An understanding of the social and historical development of policing, of the changing values governing police work including human rights, of the structure and culture of police work in different locations, of policing diversity, and of new and emergent forms of private and state policing.

Able to recognise different police cultures, historical and contemporary trends in police work, and the implications of changes in the values governing police work and police practice in a diverse society.

Able to evaluate policing practices and developments in terms of changing values and relationships between individuals, groups, and public and private agencies in different locations.

Cognitive abilities


Threshold achievement

Typical achievement

An appreciation of the complexity of crime and victimisation; able to assess the merits of competing theories and explanations.

Able to describe contrasting interpretations of crime and victimisation.

Able to assess a range of perspectives and discuss the strengths of each for the understanding of crime and victimisation.

An understanding of how to design research appropriately in relation to a specific problem, how to gather, retrieve and synthesise information, including comparative data; an understanding of how to evaluate research data including both quantitative and qualitative data.

Able to gather and summarise information.

Able to draw on materials from a range of sources and demonstrate an ability to synthesise them. Able to design and use appropriate research strategies for data collection using quantitative and qualitative methods. Able to apply basic statistical techniques where appropriate.

An understanding of how to assess the ethical issues arising in particular research situations.

Able to describe quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection, and to undertake basic analysis.

Able to distinguish between ethical and unethical research practice.

Ability to review and evaluate criminological evidence.

Able to identify an ethically appropriate action. Able to cite evidence and make judgments about its merits.

Able to draw on relevant evidence to evaluate competing explanations.

Ability to develop a reasoned argument.

Able to contrast different points of view and discuss them in a logically coherent manner.

Able to evaluate the viability of competing explanations within criminology and to draw logical and appropriate conclusions.

Subject-specific skills


Threshold achievement

Typical achievement

Ability to analyse, assess methodologically and communicate information and empirical research findings about crime, victimisation and responses to crime and deviance

Able to summarise the findings of empirical research on criminological issues including the ability to identify the methodological framework used.

Able to summarise and explain empirical information and research findings about crime, victimisation and responses to crime and deviance; able to assess the methodology used.

Ability to identify a range of different strategies and methods and use appropriate research tools in relation to criminological problems, including quantitative, qualitative and evaluative techniques.

Able to apply basic research tools appropriately and in a preliminary way.

Able to apply basic research tools appropriately in relation to theoretically driven, exploratory, or evaluation research.

Ability to investigate criminological questions in relation to victimisation, crime, responses to crime and deviance, and representations of these.

Able to undertake a preliminary criminological investigation of crime, victimisation, responses to crime and deviance, and representations of these using qualitative and quantitative methods.

Able to gather appropriate qualitative or quantitative information to address criminological questions in relation to crime, victimisation, responses to crime and deviance, and representations of these, using qualitative and quantitative methods.

Ability to identify the ethical issues and the range of ethical problems in research into criminological questions and to take action within the Guidelines of Ethical Practice for Criminology.

Able to recognise the ethical dimensions of research into criminological questions.

Able to recognise the ethical implications of research into criminological questions and to identify appropriate solutions.

For the sector skills council they are

CJ 102  Interview Victims and Witnesses in relation to Serious and Complex Investigations.      

 3.1 Plan and prepare interviews with victims and witnesses                                         

 3.2 Conduct interviews with victims and witnesses                                           

 3.3 Evaluate interviews and carry out post-interview processes

CJ 202  Interview Suspects in relation to  Serious and Complex Investigations.                                     

4.1 Plan and prepare interviews with suspects  

4.2 Conduct Interviews with suspects

4.3 Evaluate interviews and carry out post-interview processes

CI  102 Conduct Serious and Complex Investigations

3.1 Plan allocated investigations  

3.2 Conduct allocated investigations   


The programme utilises a variety of learning and teaching methods, which provide opportunities for students to enhance their learning skills and personal development during this programme.  These teaching and learning methods also take account of equal opportunities and inclusive practice. 

SEMINARS - will provide opportunities for more student-centred and interactive learning.  These will be organised around themes for discussion and/or designated reading with the aim of enabling students to deepen their knowledge of a particular subject and develop their ability to critically examine alternative perspectives. 

WORKSHOPS - these are intended to provide experience in collaborative and creative problem solving.  Workshops will also aim to develop key skills in information retrieval and presentation, communication skills and team/group work skills.

TUTORIALS - will provide the opportunity for individuals or small groups of students to meet with individual staff members.  The aim is to provide a context whereby students' personal development and progress can be assessed (formative feedback); students can be encouraged to develop learning skills; students can be assisted to make informed and realistic choices within their course and support can be offered for individual or group project work, work-related placements and dissertation supervision.

MANAGED LEARNING ACTIVITIES - these will comprise of formative learning activities that are set with a specific task focus to develop students' academic skills in preparation for summative assessments (in line with the QAA code of practice - ensuring students have adequate time to reflect on learning before being assessed).

PRACTICAL PROBLEM BASED ACTIVITIES - these will allow students to conduct practical activities related to a given problem/task and develop their understanding of how evidence can inform investigations. 

WORK PLACEMENT - will allow students to put into practice the skills they will have learned in earlier modules.

The assessments address academic learning outcomes, professional competences and the development of student experience. A range of both formative and summative assessment methods are used. Many of the methods of summative assessment reflect forms of recording, reporting, presentation and analysis which are required of professionals who undertake investigative interviewing.

Formative assessment is intended to foster student development and to improve students' ability to acquire the skills and knowledge they will need to meet the programme objectives. Two forms of formative assessment are used in the programme.  The first is embedded in  "classroom" activities where tutors will ask questions and require students to undertake small tasks to assess their level of understanding and whether they have fully achieved the objectives required by the programme. If, when assessed, the student and/or their tutor believe that the student has not yet attained the required level of skill and knowledge, tutors will identify weaknesses and suggest ways in which students can improve. The second is a more formal "practice presentation" of the summative assessment and will normally take place about half way through the programme. There will be no "formal" formative assessment in the final module.

Summative assessment, unlike formative assessment provides a measure of student achievement with respect to their performance in relationship to the programme's intended learning outcomes. Given the vocational nature of the programme summative assessment will be modelled, in large part, on professionally relevant activities such as interview planning, analysis and review, the development of policy documents and the proper recording of evidence. Module SO5607 is a work placement.

  The pedagogical basis of these assessment strategies are discussed in:

 Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom learning, Educational Assessment: Principles, Policy and Practice, 5, pp. 7-74.

Bloom, B. S., Hastings, J. T., & Madaus, G. F (Eds.) (1971) . Handbook on formative and summative evaluation of student learning. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Wiliam, D. & Black, P. (1996) Meaning and Consequences: a basis for distinguishing formative and summative functions of assessment? British Educational Research Journal, 22(5).

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) (2013) UK Quality Code for Higher Education - Chapter B6: Assessment of students and the recognition of prior learning.

Formative assessments are varied and may include:

  • Knowledge checks on theories of interviewing.
  • Planning and preparation for interviewing.
  • Conduct and analyse interviews with victims, witnesses and suspects.
  • Commentary on interviewing techniques.
  • Analysis of recorded interviews.
  • Preparation of interview transcripts.
  • Review case materials.
  • Plan and conduct an investigation into Serious and Complex Crime.
  • Be subject to self, peer and tutor review.
  • Collecting and collating evidence.
  • Brief senior officers on the investigation.
  • develop a "policy book".

Summative assessments will include: 

  • Essays on theories of interviewing.
  • Interview planning.
  • Recordings of interviews (both role play and operational).
  • Analysis of interviews.
  • Interview transcripts.
  • Develop a "policy book".
  • Develop investigative strategies including decisions and rational.
  • Oral tribunal by presenting evidence in a court setting and being cross examined.

Students have to pass all level 5 module assessment components of the Foundation Degree.

A successful graduate of this programme will be both a competent investigative interviewer and an investigator at a foundational level. He/she will reach  PIP Level 2, as defined by the College of Policing. As an integrated programme addressing the knowledge, competence and developing the experience of professionals, who require both investigative interviewing and investigative skills, the Foundation Degree in Criminal Investigation is designed to meet the professional requirements of the relevant professional bodies. Extensive discussion has taken place both with police forces and other enforcement professionals to ensure that the programme meets their professional needs.

  1. The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.
  2. While the programme will meet all the requirements of the University's Diversity policy, students on this programme will also be subject to the diversity and equality policies of their respective professional bodies. All are committed to ensuring that all staff shall be given equality of opportunity to progress within the organization in line with their skills and potential. This policy includes recruitment, transfer, promotion and training.

This programme has been developed with professional partners to meet their professional needs.

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