Dylan Jethwa graduated from Kent with a BA degree in Criminology (First Class Honours) in 2020. He’s now a Police Constable serving with Surrey Police and is six months into his two-year DHEP pathway (Degree Holder Entry Programme). The DHEP pathway involves completing a further degree alongside his policing role.
Can you tell us why you chose to study Criminology for your BA degree?
I have always had an interest in crime, criminality and the structures surrounding it as it is consistently topical within the news and in society. As a result, a degree in criminology seemed like the perfect way to further explore my interest.
What attracted you to study Criminology at Kent?
Once I had chosen my course it was a matter of knowing where I wanted to spend the next three years. I booked onto a number of open days for various universities that on paper seemed an equal match for Kent. After visiting the Canterbury campus (with my parents), I knew that the campus environment, friendly atmosphere, and approachable staff made Kent my number one choice.
Looking back, did your course live up to your expectations? What were some of the highlights of the course for you?
I thoroughly enjoyed my course, however the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, where Criminology sits, was one of the few Schools not to have its own society. Whilst in my final year I was part of a group of students that changed this by creating the School society, Socrates. We were able to organise academic talks, a Christmas ball as well as host weekly drop in sessions for students in the earlier stages of their degrees. Now the society exists to benefit all future students.
What impressed you most about our academic staff?
The staff members that I had for lectures or seminars were very passionate and knowledgeable about their subject areas. All staff were approachable as well, quick to respond to emails and more than happy to provide support face-to-face. As I moved through my second year and final year, I built up familiarity with various lecturers which only enhanced the overall experience.
In what ways has this course made a difference to you and your career?
I feel this course has given me a greater understanding of the reasons behind criminal behaviour. I have been able to apply learnt theories to real-life situations which offers a deeper understanding of factors that may contribute to a person’s actions. In addition, my learning has made me more aware of the positive and negative experiences that result from an individual’s encounter with either the police and/or the criminal justice system and how this can affect their future.
My dissertation was focused on race & gender representation and public perceptions of policing. I now have an opportunity to observe elements of this first hand and can use my knowledge to support my career development.
Could you describe a typical day in your current role?
A typical day involves responding to a wide variety of incidents which require police officers to work as a team so public and personal safety are at the forefront of decision making. The aim is to always de-escalate a situation, offer respectful guidance, support and empathy whilst upholding the law. There can be significant amounts of paperwork as evidence for any incident so record keeping is crucial to ensure the facts are accurate!
Is there anything you learnt in particular during your studies that helps you now in your day-to-day working life?
The course as a whole has proven to be relevant to my job. Most of the theories of criminality and the processes to manage crime can be observed within policing – from rational choice theory as a reason for offending, to the role of restorative justice in facilitating reconciliation between offender, victim and community – as well as understanding reasons of desistance and how re-offending can be managed.
Have your studies at Kent prompted you to think differently about your career?
When I started my degree, I was undecided as to what my career path would be. My decision to become a police officer was definitely influenced by my studies, understanding the effects of crime on individuals and communities – but also understanding the role of the police and the unique position in which I now find myself, being able to protect and support those in need.
What are your future plans/aspirations? How do you see your career progressing?
While I am still very early on in my career with the police and am enjoying building my experience, I have aspirations to progress through the police ranks with an interest in joining the Major Crime Team.
What advice would you give to students considering a degree in Criminology? Would you recommend the course at Kent?
Having an initial interest in the course content and being curious, open minded and reflective are important skills to underpin the learning. A key factor to enhance the course content is to schedule in sufficient time to read around the subject matter in both academic works and within the local/national/international media.
I would definitely recommend the course, there are a wide variety of optional modules available to students, the online resources are made very accessible, the staff have great depth of knowledge in their subject areas and they are always happy to make time for a student.
And finally, what’s your favourite memory of Kent?
Choosing one memory is impossible but… the opportunity to live on campus, make some fantastic friends, experience new enrichment opportunities and get a part-time job on campus are all key highlights that contributed to a successful outcome!
Study Criminology at Kent: Why do people commit crime? How should young offenders be treated? Can crime be prevented? What is the role of policing in society? As a Criminology student at Kent, you search for answers to these questions by examining the police, the courts, prisons and society as a whole. The School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research is one of the best in the country for teaching and research. Our academics are internationally recognised for their expertise in criminological theory and criminal justice policy. Learn more about studying a BA Criminology degree at Kent