Students at two colleges in Rotorua will offer NCEA-accredited courses that will help them prepare for entry to police college.
Rotorua Boys' High School and Rotorua Girls' High School are the first schools in the country to offer the Year 13 Police Studies course, in collaboration with the Royal New Zealand Police College and Unitec.
"These students will end up with a wonderful qualification and on the pathway to being a police officer within a few months of leaving school," Rotorua Boys' High School principal Chris Grinter says.
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The NCEA Level 3 and NCEA Level 4 course will cover relevant legislation, policies, strategies, procedures and ethics of policing.
The course will be a full-year paper, incorporating the content of the 12-week course required by all police college entrants - meaning the students will not have to complete this separately as part of their application into the police force.
Rotorua Girls' High School principal Ally Gibbons says it builds on her school's involvement for the past three years in the Cactus (Combined Adolescent Challenge Training Unit Support) programme, a community-based programme with the police that helps young women.
Rotorua Police area commander, Inspector Anaru Pewhairangi, says being able to engage local police hopefuls at school level is a great chance to strategically target youth, Maori, and women to join the police.
"Our aim is to be reflective of the communities we serve," he said.