Learning beyond the books Criminology students given opportunity to see citys Criminal Justice System in action and take part in mocktrials

A group of criminology students from our University have recently had the exciting opportunity to witness the Criminal Justice System after meeting with a number of esteemed legal figures throughout the city of Leicester.

As part of their BSc criminology degree, the students visited Leicestershire’s Police Headquarters, the Crown Court, the Magistrate’s Court and the Youth Offending Service.

The students also participated in Mock Trials, where they got into character and became defendants, prosecution witnesses, legal advisors, crown prosecutors, defence solicitors, ushers and chairmen of the bench.

These activities and events aimed to raise awareness of the diverse career and volunteering opportunities offered by agencies of the Criminal Justice System and gave students the chance to meet with professionals and departments such as the police dog unit, the Crime and Intelligence Directorate, Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach, Chief Constable Simon Cole, Court Clerks and Justices of the Peace.

Lord Bach said: “It’s vital that we help and encourage young people to join the police and criminal justice family. They bring new ideas, fresh perspectives and huge enthusiasm to the challenges we face now and in the years to come”.

Martin Pantling from the Magistrates’ Association stated: “We were all particularly impressed with the way that everyone engaged with the mock-trials and the questions that were put to us in debriefing. The questioning demonstrated a very good understanding of the criminal justice system and the role that Magistrates have to play in it.  It was a pleasure to be working with students who were quick to grasp what was required of them and who brought the activities to life with their enthusiasm.”

One student commented: “We really enjoyed the experience and found it very useful for our studies. I learnt how Magistrates deal with cases in the court and the positions/roles that different people play. I liked that it was interactive and engaging.”

Dr Gina Fox, the module leader for this semester, added; “This is what teaching and learning is all about; providing a high quality learning environment with real-life experiences and events so that learners are fully engaged and eager to know more!”