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BCRP manager first to achieve distance learning qualification

A Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP) manager from south London has become the first person to successfully achieve the Police Crime Prevention Academy’s recently launched Mental Health Awareness First Aid Awareness qualification, which is accessible as distance learning.

Alessandra Valencic undertook the qualification, which supports understanding of mental health issues & highlights the role of a mental health first aider, to assist in her work with the Safer Lewisham Business Crime Reduction Partnership, the statutory crime and disorder partnership for the Lewisham borough. The partnership works with the police and local authority to gather intelligence and share information to tackle crime and ASB affecting businesses, from multi-chain retailers and small independent shops through to the borough’s pubs and restaurants and nightclubs. A good knowledge of mental health issues can prevent an individual from entering the criminal justice system and to receive the help and support that is needed.

Alessandra commented: “As for many of us, COVID-19 brought a gift to me: time. Locked inside my house, I won back the time I used to commute to work and to travel between clients, and this allowed me to invest my time in my professional development.

“I stumbled upon the Police Crime Prevention Academy’s Mental Health First Aid Awareness qualification on LinkedIn, and easily applied for the certification. All communications with the Academy have been quick and clear and all staff have been extremely helpful. They followed up my homework with a phone call where I had the possibility to discuss all themes in depth.

“Mental health awareness is extremely important for people working in customer faced environments. The appropriate skills to recognise signs of mental health issues can prevent situation from escalating and can help the day to day work of the security officers on the ground. When you understand the problem, it is easier to find the appropriate solution”.

Safer Lewisham

Head of Academy Guy Collyer said: “The Academy recognises that now more than ever being aware of the wellbeing of people we work with is even more important, so having a UK recognised and accredited qualification can only be of benefit.

“The ability to access this valuable resource through distance learning can only add to that benefit for the person undertaking the qualification, and the Academy is delighted to be able to offer a number of accredited qualifications that are accessible in the same way.”

The Academy’s distance learning qualifications can be achieved without the need to be away from home or work, allowing delegates to undertake an accredited and nationally recognised Level 2 qualification without a classroom element and with the Academy providing learning materials and support.

MH First Aid awareness

Distance learning qualifications currently offered by the Academy include:

• Understanding the PREVENT and Safeguarding Strategies - This qualification is relevant for police and partner agencies where individuals have a responsibility for identifying radicalisation and safeguarding issues in relation to vulnerable people 

• Mental Health First Aid Awareness - This qualification is relevant for individuals working in all sectors and aims to develop knowledge and understanding of mental health issues

• Site Security Awareness for visitor attractions and other public places - This qualification is relevant to anyone who works at visitor attractions or other public places. It assists individuals to understand the security culture of their organisation and the role they can play. This is particularly relevant with the Minister of State for Security at the Home Office, James Brokenshire MP, announcing plans in February to introduce a law which will require owners and operators of public spaces and venues to put in place measures to keep the public safe from a terrorist attack 

• Prevention of Extremism and Terrorism - This qualification is particularly relevant to the private security sector. It will educate guarding staff to identify early warnings regarding potential incidents, and the steps they can take to protect their site and assist future police investigations 

• Problem Solving for Practitioners - This qualification is relevant for police and partner agencies where frontline officers and officials need to apply practical problem solving skills to local issues

The Academy is part of Police Crime Prevention Initiatives, the police owned, non-profit, organisation that works on behalf of the Police Service throughout the UK to deliver a wide range of crime prevention and police demand reduction initiatives. The Academy maintains close working links with the National Police Chiefs’ Council, as well as senior police officers from across the UK, and is the established supplier to the police service for crime prevention learning & development.

The Academy is an established provider of police training and the ProQual awarding body approved centre with the exclusive link to the Secured by Design initiative.

The Academy also delivers a number of qualifications to the private sector, working closely with local authorities and relevant specialists such as architects and planners, and recently launched a number of distance learning qualifications which can be achieved without the need to be away from home or work. The Academy pride itself in keeping the quality of qualifications at a premium and the costs at a minimum.

To register for one of the Academy’s distance learning courses visit: or contact