Students training for the bar at Manchester Metropolitan University’s law school have gone head to head with Greater Manchester Police in a unique partnership.
The relationship enabled some of Manchester Met’s Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) students to experience a mock trial, with the opportunity to cross-examine trainee police officers.
This rare opportunity was designed to give both the students and trainees within the police force experience in how to handle courtroom situations, with the former group also developing their advocacy skills.
The exercise took place in a realistic court room at Manchester’s Police Museum, while the trainee officers had also previously participated in a mock crime scene experience as part of their training. Fabricated case notes were used by student barristers when cross-examining the officers.
Joanna Lewthwaite, BPTC course director at the university, explained that Manchester Met is developing an increasingly close relationship with Greater Manchester Police, as this is the second training exercise the two institutions have embarked upon together, after an initial one in April.
Kenneth Tang, who participated in the experience, said: “I’ve done advocacy competitions before and have a little bit of experience but never done anything with people outside of the course. I’m very grateful for the opportunity and it’s not something you can get on any ordinary course – to have real police officers presenting evidence is great experience.”
Another student, Dawn Leonard, added: “If you speak to judges, one of the things they say is make sure your advocacy is good. That’s what they want, so to be able to practise in a courtroom with police officers is a brilliant opportunity.”