Students participating in the College’s Pre-Professional Programme for Law have visited the Burnley Magistrates Courts and Police Station to learn more about the process of convicting criminal offences.

The Pre-Law programme at Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form is an innovative course which aims to prepare those who wish to enter the legal profession to prepare for their future career and university degree programmes. It was developed following on from the College’s first Pre-Professional Programme for Medicine, which has an outstanding reputation for helping young people to enter the medical professions.

During the Pre-Professional Programmes, students are able to attend trips and visits to universities and places of interest relevant to their course. The College also welcomes visiting experts who come into the classroom to offer an insight into their careers and students also receive specialist advice and guidance for applying for places on these competitive degree programmes.

At this latest visit for the Pre-Law students, they were able to learn all about the criminal justice system by a visit to both the Burnley Magistrates Court and Police Station.

Whilst at the Magistrates Court, the students met with Court Clerk Gordon Robinson, who told the students about the procedures in court. They were then able to sit in on three cases, including one for harassment, one for theft and one for breach of bail conditions.
After leaving the Courts, they were met by Dave Johnson, PCSO and taken on a tour of the Burnley Police Station. After learning about how 999 calls are handled, they were interested to learn about the new system for non-emergency police calls; 101(police) or 111 (medical).

The students also learnt about the ‘bunker’ which is a secure room where the heads of the police, fire and other important people gather during important or emergency events ranging from royal visits to bomb scares. There are over 300 cameras in Burnley and during Prince Charles’ recent visit; the Police were able to monitor the ENTIRE route on CCTV.

Of particular interest to the Law students, they were also shown the rooms where officers collate and gather evidence and were talked through how to assemble a case and how files are built for court.

A Level student Paige Wood said, “I initially enrolled on the Pre-Professional Law programme to gather a general idea and taster for what may be in store for the future; as I aim to progress onto a law degree and also to help with my studies as I have taken A Level Law. I believe this programme has given me an insight into possible job roles I may want to aim for and the goals I need to achieve to do so. The trip to the Magistrates court was well planned, extremely useful and fun; giving us a close hand look at how the courts are run and ideas into what job positions we could aim for in the near future. The Pre-Professional programme’s schedule ahead seems very promising and exciting, as we have planned to visit a Crown Court where we are sure to see some very intriguing cases. Overall I am glad that I have enrolled on this course and would strongly recommend it to anyone wanting to progress further in law.”

Pre-Law Co-ordinator, Sharon Mellor said, “The Pre-Law students gained a valuable insight into the everyday workings of the criminal justice system during their visit to the Magistrates Court and Police Station in Burnley, and this will help them to gain a better understanding of the complexities of the legal system.”