Trainee police officers are being told they have to gain a university degree to qualify for the job.
Now it's their turn for a lecture
From September, recruits to Cleveland Constabulary will take a two-year course covering forensics, law and psychology at Teesside University.
A police spokesman said it was important for recruits to "interact, mix and learn" with students.
Currently, most of the force's two-year training programme is carried out by in-house instructors.
The police spokesman added: "Officers will spend equal time within the university and force, training in the areas they will eventually police and they will be assessed for both academic and practical skills."
The Cleveland force believes its compulsory, part-time course is the first of its kind in Britain.
Around 500 recruits - including graduate entrants - are expected to go through it over the next five years.
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If, by the end of their two-year foundation degree, they develop a taste for academia, they can go on to complete a full three-year degree.
Experienced police officers will help with their tuition.
Teesside University has built a 16-room "crime scene house" for trainees to improve their investigative skills.
Areas covered in the course include community relations and how not to disturb a crime scene.
Colin Dunnighan, director of the university's centre for applied socio-legal studies and a former detective inspector with Durham Constabulary, said: "The university work will be intensive, giving new recruits a broader perspective into the problems and issues they are likely to face on the streets, such as undertaking an arrest.
"This training will result in 'fully rounded' police officers, who can see the bigger picture of what's going on in the world.
"The course gives the university an external influence into good practice and the opportunity to affect the future behaviour of police officers and helping to produce officers that the force and the public can be proud of."