Pre-join arrangements in policing

The Initial Police Learning Programme is the foundation stone of the National Policing Curriculum, setting out all of the learning standards required to become a fully competent Police Constable, Specials Constable or Police Community Support Officer (PCSO).  

Some candidates may wish to remain as a PCSO or Special Constable, without progressing any further, whereas other candidates may wish to use their acquired knowledge as transferability skills to become a police constable.  In addition to this, having a recognised pre-entry qualifications may also be helpful as professional recognition and accreditation.

Presently there are a number of recognised routes to becoming a Regular Police Constable in the Police Service of England and Wales.

The following initial police learning programmes are available:-

  • Traditional entry – undertaking the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP) 'in house' and achieving the Diploma in Policing
  • Completing the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing through a College of Policing Approved Provider and then completing a conversion course to IPLDP and Diploma in Policing
  • Undertaking a Foundation Degree and completing IPLDP and Diploma as a Special Constable then joining a police force and undertaking a short conversion course (local policies, procedures and some assessment of competency operating in the context of PC rather than a SC)
  • Joining as a Qualified PCSO undertaking a conversion to IPLDP and the Diploma with RPL (recognition of prior learning)
  • Joining as a Special Constable (at independent Patrol) and undertaking a conversion course to IPLDP and Diploma in Policing

Certificate in Knowledge of Policing

The Certificate in Knowledge of Policing is a qualification at Level 3 and comprises of 10 assessment units which externally accredit the knowledge and understanding units of the Diploma in Policing qualification.

These 10 units are smaller than the full units of the Diploma, being knowledge without application in the work place.  Thus the CKP is a part of the Diploma in Policing; not an additional requirement.  The CKP mirrors the classroom element of the IPLDP meaning that these knowledge elements do not have to be repeated.

The CKP is an externally accredited knowledge based qualification.  Accreditation can only be awarded through an Ofqual registered Awarding Organisation, although, through the Approved Provider Scheme Higher Education Establishments will also be able to offer the CKP.

The evidence used to achieve the CKP is directly transferrable to the Diploma in Policing.  Candidates who have achieved the CKP through an Approved Provider will be able to submit this as evidence of the knowledge component of the Diploma, which they will not be required to repeat for qualification purposes.

The CKP is valid for 4 years where the candidate has continuing operational experience in a policing environment (e.g. operational Special Constable, PCSO.  In all other instances currency will normally be three years from completion of the students' studies.

For Further Information

Forces - for more information please visit our information for forces page.

Students - for more information please visit our information for students page and look at our up-to-date list of Approved Providers.

Providers - for more information please visit our information for providers page.

Governance Strategy – The strategy has been developed by the College of Policing and Skills for Justice to explain how national policing qualifications will be governed and managed at a strategic level on behalf of the service. See more information on the qualifications offered by each partner organisation.

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