Learning and development

We play a vital role in the education and development of police officers and staff, helping them to obtain and retain the skills they need to fight crime and protect the public.

Related Words

The following products and services support our strategic objective of "accrediting training providers and setting learning and development outcomes".

Education and learning

The National Policing Curriculum comprises the learning outcomes approved by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) for adoption by the police service, and relevant to most police roles. It includes sections dedicated to initial police learning, operational and specialist roles, and leadership development. Learning programmes are developed from research and best practice, drawing on the expertise of practitioners and partner agencies across the crime prevention, policing and law enforcement sector.

Pre-join schemes to policing are accredited through the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing (CKP). These schemes encourage potential police recruits to take responsibility for their learning and development, increase professionalism, and engage higher and further education bodies in police learning.

We also:

  • provide flexible, modular learning programmes for all those involved in police training
  • deliver courses including Leadership, Forensics and Crime Scene Management, Surveillance, Investigation and Cybercrime
  • deliver the national accredited courses for Strategic Firearms commanders, Gold Public Order Commanders and Major Incident commanders (MAGIC)
  • develop and deliver training and learning to respond to new challenges to policing (cybercrime, social media, neighbourhood justice, economic crime)
  • implement the Professional Investigation Portfolio of Initial Crime Investigation Training, Specialist and Senior investigations.

Our International Academy supports the development of professional and accountable policing throughout the world by delivering learning and training assistance in the fields of operational policing and police leadership.

Course delivery

We deliver some learning courses ourselves (particularly in high-cost, low-volume areas). These are listed in the Training section.

We develop and deliver 'immersive learning' across operational policing and multi-agency partnerships (including major incident command, child protection and counter terrorism), through our three Hydra suites; this is a delivery technique designed to simulate the reality of critical incident management.

The National Centre for Applied Learning Technologies (NCALT) delivers many courses through e-learning (in NCALT's 'Managed Learning Environment'), We use this medium to update policing on new legislation and policy.

We also develop learning programmes for delivery by police forces, and we ensure that courses offered by forces and external providers meet the required standards:

  • We act as stewards, on behalf of the police service, for the Police Service Quality Assurance Scheme - a system to assure the quality of training, learning and development designed and/or implemented by police forces. Each force self-assesses its training provision, and we subject this self-assessment to peer review which allows forces to share best practice.
  • We license and support forces to deliver a range of courses meeting the National Policing Curriculum, including initial learning and Public Order, Custody, Investigation and Intelligence courses.
  • We develop, offer and support internal accreditation, reaccreditation  and development of qualifications in all policing areas, working in conjunction with awarding organisations and Skills for Justice.
  • We develop and enable forces to deliver Authorised Firearms Training and Silver Firearms Command.
  • We have created the Approved Provider Scheme for police pre-join learning (which is accredited through the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing). This scheme assures forces of the quality of pre-join learning provided by approved bodies.
  • In collaboration with the National Ambulance Resilience Unit and the Fire Service College, we have developed Joint Emergency Services Interoperability training.

Recruitment, promotion and performance reviews

We set standards for eligibility as well as standardised processes for the recruitment of police constables, the Special Constabulary and Police Community Support Officers.

We also set standards for the promotion of officers from police forces in England and Wales and PSNI, through the Objective Structured Performance Related Examination (OSPRE®), the National Police Promotion Framework and the National Investigators' Examination.

Our talent management schemes, such as the High Potential Development Scheme (a five-year programme using a range of innovative approaches), identify and equip the most talented individuals to become the police leaders of the future.

We are committed to working with forces to support talent management and increase diversity. Our Realising Potential Programme provides personal development support and coaching to enable ethnic minority officers to fulfil their potential as future leaders of the police service. In consultation with staff associations, we are developing the following programmes to enhance under-represented groups' leadership skills:

  • one-to-one mentoring
  • preparing for interview
  • developing business links with high-profile private-sector organisations (such as the John Lewis Partnership) for corporate leadership experience

We host a variety of continuous professional development events throughout the year for officers in the disciplines of Public Order, Firearms, Disaster Management and Operational Planning.

The Beyond 360º Feedback System enables the police service to support staff development by giving individuals feedback on their workplace performance, so they can increase their self-awareness and better understand their areas of strength and development requirements. It can be tailored to forces' specific needs.

PDR - Making It Count is a national system of performance development reviews. It is based on an assumption of competence, recognising that most staff (once trained and experienced) usually perform their role to a high standard.