Certificate in Knowledge of Policing: information for candidates

The Certificate in Knowledge of Policing (CKP) is a means towards achieving the Diploma in Policing. The Diploma is a requirement for all new police constables, and is the national minimum professional qualification.

The CKP gives candidates an official qualification and allows future police officers to take responsibility for their learning.

If you achieve the CKP through a provider approved by the College of Policing, you will be able to submit this as evidence of the knowledge component of the Diploma in Policing, which forms part of the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP).

All awarding organisations offering the Diploma in Policing recognise and accept the relationship between the CKP and the Diploma.

How does the CKP course work?

The CKP is a modular qualification, made up of 10 units at Level 3 on the Qualifications and Credit Framework. It involves approximately 300 hours of study, of which about 100 hours are directed learning and the rest are made up of home study.

It is assessed through a mixture of methods including tests, open-book assignments and closed-book assignments. A range of delivery options are available, including full-time, part-time, evenings only, weekends only and distance learning.

What will I learn on the CKP course?

The CKP gives you an understanding of policing and police law, and enables you to demonstrate some of the critical decision-making skills required for the job. It covers a wide range of subjects, including:

  • Using police powers in a fair and just way
  • Social and community issues and neighbourhood policing
  • Responding to incidents and providing initial support to victims and witnesses
  • Searching premises and searching individuals within a policing context
  • Participating in planned policing operations
  • Interviewing witnesses and suspects
  • Victim support
  • The criminal justice system
  • Legislation, policy and guidelines.

Why do I need to learn the full Pre-Join Curriculum?

If you study for the CKP with an Approved Provider it guarantees that you will cover the full Pre-Join Curriculum. This will include some topics that are not overtly referenced in the assessment criteria of the qualification, but are part of the essential learning for a Police Officer. If you join a Police force with a CKP qualification it is important that you have covered all of this learning as you may not get the opportunity to repeat it, your force will require you to fully understand it, and it will equip you to fulfil the role effectively.

Does the CKP guarantee me entry to the police?

Achieving the CKP will help prepare you for recruitment to the police service as a police constable in England or Wales.

Successful achievement of the CKP does not guarantee recruitment as a trainee police constable. However, it does show a dedication to joining the police, and is relevant to other roles in the criminal justice sector.

Every police force in England and Wales sets its own recruitment process and selection policy, and entry requirements vary from force to force. The Metropolitan Police is the first police force to require new police officer candidates to achieve the CKP before they apply. Other forces are following suit.

(Note that the Metropolitan Police's CKP requirement does not apply to candidates who are already special constables in the Metropolitan Police. Other forces may adopt a different approach.)

To check your eligibility, and to help you decide whether to undertake the CKP course or submit an application for the role of a police constable, please use our pre-application questionnaire.

Please note that all candidates need to pass medical and fitness tests as well as background and security checks, and must undertake a series of assessments, tests and an interview at a Police SEARCH® assessment centre.

Where can I enrol for a CKP course?

You can achieve the CKP at various educational centres across the country.

The College of Policing has introduced an Approved Provider scheme to ensure that all providers are suitable and have the necessary rigour in both teaching and assessment. Contact the providers on our Pre-Join Approved Providers list to establish course suitability, availability and fees.

Can the College of Policing recommend a course?

We are unable to recommend any individual courses. However, we strongly advise that you do not select a provider that is not on the list of Approved Providers.

My chosen provider isn't on the list of Approved Providers. What does this mean?

Providers will only appear on the list of Approved Providers when they have completed the approval process and satisfied our Approvals Panel that they have met all the compliance criteria. Their details will then be added to the list within 24 hours - so you can be confident that, if a provider is not on the list, they are not yet approved.

A provider's progress through the scheme depends on several factors; the College cannot comment on the possible outcomes or timescales for providers currently progressing through the scheme.

How much does the CKP qualification cost?

The cost will vary but from an Approved Provider it generally costs between £500 and £1,000 per person. Funding may be available via providers in some circumstances, to enquire about any available funding please contact individual providers.

CKP materials online

Many Approved Providers give their students access to CKP-related materials on the National Centre for Applied Learning Technologies (NCALT) website as standard, for a period of three years.

We strongly recommend that you take advantage of this valuable resource, which will enable you to maintain the currency of your knowledge after you have completed the Certificate.

NCALT is a collaboration between the College of Policing and the Metropolitan Police Service. It produces and delivers local and national e-learning for police forces in England and Wales and the wider policing community, delivered via the Managed Learning Environment (MLE) for the police service. For more information, see our E-learning page or view sample e-learning on the NCALT website.