Using the Library

The National Police Library provides a wide range of resources and service to its members. The information below tells you how to join and outlines your rights and responsibilities as a member. A printable expanded version is also available.

Joining the Library

Library membership is free to all serving UK police officers and police staff. Employees of selected related Policing bodies may also join, please contact the Library for further information. To join please complete a registration form which can be downloaded from top-right of the homepage; a PNN email address is required. Membership is for one year, with the option to renewal on an annual basis.

College research partners 
If you are working on a research project in partnership with the College of Policing, such as Police Knowledge Fund, please speak to your College contact about temporary reference access to our physical collections.

Non-police personnel

If you are non-police and have a legitimate research interest in policing, you may be permited to visit us . You will have access to resources on-site only, it must be by prior appointment and is at the Library's discretion. Please contact the Library for further information.  

Library Account Information

​New members will be provided with a welcome email containing their Borrower number and PIN. These are required for borrowing books via the Library catalogue. Your borrower number may be also be required for renewing, reserving and other Library interactions.

New members who opt in will also be provided with an OpenAthens user name and password. OpenAthens is required to access the majority of Library resources. If you wish to opt out please tick no in the OpenAthens section of the registration form; your access will be limited to hardcopy and free to access resources only. You may opt to open an OpenAthens account at a later date, but this must be done in writing by emailing the Library.

Library membership is for 1 year. We will contact you a month before your account expires to ask if you would like to extend for a further year. We are only able to extend accounts when we have active written consent to do so. Your account will only be extended if you continue to meet the eligibility criteria for membership.

Accessing eResources

Upon registration you will be given the option to open an OpenAthens account which will unlock access to eJournals, eDatabases and eBooks subscribed to by the National Police Library. OpenAthens is an Eduserv product and we will share with them a limit amount of your data in order to be able to open your account.

OpenAthens accounts are provided for the length of your Library membership, provided they are actively used. Library membership requires renewal every year.

If you do not activate your OpenAthens account within 3 months, it will be deleted. Once activated, if it is dormant for 6 months, we reserve the right to delete it. You may contact us at any time to re-open a deleted account.

By opening an OpenAthens account with the National Police Library you agree that:

  • your OpenAthens account is for your use only and will not be shared with anyone else;
  • your OpenAthens account is only to be used in the period you remain employed in the UK police service; and
  • you accept the licence terms for eResources and all data will be used solely for academic or research purposes; data must not be used for financial or commercial gain; and copyright of the data will be observed.

If you do not comply with these conditions you may be liable to disciplinary procedures and legal action.

Borrowing resources

Terms and conditions of borrowing resources

***Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, borrowing is currently suspended***


The standard loan period for books is 4 weeks and you may borrow up to 10 books at any one time. If a book is in demand or a special loan it may be issued for a shorter period. For remote users we will post books to your home or work address.


Books can be renewed by phone or email up to a maximum of 5 times, provided there is no waiting list for the item. We reserve the right to recall loaned items ahead of the due date.


Books can be returned in person or by or by post. If you wish to return books in person, remember to let us know you will be visiting, and bring photo ID with you. Books returned by post should be sent in a padded envelope, using a delivery service which is trackable and insured. You are personally responsible for all material issued to you until it is received safely back in the Library. We do not recommend using internal mail systems as items have been lost or damaged in transit in the past.


Books out on loan to others can be reserved by email or phone.

Overdues and fines

We do not charge overdue fines but all items must be returned to the Library within the stipulated loan period, or renewed in good time. Items not returned will incur a replacement cost.

Unreturned or damaged items

All items remain the property of the National Police Library. You must take care of Library materials and not deface them in any way; this includes highlighting, writing in them, damaging their binding or removing any part of them.

If you lose a book or it becomes damaged we will invoice you for a minimum standard replacement fee of £50 per item and your borrowing rights will be suspended until the matter is resolved. We are unable to reimburse invoices in cases where the book is subsequently found as replacement costs will have already been incurred.


Privacy statement

This refers specifically to Library member privacy. The full College privacy notice can be found here.

The Library, a part of the College of Policing, provides a service to Library members. We are committed to protecting the privacy of the information you share with us in line with the College’s Privacy Notice and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018. Our legal basis for using your personal data is under Public Task; we rely on Consent for Research Update. We may contact you with regards to your account and will send automatic notifications for pre-overdue and overdue items. We may contact your Force if you do not respond to final overdue notifications or item replacement invoices. In order to provide you with OpenAthens we will share your data with Eduserv. Data is retained for the length of your account and permission for accounts must be renewed annually. If we cannot use your data we would not be able to provide you with a library service. See Using the Library 5. Data protection and privacy for further information on how the Library stores and processes your data. To exercise your rights over your data please contact:

Visiting the Library

​All members are welcome to visit the Library. Members based at Ryton or visiting Ryton while on a course may drop in within opening hours, or arrangements can be made for out-of-hours access from 5 until 7pm on weekdays. We are located on the ground floor of the Edgbaston building.

If you are a member and would like to visit Ryton specifically to visit the Library, please contact us so access arrangement can be made. We require at least 24 hours notice before your visit so we can inform the gatehouse; you will need to bring your warrant card or photo ID. 

Non-members with a genuine research requirement may be permitted to visit for reference only access at the Library's discretion.  

Visitors should note that no food may be consumed in the Library and that any photocopying must comply with the CLA License and may be charged for.

Staff and visitors are expected to ensure an environment conducive to work and study.

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