Using the Library

The National Police Library provides a wide range of resources and service to College 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

UK police officers and police staff

Library membership is free to all serving UK police officers and police staff. You will need to register to become a member of the College of Policing to access the National Police Library. You will find the library registration form on the membership site (login 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.  

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


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 not wait 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 overdue charge 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 provides a service to College of Policing 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 College of Policing members may 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. We are located on the ground floor of the Edgbaston building. For further information see the membership site

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.


I logged in with OpenAthens to X website, why can't I get full text access to journal articles?

OpenAthens is an authentication system that allows you to get access to content the Library Subscribes to. OpenAthens is used as an authentication system by many publishers, but just because you can login doesn't mean you will have access to all the content on their site. The Library's subscriptions can be clearly identified via Police Library Search's Journal finder. If you cannot find the title of the journal you are looking to access in Journal Finder it is not likely we have access. If you cannot access a particular article you need, contact the Library and we will see if we can source it for you through our collections or Open Access means.  


I've accessed a Wiley article via Police Library Search, which says I have full text access but I cannot download the article. How do I get access?

Until summer 2019 the Library can provide access to relevant content in Wiley via 'tokens'. This is not always clear from the website and we are working with Wiley to improve the visibility of this service.

If you would like access to a Wiley articles, please email with the details and the collections team will authorise access for you, provided the content is relevant to your work.


Is there a Library APP?

General Library access is provided to you via Police Library Search and Classic Catalogue, which are two separate services that have been customised to work together and provide secure remote access. Both sites are mobile responsive but neither are available via an APP. If you frequently use our service via mobile you can create a shortcut on your phone.

Android/Chrome - Turn off data/wifi. Now paste/follow this URL into Chrome:
Click in the top right on the 3 dots and select ‘Add to home screen’. Name as suits, e.g. Police Library. Click ‘add’. Place wherever suits. Now turn back on data/wifi.

iPhone/Safari - Turn off data/wifi. Now paste/follow this URL into Safari:
Tap the bookmark icon and tap on ‘Add to home screen’. Name as suits, e.g. Police Library. Click ‘add’. Now turn back on data/wifi.

I keep being logged out of Classic Catalogue, why might this be?

Classic Catalogue has a login timeout of 12 minutes. This is the maximum for the system that we are able to set. If you remain active on the page you should not be timed out, but if you are browsing in other windows or moving between Police Library Search and Classic Catalogue you may find yourself logged out.

Some people may experience difficulties staying logged into the Classic Catalogue when searching the Library via Smartphone. If you experience this problem, please email the library. For anyone experiencing issues we will happily accept requests directly via email.


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