Standards and guidance

We set standards and produce guidance for the policing profession in a range of subject areas.

​​Authorised Professional Practice is the body of consolidated guidance for policing. It has significantly reduced the volume of national guidance in circulation, bringing consistency and encouraging the use of professional discretion.

​​Other standards

The National Policing Curriculum comprises learning standards which are fully aligned to Authorised Professional Practice and relevant national occupational standards contained within the Policing Professional Framework.

​​Recruitment and promotion

​We maintain the eligibility standards and vetting standards for those wishing to join the Police Service of England and Wales as police constables, special constables and Police Community Support Officers.

​​Additionally, we set out standardised, rigorous processes (known as our Recruit Assessment Centres) for the recruitment of:

  • ​Police constables (the Police SEARCH® Recruit Assessment Centre)
  • Special constables - forces adopting the National Specials Recruit Assessment Process are provided with two training courses (assessor training and Quality Assurance training) and other support free of charge
  • Police Community Support Officers

We also provide guidance and resources for:

  • ​developing volunteer programmes and recruiting Police Support Volunteers

  • selecting and appointing chief officers

Officers from police forces in England and Wales and PSNI can be assessed for their suitability for promotion to sergeant and inspector through two processes:​​​

  • the Objective Structured Performance Related Examination (OSPRE®)
  • the National Police Promotion Framework.

The National Investigators' Examination is a two-hour exam to test candidates' knowledge of law and procedure relevant to a trainee investigator.

​Leadership standards​​

The Senior Police National Assessment​​ Centre (Senior PNAC) is a process to identify those who are capable of being an effective chief officer. Superintending officers are eligible to apply.

The Senior Police Staff Assessment P​​​rocess identifies individuals who would benefit from attending the Strategic Command Course (SCC), with a view to undertaking the most senior police staff positions.

The High Potential Development Scheme Assessment Process identifies suitable candidates for the HPDS - a scheme designed to develop the most talented individuals to​ become the police leaders of the future.

​​​The same leadership standards are applied in the College's leadership courses, including the SCC and the HPDS.

​​​Specialist role standards

We manage the accreditation process for Public Order Commanders and Tactical Advisors, which includes maintaining a national database.

​​We support and manage the Firearms Licensing process, helping forces to achieve and maintain compliance with the Code of Practice for the police use of firearms and less lethal weapons. Critical Friend support is provided where required as part of this process.

​​​Fitness standards

Fitness standards have been developed for:​​

  • ​people who are applying as police constables and special constables

  • 13 specialist posts (including firearms officers, dog handlers and police cyclists); these standards are based on training exercises that replicate the 'real-life' physical demands of each role and are based on operational scenarios.


Equality standard​​​​

Setting out an improvement journey across 22 areas of operational and organisational delivery, the Equality Standard for the Police Service provides a frame​work for improved delivery of equality through a proactive approach to diversity.

​Concordat with Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC)

In November 2013, the College of Policing and HMIC published a concordat setting out how they will work together to achieve the highest possible standards in p​olicing. The concordat sets out the two organisations' respective roles in relation to standards, and how they will work together.

​​​​​House of Comm​​ons Home Affairs Committee

In July 2013 the Home Affairs Committee (HAC) published a report, Leadership and standards in the police, which contained a number of recommendations relevant to the College. In October 2013 we submitted our re​​sponse to those recommendations.


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