Our international work

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Supporting professional and accountable policing throughout the world by delivering effective learning and training for operational policing and police leadership.

Written by College of Policing

What we do 

The College works with UK and foreign governments and with international law enforcement agencies such as the United Nations, Interpol and the European Union.

Together we offer specialist operational policing advice, police leadership guidance and training and development expertise, in line with the UK Government's priorities. Bespoke training programmes, designed to suit local needs, are delivered both here in the UK and in the client countries.

We have a team of international police advisors (IPAs) and each advisor is supported by a dedicated liaison officer for their geographical area. Because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, face to face training has been put temporarily on hold. However our international support is being reviewed as the situation changes around the world.

International forces who want more information can get in touch via email at contactus@college.pnn.police.uk 

Why we provide international support

UK objectives

The UK invests in supporting improvements to policing internationally for many important reasons. In an increasingly interconnected world, the UK's security, prosperity and freedom is linked to that of others. Professional police forces that have the trust and confidence of people and respond to the needs of all sections of society can provide a platform for security, prosperity and freedom. Repressive police forces that fail to protect communities and are associated with corruption can trigger violence and fuel radicalisation.

The UK police service works closely with government departments, particularly the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Home Office, to ensure that any assistance provided is consistent with the UK's national objectives.

College experience and materials

The College sets standards for policing in England & Wales and delivers training to the 43 Home Office forces and other policing bodies. So we are often asked to contribute to international policing assistance. Much of the knowledge and standards for UK policing can be found in College materials. And as the College is not a police force, any training delivered by staff or associates does not impact on the operational effectiveness of the UK forces. 

The principles of international assistance

The government's stabilisation unit (SU) sets out the principles and guidance to inform international policing assistance. It is an agile, cross-government unit providing expertise to build stability, prevent conflict and meet security challenges internationally.

These principles are:

  • accountability – police should be accountable for their actions
  • empowerment – of police officers to exercise judgement in tackling local issues, and of communities having a voice in directing police priorities
  • gender equality and ending violence against women – a police service should be responsive to the differing needs of all members of the community
  • human rights – the police exist to support rights and freedoms, not to undermine them
  • partnerships – most safety and security problems cannot be solved by the police acting alone
  • problem solving – by studying crime and disorder issues, responses can be identified and implemented to address them
  • service delivery – an ethos of service reflects the central commitment of the police to protect the safety and security of citizens

Read more about the SU (opens external website)

Policing areas covered

​The College provides policing assistance across a range of disciplines including:

  • command
  • investigation
  • digital and cyber crime
  • child abuse
  • counter-terrorism
  • organised crime
  • anti-money laundering investigations
  • leadership
  • developing senior women
  • police search and security coordination

The Code of Ethics and international policing

​All training delivered by the College is consistent with the British model of policing by consent. Respect for human rights and dignity is interwoven into each programme.

The Code of Ethics for policing sets out the principles and standards of behaviour that promote, reinforce and support the highest standards from everyone who works in policing in England and Wales. This includes the College and its employees.

Read more about the Code of Ethics.

Policing assistance and human rights

Decisions about UK policing assistance overseas must reconcile the difficulties of working with countries whose standards of human rights may be at odds with our own with the opportunity to address national security concerns, reduce harm to individuals, help to protect UK citizens overseas and contribute to reform in those countries.

Within the College, decisions are guided by the Code of Ethics. But the College is not always party to the specific issues, challenges or security climate in any one country. 

Joint international policing hub (JIPH)

Before international work is undertaken, the College of Policing submits international police assistance board forms to the JIPH. It was formally launched in March 2017 to help meet national security objectives and brings greater coherence and coordination to the UK's approach for international policing assistance. JIPH works hand in hand with the stabilisation unit and other agencies. 

JIPH has introduced an approvals process called international police assistance brief (IPAB) which all foreign assistance proposals from UK are processed in order to ensure multi-agency coordination and compliance with government policy. Oversight and governance of the JIPH is provided directly by the Home Office.

Consideration of Human Rights and the College Code of Ethics will inform the final decision made by the College to proceed or decline a request for international assistance.

The FCO publishes Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) guidance which can help the College and JIPH assess the human rights risks of UK overseas security and justice assistance work and identify measures to mitigate such risks.

On 10 April 2017, the College adopted the new FCO OSJA Human Rights Assessment process. This means that all courses delivered either at home or abroad will now have both an IPAB and OSJA assessment in place prior to commencement. The College will consult with the JIPH and the relevant British High Commission or British Embassy based in each country for their views.

The documents then go for final approval by the relevant authorising person, this may be the head of the department or the appropriate Minister depending on the human rights' assessment grading.

Declining international policing assistance

There could be many reasons why the College would not undertake work to support international police forces.  This could include but is not limited to:

  • work that has not been approved by JIPH as described above
  • putting our staff or associates at unnecessary risk
  • where we did not have the skills to deliver high-quality training
  • anything that was wholly inconsistent with the Code of Ethics

Disclosing details of international assistance

​There are a number of reasons why the College may not disclose specific details of all overseas assistance including where:

  • to do so could expose vulnerabilities in the capability of overseas police forces that could be exploited by criminals
  • British citizens deployed overseas could be put at risk by such disclosure
  • we have a duty to the organisations we work with to maintain an appropriate level of confidentiality on both technical and commercial details
  • our work may have links to counter-terrorism or protecting UK citizens both here and abroad

Financial transparency

​As beneficiaries of the College's services, the costs of any training or consultancy are borne by the overseas bodies that receive assistance. In some instances, these costs may be subsidised by other UK government departments.

The College operates in a landscape with similar services being offered by other international police services and the private sector and we have a duty to protect public funds by remaining competitive. Publishing exact figures paid by individual countries could significantly undermine our ability to carry out that duty.

In balancing the College's duty to remain competitive while at the same time being transparent, we have published the overall amount which the College has generated in income / revenue as a result of the international services that we have provided since our inception in December 2012.

The College is also required to act in accordance with Treasury guidelines on managing public money.

It states that:

6.6.1 – Some public sector services are discretionary, i.e. no statute underpins them. Services of this kind are often supplied into competitive markets, though sometimes the public sector supplier has a monopoly or other natural advantage.

6.6.2 – Charges for these services should be set at a commercial rate. The rate should deliver a commercial return on the use of public resources deployed in supplying the service. So the financial target should be in line with market practice, using a risk weighted rate of return on capital related to the sector concerned. The rate of return used in pricing calculations for sales into commercial markets should be:

– For sales into commercial markets, in line with competitors' assessment of their business risk, rising to higher rates for more risky activities; or

– Where a public sector body supplies another, or operates in a market without competitors, the standard rate for the cost of capital

You can also download a copy of the international Income generated from January 2013 to December 2020.

Countries assisted 

Countries and geographical regions 

Afghanistan ​Albania ​Algeria
​​Australia ​Bahrain Barbados
​Belize ​Bermuda Bolivia
Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Brunei​ Darussalam  
Canada China     Colombia 
Cyprus Dominican Republic Ecuador
​Egypt European Union ​Falkland Islands
​Fiji​ Germany Ghana
Gibraltar Hong Kong Honduras
India ​Indonesia Ireland
Jamaica Jordan Kenya
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Kuwait Kyrgyzstan
​Lebanon Libya Malaysia
Montenegro Morocco Namibia
Nepal New Zealand Nigeria
Norway Occupied Palestinian Territories Oman
Pakistan Papua New Guinea Peru
Poland Qatar Republic of Cabo Verde
Republic of Mali Republic of Senegal Republic of South Africa
Republic of The Sudan Romania Rwanda
Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone
Singapore Somalia Sri Lanka
St Kitts and Nevis Sweden Switzerland
Thailand The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Trinidad and Tobago
​Tunisia Uganda ​​​Ukraine
​United Arab Emirates ​​United Republic of Tanzania​ ​United States of America