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Learning from colleagues – CPD in focus day two

Published on 23 November 2021
Your colleagues have a range of knowledge and experiences that can help you develop personally and professionally
5 mins read
Police officers

Today we want to explore what learning from colleagues means and look at some of the forms that this learning might take.

From having an informal conversation after finishing a job to a more structured debrief process at the end of a shift, or even reviewing body-worn video footage with a colleague – you can learn a lot by reflecting on your actions with colleagues.

Detective Inspector James Ansell explains how working with colleagues from across a workforce can bring a fresh perspective to problem solving:

Tutor constables (you will need to log in) are a great source of collegiate learning and the College has produced resources to support the development of tutor constables. This information may also be useful for those who want a better understanding of the skills that can help them share their learning and experiences with colleagues.

The Knowledge Hub is another great resource for asking questions to your colleagues from across policing or for you to share your knowledge and experience. Why not join the CPD Focus Knowledge Hub group (you will need to log in to this) to let us know how you share your learning with colleagues, or take a look at the other groups for one that relates to your area of interest?

Mentoring provides a great opportunity for learning from more experienced or senior colleagues. Making use of coaching opportunities can help you think about personal and work-related matters. More information about coaching and mentoring can be found on the Leadership Learn website or from your local force.

You can also learn from colleagues outside of your force. Detective Inspector Victoria Cubby explains how Durham Constabulary works collaboratively with local universities to provide CPD:

Tips for giving feedback

Give feedback with intent

Approach giving feedback with the intention of providing a positive experience, whether it's developmental or motivational.

There are two types of feedback:

  1. Motivational where you seek to build someone’s confidence.
  2. Developmental where you are looking to build someone’s competence.

When giving feedback stick to one type at a time – don’t mix them.

Be specific

Try to stick to one subject area. It helps if you start with a phrase such as: 'I saw', 'I felt' or 'You said'.

Be timely

Look to give the feedback as close to the event as possible.

Make it actionable

Give the feedback in such a way as to help the person to act on the information and do something with it.

Tips for receiving feedback

Sometimes this can feel like a difficult and uncomfortable process. Accepting praise, constructive criticism and advice is not always the easiest thing to do. However, if done in a meaningful and supportive way, it can give you a fresh perspective on your work.


Let the person speak, give them time to give their feedback and listen carefully to what they are saying.

Don’t justify

There is no need to provide a reason or excuse for yourself when receiving feedback.

Don’t be defensive

It is easy to become defensive when someone is giving you feedback but try to avoid this. People will be less likely to give meaningful feedback if you make them feel uncomfortable when they do it. It is fine to provide a view from your perspective, but avoid falling into the trap of looking to justify yourself or provide excuses.

Ask for clarification

There are two responses to feedback:

  1. ‘Thank you.’
  2. ‘I don’t understand.’

If you are unsure about anything that has been said, seek clarification. Ask questions and repeat back to make sure you are clear what they are trying to say.

Use what is useful

If what what was said in the feedback resonates and feels true then use that information and act on it. If it doesn’t – and not all feedback will be immediately useful – then store it away and use it later.

Get involved in CPD in focus week

Join the CPD Focus Knowledge Hub group (you will need to log in to this) to access a range of learning resources and book onto events that forces across the UK are running as part of CPD in focus 2021.

Find more information about CPD week and sign up for the webinars.

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