Police Training in the United Kingdom

Police officers are often charged with the responsibility of ensuring that they enforce the laws of the land. Accordingly, those people who would wish to join the police force are often obligated to be holders of a given minim level of education and training. Federal and state laws often establish laws to be followed by individual agencies for the police education. It is a requirement that country, state and city police officers hold either a pass in GED (General Educational Development) examination, or possess a high school diploma. In addition, applicants who normally possess college experience are usually preferred more by departments. The qualifications in political science criminal justice, proficiency in foreign languages, are all an added advantage for candidates who wish to join the police force. Over and above formal education, we also have applicants with military qualifications enlisting to join training academies. Moreover, there are also individuals who wish to join the police academies even as they already possess advanced courses such as public administration, criminal justice, or police science. Usually, police officers who hold professional or advanced degrees prefer to apply for administrative positions.

The selection process for individuals who intend to become law enforcement officers is extremely extensive. Over and above the attainment of basic requirements, there are also other numerous tests that an individual applicant is often required to pass. After that, they are then introduced to an extensive training program. Although the requirements for potential applicants for consideration into the police force could somewhat vary from country to country, nonetheless, there are certain entities that are common with the various discipline forces. They include the age requirement (in this case, the minimum and maximum acceptable age), citizenship requirement, educational requirement, minimum fitness requirement, and the possession of a valid driver’s license.

On the other hand, there are certain behaviors and codes of conduct at an individual level that could result in the disqualification of a person who wishes to join the police force. For example, an individual convicted of felony, either as a juvenile or as an adult, may be disqualified for consideration into joining the police force. Others include involvement in illegal drug use, a transgression conviction entailing sexual component, or domestic abuse. In addition, an individual who has been convicted of reckless driving, poor credit history, as well as other financial problems may also be disqualified.

Training the police focuses on their treatment of people as individuals instead of treating people with regard to their social status, race, or gender. The objective of police training is to make them less sensitive and increase their awareness of the fact that the people they keep watch over are entitled to recourse and rights that equals their own.

Police learning, roles, development, and training curriculum in the UK, is based on the national Learning and Development skills framework (LDSF) plan. This plan sought to offer a descriptive structure for all the development, learning, and training roles with regard to policing. The Police Roles Learning and Development Programme (PTDRLDP) had been established to realize the expertise for justice training. This programme gives participants with the prerequisite development and learning to verification, demonstrate and attain the skills and conduct proportionate with the relevant role profile.

The prime factors that had been put in consideration in designing of the police training curriculum in alignment with the LDSF role sketch include (a) clarity of the national standards, (b) embedded diversity training, and (c) variety in training delivery (4). I am going to examine these three factors in the proceeding paragraphs.

Clarity of the national standards

Clarity of the national standards had been triggered by an increasing requirements and expectation with regard to the relevance of qualifications held by lecturers, tutors and trainers in police training. The LDSF plan has facilitated clear articulation of the least professionals standards expected of those engaged in the training.

Embedded diversity training

Secondly, the embedded diversity training is a core component of LDSF plan which in turn is major constituent of the ‘strategy for improving performance in race and diversity 2004 – 2009 (Home office, November 2004). Diversity training is embedded across the entire PTRLDP programme. The general role profile was established as a component of LDSF comprised of the National Occupational Standards for variation as the central practice of the occupational capacity of the role. In alignment to this aspect of role profiles, diversity learning constitutes a component of the core training connected with National Policing Improvement Agency modular programme.

In the modular programme, diversity learning has been incorporated in the core skills and values module of the agency, which must be completed by every participant of the programme. Also, diversity issues are mainstreamed in the entire programme in which the module unit deals with diversity issues in alignment with the training outcomes. Prerequisite to the participation in Police Race and Diversity Learning and Development Programme (PRDLDP) module is a work book or Diversity and the police e-learning.

Variety in training delivery

In the design of police training modular programme, NPIA had taken into consideration the demand for a variety of learning and training styles in delivery that can be tailored to meet individual need in training.

The NIPA integrates a mixed initiative to training in the programme with the objective of perpetuating diverse approaches in the training to its participants. This will enable the trainees to optimise on the range of methods their practice. The mixed approach designed by the agency comprise of the following approaches (a) e-learning ; (b) self-directed learning; (c) one to one tuition; (d) reflective practice; (e) classroom-based learning ; (f) opportunities for practice in delivery; (g) opportunities for observation for learning events; and (h) community involvement.

Role profiles of training providers

The role profiles for the police training providers are parallel to the Skills of Justice, the NPIA Sector Skills Council, in regard of training roles in policing which include; (i) Trainer who is the programme leader, (ii) tutor who act as an advanced trainer, (iii) instructor who plays the role of training manager, and (iv) presenter, who is the training designer.

The modular constituent of the latest PTRLDP version compliments the role profiles of the presenter, tutor, trainer, and instructor. The role profile entails various activities aligned to the Integrated Competency Framework that relates to the entire police training roles which include; management of the personal wellbeing of participants; completion of administration protocols; complacency to safety and health laws; sustenance of the professional practice standards; best technological utility; promotion of human rights, equality, and diversity in workplace setting; perpetuate team working; and perform safety and health risk evaluation. Additional specialist practices designated to individual role profiles are shown below:

  1. Giving developmental and training sessions (presenter, trainer and instructor).
  2. Designing development and training sessions (trainer).
  3. Organizing and giving presentation (Instructor, presenter and Trainer)
  4. Advising and giving support to individual trainees (instructor, trainer).
  5. Assessing the candidates using a variety of techniques (tutor).
  6. Coaching and mentoring of staff (instructor, tutor).
  7. Developing individuals and teams to improve practice (tutor).

Moreover, the role profiles comprise the behaviours that are applicable across a range of activities, which are portrayed in the table below (8).

Behaviour area behaviour Category
Leadership Optimising potential B
Team working Respect for race and diversity A
Client and community focus B
Effective communication skill B
Achieving expectations Problem solving C
Planning and organizing B
Personal responsibility A

Source: National Policing Improvement Agency April 2007 p. 8.

To reflect the above blend of specialised and common practice and behaviours throughout the role profiles, the NPIA employs a modular programme consisting of core unit course to be done by all the participants, in conjunction with a assortment of advance experts modules to be done by participants in complacency of their training demands and the expectation of the role profile that they practice.

The approach of the Police Training Roles Learning and Development Programme (PTRLDP)

The constituent of PTRLDP is strengthened by five essentials which promotes the personal improvement and professional activities of those conducting the training. These essentials include:

  1. Awareness of individual learning and development capacity as professionals and learners.
  2. Capacity to design conditions for learning that perpetuates the following values; (i) respect for every individual learner, (ii) achieving the expectations of each leaner; (iii) understanding and ability to employ different approaches to learning and detaching.
  3. An obligation towards working with variety at the same time promoting equality and inclusivity of opportunity in all views of the learning procedure.
  4. An obligation towards continued evaluation, consequent and reflection improvement of activities.
  5. An obligation towards perpetuating the development of learning communities and to learning from and working with colleagues.

The modular framework of PTRLDP

The table below describes a sketch of the full set of modules of PTRLDP, the alignment of the modules to the role profiles.

Module Title Duration Trainer
instructor presenter
Core skills and values
  1. Classroom phase
  2. Work-based phase
  3. Review & consolidation
11 days
(includes 5 days work-based learning)
Enabling learning in practice 4 days
Design and delivery in practice 5 days
Coaching, and mentoring 1 days
Evaluating learning 1 day
Specialist delivery techniques 2.5 days
Assessing learning 2 days

Source: National Policing Improvement Agency (10)

Pathways in the PTRLDP

The flexibility of this programme framework facilitates the choosing the pathways through the modular portfolio in alignment to their expectation of their respective role profile, learning demands and prior experience. This programme presents three options for the learners including enrolment for, unit modules, blend of modules, or an entire programme.

The major significance of designing a modular structure is to enable accessibility to mobilising flexibility of participation and completion of the classroom-centred segment of the programme. The programme does not oblige students to complete the classroom-centred training in uniform block.

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