All probationary police constables in England and Wales undertake an extensive and professional training programme known as the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP), leading to the Level 3 Diploma in Policing (QCF), during their first two years of service. The diploma replaces the previous NVQ in Policing Levels 3 and 4.
Individual forces are responsible for the local implementation and delivery of the IPLDP and the emphasis is on local community involvement and a flexible timetable.
The IPLDP is divided into four training phases, which cover the completion of the diploma. The precise name and length of each phase varies slightly between forces, but the IPLDP curriculum is generally divided as follows:
Continuing professional development (CPD) and ongoing training are important. Annual performance and development reviews (PDRs) assess and monitor the progress of police officers to ensure that their professional skills are kept up to date and they are abreast of the demands of a constantly changing work environment.
In Scotland, the Probationer Training Programme lasts for 104 weeks. During the first 64 weeks, probationers are assessed both in the operational environment and academically at the Scottish Police College . The remaining time is served in force under continued supervision, followed by a Diploma in Police Service Leadership and Management, which takes a further 18 months.
In Northern Ireland, the initial 21-week Student Officer Training Programme (SOTP), based at Police College, Garnerville, leads to a Higher Education Certificate in Policing. If probationers successfully complete this stage, they will undergo a two-year probation period, including ten weeks with a tutor constable, three weeks' driver training, training in public order and the use of firearms, and continual assessment including physical competency tests.
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