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Police officer: Training

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.

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:

  • Phase 1: induction - general introduction to the organisation with training in first aid, health and safety, officer safety, ICT, race and diversity, human rights and community safety strategy.
  • Phase 2: community - training in crime and disorder reduction and a community placement.
  • Phase 3: supervised patrol - workplace practice supported by class-based learning, dealing with simulated incidents and work-based learning under supervised patrol.
  • Phase 4: independent patrol - combines operational duties with independent and distance learning.

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, all new recruits must successfully complete around 25 hours of e-learning in the 4 weeks before starting at the Training College. The initial 22-week Student Officer Training Programme (SOTP), based at Police College, Garnerville, leads to a 2-year probation period, including 10 weeks with a tutor constable, 3 weeks' driver training, training in public order and the use of firearms, and continual assessment including physical competency tests.

A small number of talented graduates on the High Potential Graduate Entry Scheme (HPGES) can secure their place on the High Potential Development Scheme (HPDS) before starting with their force. You'll find more information about this in career development.


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Written by AGCAS editors
January 2014

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