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Thu, 22 October 2020

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College of Policing


College of Policing 10th floor, River​​side House 2A Southwark Bridge Road London SE1 9HA

An introduction to our work

What is it?

The College of Policing was established in 2012 as the professional body for everyone working in policing in England and Wales. Its purpose is to provide both officers and staff with the skills and knowledge necessary to prevent crime, protect the public and secure public trust.

The College of Policing has three, complementary functions:

  • Knowledge: developing the research and infrastructure for growing evidence of ‘what works’. Over time, this will ensure policing practice and standards are based on knowledge, not custom and convention.

  • Standards:  drawing on the best available evidence of ‘what works’ to set standards in policing for forces and individuals. For example, through Authorised Professional Practice (APP) and peer review.

  • Education: supporting the development of individual members of the profession. It sets educational requirements to assure the public of the quality and consistency of policing skills, and facilitate academic accreditation and recognition of members’ expertise.

The British model of policing by consent is admired right across the world. The College will help to create the best conditions to sustain and enhance that model.

Knowledge for better policing

The use of knowledge and research to develop an evidence-based approach to policing is fundamental to everything that the College does. It hosts the ‘What Works Centre for Crime Reduction’, which distils academic research about whether or not certain interventions reduce crime into short, accessible guides that can help the police to do their job. Over 300 systematic reviews have already been identified, covering more than 60 crime reduction interventions. Over 35 of these are already available through the College’s online crime reduction toolkit including CCTV, street lighting and prison visits to deter young offenders (sometimes known as 'scared straight' programmes).

The College has a coordinating role across the country, encouraging partnerships so that universities, further education colleges and police forces can co-operate to build the evidence base for policing and put knowledge into practice.

For example, College supported trials of Body Worn Video have showed that it could be effective in increasing the proportion of detections that lead to criminal charges. Currently ongoing training pilots include one on stop and search to help improve police-public contact.

Standards for better policing

The College sets and improves standards for policing based on evidence of what works. The College takes a range of approaches to setting standards, ranging from guidance and facilitating the sharing of best practice through our secure online network (POLKA), to issuing Codes of Practice which are laid in Parliament. Chief Constables and PCCs are required to have regard to these standards in order to ensure consistency across the 43 forces in England and Wales.

For example, the College has twice reviewed guidance on Child Sexual Exploitation to take into account changes to the law and learning from high profile cases. This guidance underpins a consistent approach to identifying risks and safeguarding children and young people. In another high profile area, the College has updated standards for all those involved in tackling domestic abuse.

During 2016 the College will finalise new Authorised Professional Practice on the police response to mental health needs and produce a Code of Practice on police vetting.

Education for better policing

The College works to support the development of individual members of the policing profession. It sets educational requirements to assure the public of the quality and consistency of policing skills, and to facilitate external academic accreditation of the skills of its members. For example, the Professionalising Investigation Programme improves and accredits detectives with a professional qualification, which is standardised across the service. The College has also developed a training programme to support greater consistency in crime recording.

On cyber crime, the College recently launched an updated training package which helps to ensure that officers’ skills in this evolving area are constantly updated.

The College is developing proposals for consultation on the first Policing Education Qualifications Framework, to recognise the complexity of policing roles and provide an opportunity for serving officers to gain recognised academic qualifications through accreditation of their prior learning and experience. These proposals will include consideration of potential entry routes into the service, including a graduate qualification in policing, conversion courses for graduates in other subjects and Higher Level Apprenticeships.

What difference has it made?

The College:

  • Created a Code of Ethics for UK policing: the written guide to the principles that every member of the policing profession is expected to uphold and the standards of behaviour that they are expected to meet.

  • Produced a Leadership Review which identifies what might be required of policing leaders in the future, and recommends how policing can develop the best possible leadership to meet future challenges.

  • Sets the National Policing Curriculum, including the content of the Strategic Command Course for the most senior leaders; and entry requirements for the service.

  • Delivers Direct Entry schemes which are broadening the profile of new entrants to policing.

  • Provides peer support services to forces, including a national series of Child Sexual Exploitation peer reviews to 38 forces last year.

  • Runs national centres of training excellence in specialist areas such as forensics.

  • Developed the first methodology which enables forces to measure actual demand for their services, compare demand between forces and make effective, evidence based decisions about meeting local needs.  

  • Facilitated the sharing of good practice online through POLKA; our secure online network for policing which has over 56,000 registered users.

  • Registered over 30,000 delegates on UK events and training courses last year.

How is it funded?

The majority of the College’s funding comes from the Home Office budget, the rest is largely revenue generated through the provision of training and services within the UK and further afield.

How is it governed?

A Board of Directors is charged with securing the long-term success of the College. The Board is led by an independent Chair, Professor Dame Shirley Pearce and it includes the College Chief Executive; four independent directors from various sectors; one Police and Crime Commissioner; one chief constable; one member of police staff; one member from the Superintending ranks; and one member from the Federated ranks.

The Government’s intention is to establish the College of Policing as a statutory body, independent of government. While the necessary preparations for independence are met, the College has been established as a company limited by guarantee, and an Arms-Length Body, operationally independent of the Home Office.

Partnerships for better policing; how does it relate to other bodies?

The College is not a staff association but works closely with police staff associations and unions across all ranks. The College Board includes members of the police associations and its stakeholder reference group helps to ensure that it is responsive to its partners across policing.

The College’s Memorandum of Understanding with the Home Office and concordat with IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) and HMIC (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary), setting out how they will work together in the public interest are available on our website. For example, the College uses evidence to set standards and, where appropriate, HMIC inspects forces against these standards. If an IPCC investigation indicates the need for changes to police standards, guidance or training, the IPCC promptly engages with the College to resolve this.

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