Student Officers

Until fairly recently one element of training, all new recruits would be expected to undertake was the 12 week residential training at a Centrex training centre. This has now changed and all forces are now training new officers (now known as Student Officers) using a scheme called the Initial Police Learning & Development Programme (IPLDP).

This is a new training system where Student Officers receive more local based training from their own forces, this helps forces train their officers more closely to the communities they will serve. This, for many forces is a non-residential course meaning new recruits will not have to attend a residential course taking them away from their families and friends, a major problem for many prospective applicants in the past

The National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA) are responsible for maintaining the IPLDP content.

The IPLDP is first a foremost a chance to develop new officers in the community that they will eventually be policing.

Each force differs on the way it will deliver initial police training, each force is different and so they tailor their delivery according to their individual needs. Different forces use different facilities in which to deliver course content. Some use their own training facilities which normally would be at their force headquarters. Others send student officers to universities for classroom based learning. I am in the process of trying to gather a list of all forces and how where they deliver initial police training. I hope to update this section in the near future with that information.

Although each force differs in the way it delivers its training they all do follow a similar format, you will all learn the same things in the end! Saying that I'm sure there are some forces that do it better than others!

The Initial Training for Student Officers focuses on three specific areas of policing: Neighbourhood, Intelligence and Investigation.

Initial Course

So what can you expect from the IPLDP? Student officers will all attend an initial course during which they will learn about the force and the challenges it faces.

Duration: Anything up to seven weeks

Community Phase

During this phase you will be learn all the elements of Neighbourhood Policing. The Home Office are pushing Neighbourhood Teams in a big way across the forces, all forces should now have a Neighbourhood Team in place. At the end of this you will be posted to a Neighbourhood Team to put into practice the skills you have developed during this phase. The length of this attachment varies from force to force, some are as little as two weeks, others can be up to five.

Duration: Anything up to ten weeks

Intelligence Phase

The concept of intelligence led policing underpins all aspects of policing, from neighbourhood to major crime. The police could not function without intelligence, it is how we prevent, investigate and solve crime! Because of this UK Police Forces place a huge emphasis onto obtaining good quality intelligence that it can act upon. During this phase you will learn all about intelligence. How we collate it, how we assess it and how we act on it! This phase will normally include an attachment to an intelligence led unit to put your new skill into practice.

Duration: Anything up to seven weeks

Investigation Phase

A crime has taken place, now investigate further! Where do you start? This phase will teach you how to investigate crime. From the initial investigation through to interview and then on to preparing a case file for court. During this part of the course you will conduct mock interviews with "suspects" for offences. What kind of information should you disclose to the suspects legal representative, how do you interview someone? These are all things that you will learn during this phase. This phase will include an attachment to an crime investigation unit which can vary in time depending on the force. The unit you will be attached to can also depend. You could be attached to a prisoner handling unit, picking up prisoners who are arrested by response officers or you could be posted to a burglary unit squad investigating, arresting and interviewing suspected burglars. Gone are the days where there was just the CID who did pretty much everything investigation wise. Forces now have specialised units investigating certain offences (Burglary Unit, Car Crime Unit, Robbery Unit being just a few).

Duration: Anywhere up to seven weeks

Street Skills

The final phase in the initial training will be street skills (it could be referred to by a different name in your force). This will prepare you for your attachment to a response team, responding to incidents called in by the public. Classroom based learning will be followed by an attachment to a response team, responding to 999 emergency calls and other calls for assistance. This is the bit most people join the police for in all honesty! Blue light calls and uniformed patrol, after all its what you join for isn't it?

Duration: Anywhere up to seven weeks

During your attachment phases you will be paired with an experienced officer who will be able to coach you and help you develop your new skills. These officers are called "Coaches". You will not be left on your own during your attachments!

Threaded throughout all of the phases will be lessons on important pieces of law and police procedure.

Independent Patrol & Further Training

After these phases you should be at a stage where you are signed off for independent patrol. It is time for you to go out on the big bad streets on your own. But your learning doesn't end there, in fact it is only just beginning!

You will attend other courses throughout your probationary period teaching you skills necessary to being a good copper! These can include further interview training, sexual offences training and court skills.

Professional Development Portfolio (PDP)

For the first two years you will be a probationary officer and will have to complete a Professional Development Portfolio (PDP) to evidence your competencies in core elements of policing. Examples these core elements include "Responding to incidents", Interviewing Suspects", "Interviewing Witnesses" and "Crime Investigation". There are a lot more competency areas that you will need to evidence (approximately 22 areas of policing) in order to be confirmed in rank of Constable once your two year period is up! You will be assigned an assessor from the Professional Development Unit (PDU) who will monitor your progress throughout your two year probationary period. They will assess your work and sign off your PDP competencies when they are satisfied that you have met the required standard.