A comparison of police pre-employment training and education in the UK and USA
Authors: Heslop, R.
Start date: 3 September 2013
Place of Publication: Published on line on Conference Website
In recent years, in England and Wales, there has been a growing interest in police pre-employment training and education programmes. The shift from the traditional post-employment training model to a pre-join approach is being driven by economic imperatives as well as by an aim to professionalise the police. Yet when examined from broader and international perspectives self-funded pre-entry training for other professions is nothing new and in other countries, such as the U.S.A., mandatory pre-employment training for policing has existed for decades. Although the subject of police pre-employment training featured significantly in two recent and influential reports into policing in England and Wales (Neyroud 2011, Winsor 2012), there has been relatively few academic articles about police pre-employment training in the police studies scholarly literature. This paper adds to the extant literature and compares emerging approaches to police pre-employment training in the U.K.
with the more established system of police pre-join training in the U.S.A. The paper is informed by a review of key literature relating to police entry-level training in both countries and empirical research conducted by the author in the U.S.A. The research finds that a mixed-market model of police entry-level training has evolved in America which reflects its diverse and radically decentralised system of policing, whereby nearly half of all basic training takes place in police academies operated by academic institutions. The paper concludes that there are lessons to be learnt from the American approach which may help inform the development of pre-join training in the U.K.