Gathering evidence from the USERS – A new blog from an MSc student at CCCU…

Training Day…

“Police need more training in {insert issue here}”

It’s a common enough quote. Whether it is in the media, in government reports or even internal evaluations within the service, it seems the police constantly need more training. I noticed this recently in relation to the latest stories around the police and mental heath started breaking with Insp Michael Brown of @MentalHealthCop on Twitter fame presenting to a House of Commons select committee (and more recently at the Police Federation conference). I received an email asking for ‘nominations’ from my own team to attend a two day course on the subject. To a large extent as a serving officer I have some sympathy with this idea. There are many issues which I do not know much (or anything about) and training certainly seems as sensible way forward.

However there are two big problems.

The first is that training is often seen as a panacea for all problems, or at least a way of senior managers to say that they have addressed the issue (tick-box culture anyone?); and secondly there are far too many issues that officers need training on. Certainly there are far too many to devote days and days out of the office (or off the streets) to address to have police officers and staff sat in training rooms often miles from their usual places of work.

The solution? Stick it on an E-learning package, send it out and tell everyone that it is a mandatory course to be completed by a certain date.

Problem solved, yes?

Well actually no. Anecdotally there is a lot of dissatisfaction with E-Learning. Discussions with officers, blog and forum posts, Twitter entries all rail against the products provided by the National Centre for Applied Learning Technologies (NCALT) for the police. Officers complain it is not real training. They don’t learn anything from it, let alone develop skills necessary to do the job. But at the same time chief officers are suffering from dwindling budgets and a need to train large numbers of staff in a hurry.

The thing is no-one seems to have formally asked officers what they actually think, and how things can be improved, (except very recently in the GMP). There is little published recently in the academic or professional literature on the subject.

As an MSc student on the Paul McKeever Scholarship at CCCU I have been asked to look into the issue of ongoing training with a particular focus on the provision of E-learning by NCALT to help the Federation formulate with some evidence-based policy on the subject. As a result of this I have created a survey which all police officers of a federated rank in England and Wales (except those involved in training design) are welcome to complete, with follow up focus groups after the survey data has been analysed. This survey is open until the 30th of June and I would like to invite everyone who is eligible to take part. This is YOUR opportunity to have a say on ongoing training provision and NCALT, please take it.

You can access the survey at the following link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/trainingpdsurvey

If anyone wishes to ask me anything about the study please do not hesitate to get in touch at r.honess312@canterbury.ac.uk

I look forward to your responses.

Richard Honess

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