A Systematic Review of Police Recruit Training Programmes

Jyoti Belur, Winifred Agnew-Pauley, Brendan Mcginley, Lisa Tompson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


An evidence-based approach to guide the proposed changes to recruit police training under the Police Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF) in England and Wales requires that changes be grounded in the available evidence on what works in recruit training. This systematic review is a synthesis of primary evidence on police academies, field training, and how police recruits learn. The purpose of the review is to learn from the evidence to inform the development of a graduate level training programme in England and Wales. The review, inspired by a realist approach, includes a total of 33 studies conducted in a number of countries. Key training contexts, mechanisms, and outcomes were examined to determine how training works, under what conditions, and for whom. Findings indicate that student-centred teaching approaches were found to promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Recruits preferred practical, hands-on training over theoretical lessons, and field training was consistently shown to have a positive impact on the process of transforming recruits from civilians into police officers. Finally, the role of academic and field training tutors was found to be of critical importance for recruits in integrating theoretical learning with practical skills. Policy implications for the UK College of Policing and police forces implementing the PEQF are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-90
Number of pages15
JournalPolicing (Oxford)
Issue number1
Early online date22 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Police recruit training
  • Police training
  • Systematic review


Dive into the research topics of 'A Systematic Review of Police Recruit Training Programmes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this