Police Recruit Training Programmes: A Systematic Map of Research Literature

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This article presents a map and summary of the landscape of a systematic search of the police recruit training literature. Following the process of searching, screening, and coding both published and grey literature, a total of 109 studies met our inclusion criteria. Thematic analysis of the 109 studies led to the emergence of six broad themes and associated subthemes. The two most prevalent themes focused on 'examining academic and/or field training' and 'examining a specific aspect of the training programme', each containing 36 studies. Most of the studies were based in the USA, (n = 67). Grey literature such as dissertations, theses, and reports made up nearly half of all included studies (n = 51) and published journal articles made up the bulk of the remaining studies (n = 50). Furthermore, 56 studies (50%) used a quantitative design, 36 studies (33%) adopted mixed methods, and 19 studies (17%) employed a qualitative approach. The 109 studies were double-blind quality appraised using recognized quality appraisal tools and revealed a wide variation in the nature and quality of studies. Overall, the strength of the evidence was fragile; only 13 studies (12%) were of a 'strong' quality, 55 studies (50%) were 'weak', and the rest (41, i.e. 38%) were of 'moderate' quality. The article concludes with recommendations for guiding future research in police recruit training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-75
Number of pages24
JournalPolicing (Oxford)
Issue number1
Early online date5 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Police recruit training
  • Systematic review


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