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Learning and CPD

This section of the Centre website presents the Learning Pathways specifically aimed at policing, that can be used to support CPD. 

The Learning Pathways provide guided pathways to learning that can support Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Different learning pathways can be planned according to your aims and interests.  These pathways can improve your skills and knowledge, impact on your practice, and aid your career progression across ranks, roles and police specialisms.

Free Learning

Mode: Part-time

Time: (5 mins - 14 days)

Free, bite-sized informal online short courses, known as Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are available over the internet to use anywhere, anytime, and by anyone. They are easily accessible via a laptop, tablet or smartphone. These short courses can be used to support CPD by providing more knowledge in a particular area, prepare you for future study, or just to satisfy your personal interest.

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Mode: Part-time

Time: (6 - 12 months)

There are a variety of credit-bearing courses that can provide an ideal starting point to develop your study skills, build confidence or improve your knowledge within a specific subject. These are fee-paying academic modules that can be studied on a standalone basis, or can be used as an integral part of an Open University (OU) Degree or Postgraduate Qualification, thus allowing you to try out the OU style of learning and get a taste of your chosen subject.

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Mode: Full/Part-time

Time: (3 - 6 years)

Obtaining a Degree can enhance your CPD and allow you to progress to higher levels of study. There are a variety of structured Honours Degrees (BSc or BA) that focus upon a particular subject (e.g., Law, Psychology, Technology, Management and Business). Alternatively, there is an Open Degree qualification that is flexible enough to allow you to choose subject modules to study in a variety of combinations. This degree gives you the opportunity to build a qualification that is unique to you.

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Postgraduate Qualifications

Mode: Full/Part-time

Time: (1 - 3 years)

There are a number of Postgraduate Qualifications ranging from Diplomas, Postgraduate Certificates (PG Cert) to a Masters Degree. These include a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) in Evidence-Based Practice that is aimed specifically for police officers and staff to develop their knowledge within the use of research evidence within the police setting; and a variety of Business (MBA), Technology (MSc) and Management qualifications. These qualifications link closely to the College of Policing PEQF (Policing Police Education Qualification Framework).

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PhD Research

Mode: Full/Part-time

Time: (3 - 7 years)

A PhD is a Doctorate of Philosophy, a prestigious qualification that is based on in-depth research on a particular topic supervised by an academic and resulting in a written thesis of up to 100K words. Completing a PhD demonstrates talent, research excellence and a thirst for knowledge. At various times of the year the Centre for Policing Research and Learning offers PhD studentships to police officers and staff whose force belongs to the Consortium.

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Research Fellowships

Mode: Various

Time: (Typically 3 months)

To support collaborative research, the Centre for Policing Research and Learning provides secondments for police officers and staff, called Senior Practitioner Fellowships (SPF). These secondments provide opportunities for police to work alongside academics on key research projects.

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Supporting CPD

The Centre for Policing Research and Learning, working closely with the Consortium police partners and the College of Policing, have aligned these pathways for learning to the College of Policing's CPD framework.

You can download the College of Policing CPD framework here:

Recognising PEQF

The College of Police have developed a Policing Education Qualification Framework (PEQF) that describes Level 3 as being equivalent to an A Level, and Level 6 as equivalent to a degree. The aim is to enable police to gain qualifications based on their level and practice, and to encourage progression to higher levels of policing through obtaining a degree or postgraduate qualification, as offered in the Learning Pathways.

You can download the College of Policing PEQF here: