Police Training, Human Rights and getting the basics right.

When it comes to providing good training to law enforcement there is always one critical aspect to decide: What do you include and what to leave out? The very nature of law enforcement means that there is always a huge amount of material to teach, and a limited amount of time in which to deliver that training. Deciding what must be included in training and what we can afford to leave out can be very difficult. It is relatively rare for there to be a public discussion on what was or what was not addressed in police training, however, this is discussed in an article in the UK's Guardian newspaper. 


The discussion focuses on an agreement between The UK's College of Policing and Bahrain's Ministry of Interior and relates to the supply of training by the College.  Setting aside the fact that any clear link to covert training, as mentioned in the news article,  is far from apparent, this should not detract from the learning that can be obtained from the content.

The issue of real interest is why any mention of 'Human Rights' was omitted from the agreement between the two parties. [It should be noted that the  said agreement remains confidential and that in order to discuss the article content, one has to accept that what the Guardian has said in relation to its content, is accurate.]   The concern raised in this article is that there was no mention was made of Human Rights content in the training agreement . If that is correct it is a serious omission.

There are a number of core themes that should run through all police training regardless of what is being trained and to whom. These include:

  1. Human Rights.
  2. Ethics. 
  3. Diversity.

These topics should be covered in the training objectives for any course, both implicitly and explicitly. They are essential content for all police training. All UK police training should include these, as should any training that is being delivered outside the UK but paid for by UK taxpayers.  Any trainer delivering training on police course should be tested on their knowledge of these subjects, before they are allowed to deliver the training. Unfortunately this does not always happen.  Even if the trainers do include human rights content, they often omit to write down that their training includes some essential aspects, for example, human rights. 

There are two lessons for those involved in police training, to take away from this article:

  1. Include human rights, ethics and diversity in all police training.
  2. Write down they will be included  and how the training will include them. 

It is unfortunate , given the fact that UK policing leads the world in many of these subjects, that such a simple omission, such as that referred to in the article, can over-shadow all the other good that UK police training has achieved especially internationally.

If you are a police trainer, or  involved in curriculum development for police training, and have any questions about how to integrate human rights training as a core theme please get in contact with us.