Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Answers to some of the commonly asked questions about Professional Profiles, Career Pathways and the Recognition of Prior Experience and Learning (RPL)

Professional Profiles

Under Construction

Career Pathways


Under Construction

Recognition of Prior Experience & Learning (RPL)

Will the College provide a National Framework for the support forces should provide?

The College recognises the vast diversity between forces and the differing local priorities and challenges. This means a ‘one size fits all’ approach would not be appropriate. Instead the College has produced a guidance document containing a variety of suggestions and considerations which a force should tailor to suit their own needs and situation. This guidance document is viewed as a living document which will evolve as more evidence is gathered to support the best practise in supporting officers and staff to achieve academic and professional qualifications.

Do I have to be a member of the College of Policing to access the online tool to estimate the potential number of credits I could be awarded by an academic institution?

The online tool, which will include the College of Policing Directory of recognised qualification providers and the Credit Estimator are now live. Access is provided to members and is a membership benefit however access is also provided to former officers and staff and to those Higher Education Institutions/Awarding Bodies engaging with the College of Policing. You will not need any log in or password details to access the Credit Estimator online tool.

Have all Universities agreed to these credits?

A Directory of providers that have agreed to the process will be available on the online tool due to go live in October, this will include Universities and other organisations offering professional qualifications. It will contain information about the courses available, how they are taught and assessed, the course cost, RPL cost and location, along with direct links to the course listed. The online tool will also include a Credit Estimator to help individuals see how many credits they might be able to get for their learning.

When will officers and staff start receiving information about RPL?

It has been decided to phase the release of information to allow respective police services the time to develop their position in relation to the support they can offer to individuals who want to take advantage of the process. This Professional Development Platform provides information for individuals, police services and higher education institutions (HEI).

What about the PTF bid? We need to know the outcome of this to help with local implementation.

The College recognises that the PTF bid could have a huge impact on what support forces are able to offer. Unfortunately the decision on the success of the bid has been delayed and is out of the control of the College.

Why doesn’t this cover the ranks of Chief Inspector and above?

The intention is that work will be undertaken to more accurately map the skills and experience of Chief Inspectors and above during the next phase of the project. In the first instance ranks of Inspector and below were looked at in line with the PEQF focus on entry routes. Officers above the rank of Inspector would still be able to apply and their course history taken into account based on the NPC Matrix, however at this stage minimum credit values and levels haven’t been identified for learning from skills and experience. However, it is likely that at Chief Inspector and above an applicant would be able to gain at least direct entry to a post graduate qualification.

Does this apply to police staff as it seems focussed on police officers?

Yes. This process is aimed at both officers and staff. Not all National Policing Curriculum Course were suitable for awarding credit, however, a number of courses listed will apply to police staff. Learning from experience has also been mapped for police staff. To identify which Level a member of police staff is they are advised to look at their professional profile, also held on the new online tool. The ‘what this looks like’ examples are currently focussed on the police ranks but the next phase of the work will seek to extend this to cover police staff roles, some of the examples listed under police officers may still be relevant to police staff.

Does the College of Policing award credits?

No. RPL is a process between an individual learner and the Higher Education Institution (HEI)/Awarding Body they are applying to in order their prior experience and learning may be taken into account. It will be the decision of the HEI/Awarding Body whether to award RPL credits to the individual.

Will I have to do any written work to be awarded RPL credits from an HEI/Awarding Body?

The likelihood is yes. The HEI/Awarding body will want evidence of your prior experience and learning, each HEI/Awarding Body may ask for that in different formats and these are likely to be in the form of reflective assignments, journals or logs and may be coupled with a professional discussion; they may wish to see written evidence and/or certification from prior learning. There will be a process and learners will need to discuss this directly with the respective HEI/Awarding Body.

I am considering undertaking a vocational qualification at Level 3 can I use my credit estimation for RPL with the relevant Level 3 learning provider and/or professional awarding body?

The RPL Credit Estimator has been designed to manage RPL with approved HEIs/Professional Awarding bodies who have submitted their programmes for inclusion on the Directory for Levels 4 to 8. However if you undertake a programme which is lower than Level 4 you may wish to bring your credit estimation to their attention; they are under no obligation to award any learner RPL credits towards any vocational programme.

I have done several in-house courses in the police service I work for, can these be credited for RPL purposes?

Most of the National Police Curriculum (NPC) programmes have been assessed, some have been awarded Levels and Credits for RPL purposes. Some of the NPC programmes credits are so low that a HEI will not accept those programmes therefore they have not been included on the NPC matrix. It is extremely unlikely that an in-house course will have been Levelled and Credited unless it is a specific programme/course that has already been by a HEI/Awarding body and delivered and marketed as such.