Institute of Criminal Justice Studies

Certificate in Knowledge of Policing

Certificate of Knowledge in Policing

We are accredited providers of the Certificate of Knowledge in Policing through our Police, Law and Community (PLC) programme, available to all students on ICJS courses at the University of Portsmouth.

(Currently we cannot accept applications from people who are not University of Portsmouth students. However we run a variety of full-time and part-time (by distance learning) courses which you might consider - view ICJS Courses here)

Achievement of the Certificate in Knowledge in Policing (CKP) will help prepare those seeking recruitment to the Police Service as a Police Constable in England or Wales. The qualification is also relevant to other related roles within the Criminal Justice Sector.

The certificate is an important element of the Professional Entry into Policing Pre-Join Strategy, and accredits the knowledge and understanding which also forms part of the Diploma in Policing qualification. The Diploma in Policing is the minimum mandatory qualification which Regular Police Constables are required to achieve to be confirmed in rank and forms part of the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP). All those who achieve the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing through a provider approved by the College of Policing will be able to submit this as evidence of the knowledge component of the Diploma. All awarding organisations offering the Diploma in Policing recognise and accept the relationship between the CKP and Diploma in Policing.

Successful achievement of the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing does not in itself provide any guarantee of recruitment as a trainee Police Constable. Each police force within England and Wales sets out its own recruitment process and selection policy and entry requirements vary from force to force. Prospective students are therefore strongly advised to check the specific requirements of their chosen force prior to undertaking study.

It should be noted that all candidates need to pass medical and fitness tests as well as background and security checks and undertake a series of assessments, tests and an interview at a Police SEARCH® assessment centre.

About the PLC programme

PLC leads to an understanding of the law that applies to policing and the skills used by police officers. Through the study of different policing models, investigative theories and policy issues, you will demonstrate the practical application of your knowledge and your ability to put your academic and professional skills to use. Topics include:

  • legislation, police powers and restrictions;
  • the criminal justice system;
  • interaction with victims, witnesses and suspects;
  • social and community issues

Once you have attained the award, you will be able to apply to UK police forces (subject to their individual entry requirements and selection process). As far as possible, we tailor the course to fit police recruitment timetables.

How do I study? 

If you are a distance-learning student, you will complete a full set of workbooks covering a wide range of policing issues and write an essay on a given topic. The unit can be worth 20 credits towards your degree.

If you are a campus-based student, you will complete a full set of workbooks and write an essay on a given topic. The unit can be taken as 20 credits towards your degree, or as an extra-curricular certificate. 

The unit is not currently open to those who are not University of Portsmouth students. 

How do I apply?

The CKP course is not currently available in a standalone format, only as part of an ICJS degree course. It is normally taken as an option in the second year of a full-time campus degree, or the second stage (over years 3 and 4) of a distance-learning programme.


If you are applying for, or following, a full-time campus-based course, please contact the administration team on for more details about selecting this option.


If you are interested in taking the Certificate of Knowledge in Policing as part of a distance learning ICJS degree, please contact the administration team on for more information about taking this option.


If you are not a University of Portsmouth student on an ICJS course, you may be able to find a course in the South East at one of the colleges listed by the College of Policing.