Metropolitan Police Basic Training – Impossible to Fail!

Hendon is still the training site for new recruits to the Metropolitan Police Service. You might recall my recent post about the total absence at Hendon now, of any training in criminal law?

Met Recruits Are Taught No Criminal Lawdilbert_fireThe instructors assume the recruits will either teach themselves, or already have a good understanding of the law from having been police volunteers. Obviously, the reality is that they all need intensive training in the detail of criminal law – when I was a new recruit I spent twelve intense weeks at a residential course. In total, I was in training on and off for two years.

So all I can say is that Met’s senior management have their heads in the sand. How can you put new police officers on the streets, yet not teach them ANY criminal law??

Anyway, I don’t wish to repeat myself. Instead I’d like to give you an update. The latest round of new recruits have all passed their exams. Congratulations to them all, but how exactly did they pull this off, we might ask?


I have a colleague who has come through a recent intake. This was his report to me:

“As the exams approached, the instructors seemed increasingly on edge,” he said. “The day before the exams, one of our teachers spent a couple of hours listing the exact contents of the papers.”

“It was clear that they were terrified that everybody would fail. We had all of course self-studied, because there was no other choice, and we all wanted to pass.”


“In fact, the final exam was so heavily simplified that there was no possibility of failing. Hence, the lowest mark in the class was 90%.”

I was reminded of passing my firearms course. The theory exam involved a great deal of legal and procedural rules and definitions, none of which were at all memorable.

For example, Section 3 of the Criminal Law Act 1967:

‘A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons unlawfully at large.’

There were numerous swathes of this kind of turgid material. We had been told throughout the course that we must learn these word-for-word, so some of the class were worried about passing. On the day of the exam, our instructor told us:

“Guys, why don’t you put up posters around the walls of the room – all the main definitions that might be in the exam? And when we have the exam, it might be helpful if you bring your course material in with you. Incidentally, I’m going to invigilate the exam, and it’s extremely unlikely that I will look up from my iPad…”


This might seem disgraceful, but it isn’t. By the end of the firearms course, every candidate had completely internalised the firearms definition – so thoroughly had we used them during the course. I knew everything word-for-word, and I wasn’t the only person. Such detailed learning isn’t strictly necessary for armed police work.

However, the Met’s indifference towards the education and training of its brand new police recruits – that is a completely different matter.

It’s interesting how the Metropolitan Police senior management completely disregards the education of its new officers, then fixes it so that the exams are impossible to fail…