Recent changes to the landscape of policing and the nexus to post-secondary (or higher) education, along with moves towards the professionalisation of policing, have created a gap in the education levels of current serving police officers, fuelling their desire to complete a university degree. Prior Learning Assessment Recognition (PLAR) processes support candidates entering into academia by recognising and granting credit to prior, experiential and other types of learning. At Wilfrid Laurier University, in Brantford, Canada, this process widens student participation by providing a route through which the training and work experience is evaluated to award academic credit upon admission to the undergraduate BA Policing degree, thereby opening up opportunity for serving police officers to gain a higher education degree. The RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) process utilized by the University of Worcester, England is a similar process, taking into consideration “on the job” learning and in-house training and development, to springboard the serving officer into the academic domain and the BA Criminology or Criminology with Policing programme. This study seeks to compare the alternative admission routes to police related undergraduate programs, through assessment of prior learning, training, and the experience of police officers. It will further examine how the two universities support bridging the academic gap between new recruits and long-serving officers, supporting the professionalisation transition of the police, and identifying evidence-based best practices.
Evaluation of RPL processes and criteria adopted by the two universities that enable police officers access to higher education who do not hold formal academic qualifications.