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Black Box for the Thin Blue Line: Developing self and peer assessment in police command training

Principal focus of the project

This study explores how effectively established techniques such as guided feedback can be used in delivering enhanced learning for experienced police commanders, such as Initial Tactical Firearms Commander courses.

What is this about and what were the main findings?

Research included a review of formative assessment in current practice; the deployment of tactics to develop self and peer assessment; and surveys and interviews with trainees. Information was also gathered through observations on other police courses including discussion with trainers and students, e.g. tactical training involving operational firearms officers. It was felt that peer and self-assessment were effective ways to support police commanders in their learning, and that it was crucial for the teacher to create the right environment for effective assessment.

Resource form
Number of participants who worked with the project
Name(s) of authors

Bruce Mathews

Name of associate programmes

ETF/sunCETT MA Short Course, Practitioner Research Programme


This paper considered whether there is a role for self and peer assessment in police courses, normally focussed on directed training, when students are faced with high stakes, often career defining, pass/fail tests.

Resource Type: Poster, Research report