The Power of Teaching Police through the Prism of Human Rights


  • Sean Molloy Newcastle University



As part of their training in England and Wales, police recruits are required to engage with a complex mix of law, often with no prior background in legal education. In addition, they must learn, understand, and apply the content of a highly descriptive national police curriculum (NPC). The combination of these tasks, amongst other things, can limit the extent to which police training can cultivate critical thinking, a central objective of efforts to professionalise the police in recent times. In this article and based on the author’s experience of teaching law to police recruits, the challenges of the current approach to police training are explored through Freire’s pedagogy of the oppressed and what he terms the banking model of education. After drawing connections between this model and the current approach to police training, a human rights-based approach to police teaching is offered as an example of Freire’s preferred problem-solving method. Central to this model is utilising the views of recruits regarding the role of the police in balancing rights to help understand the law as it exists.

Author Biography

Sean Molloy, Newcastle University

NUAcT Fellow in Law and Newcastle Law School, Newcastle University






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