How Frequent Does Refresher Training Need to Be?


The cost of providing up-to-date training is considerable, making it important to know the ideal balance between training too often (and wasting critical resources) and not training often enough (risking errors or safety violations). The Police Sector Council of Canada asked us to support the development of an impartial, evidence-based strategy around “Use of Force” skills (e.g., handcuffing suspects, etc.). This strategy would ensure that training occurred at the appropriate time to meet operational policing needs.


We reviewed the literature to establish best practices and interviewed instructors from police training academies, colleges, and police services to understand how “use of force” training is currently conducted.


Our report culminated in a clear description of best practices from the literature, conclusions based on consultations with subject matter experts, and advice for developing a strategy to refresh critical policing skills. This advice informed national standards that would ensure the best possible use of scarce training resources and ensure the safety of front line officers. Tools have been developed that can help any organization estimate when refresher training is required or provide developers of a new product when to recommend refresher training.

The Bottom Line

Much of our work informs training – how to do it best and how to measure whether it’s actually effective. We can help you maximize your training dollars by knowing how long trained skills are likely to last.

Project Contact: Harry Angel


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