NLP Practitioner Training at West Midlands Police

This training was for leaders from one BCU. The results show an impressive improvement not only in leadership but also in wider policing skills.

NLP Practitioner Training at West Midlands Police

The challenge

The NLP Practitioner training was undertaken as part of the BCU (Basic Command Unit) Leadership Development programme. Key success criteria were:

  • Effective team leadership
  • Outcome focus
  • Motivated teams
  • Efficient problem-solving

The Superintendent who commissioned the training had recently qualified as a Practitioner of NLP and saw the possibilities of other benefits from undertaking this training. However, NLP has a very wide field of application and at that stage it was impossible to predict other benefits.

The effect

This particular BCU was in a part of Coventry where the police stations were spread out and the number of officers per square mile was low compared to other urban areas. This meant that they often felt they were 'thin on the ground' and the leaders (sergeants, inspectors etc) had to be creative and quick-thinking to keep their team motivated and safe.


We provided a full NLP Practitioner programme. It was delivered in four 4-day modules, one per month from November to February. Between modules participants completed project work. This encouraged application of NLP principles and techniques to everyday working situations.

11 of the participants were BCU staff and they represented a mixture of ranks and roles: 7 x Sergeants – Custody Officer, Beat Managers, CSB Sergeants 2 x Constables – a Detective and a Tutor Constable/Microbeat Officer 1 x Sector Inspector 1 x BCU Personnel Officer. The remaining two members of the group were a Chief Inspector from the central training service, who joined the group largely to evaluate the training, and a Superintendent from another division.

Throughout the training, the officers were given opportunities to consider how the NLP techniques they were learning would be relevant in their specific environment and how any changes in practice would fit with PACE. Going through this programme together not only created stronger working relationships within the BCU, it also provided the impetus for change.


Leadership skills Delegates reported:

  • Clearly identified outcomes from operational briefings
  • Shared understanding of objectives
  • More productive PDR interviews
  • Improved relationships with team members
  • Changing entrenched ideas

The Superintendent reports ‘a marked improvement in the motivation and results achieved by those teams whose Team Leader attended the course’. Understanding of others Significant results were shown in the improvement of working relationships, traced to the adoption of an attitude (consistent with NLP principles) of curiosity rather than conflict in areas of difference:

“I have made major changes to my interactions and relationships with people”

“As an individual I am now more patient and tolerant of others values and beliefs”

“NLP helps me gain a quicker level of trust and support” Policing Skills

The project work shows many examples NLP skills applied directly to police work. Benefits in this area include:

  • Improved questioning techniques
  • Calming of aggressive individuals
  • Quicker, more effective intervention following traumatic incidents
  • Managing state of mind

The evaluation report concludes: “The delegates who attended the NLP Practitioner course have benefited personally and have evidenced their ability to apply their new skills in the workplace to the benefit of the organisation”

Dianne Lowther
Dianne Lowther

nlp for business, nlp for work, executive NLP, people skills for IT Professionals