NLP & Police Firearms Training


Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Firearms Training

“What?” I hear you say, some alternative psychotherapy being used to train Firearms Officers. Well, first let us look at the facts and the origins of why, when I was the Director of Training at the Tactical Training Centre (TTC), Cleveland & Durham Police we looked to utilise a variety of methods to enable our students and staff to be the best they can be.

A key question that is often asked is, “What is NLP?”

Dr Richard Bandler invented the term “Neuro-Linguistic Programming” in the 1970s. He was asked to write the definition of Neuro-Linguistic Programming that appears in the Oxford English Dictionary.  It says: Neuro-Linguistic Programming: “a model of interpersonal communication chiefly concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of behaviour and the subjective experiences (esp. patterns of thought) underlying them” and “a system of alternative therapy based on this which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to change their patterns of mental and emotional behaviour.”

Being a trainer at the TTC is all about communication and coaching, ensuring those who attend the TTC are able to fulfil their potential. This applies to officers embarking on the 10 week initial course, those attending to refresh skills previously learned and those performing command functions and making key decisions under stress.

At the TTC, Cleveland & Durham Police have invested a great deal of resources into ensuring that their firearms officers receive the very best in training at one of the very best facilities of its type in the UK. This includes the development of the training staff, who after successfully completing the National Firearms Instructors Course are expected to enhance their skills by completing CTLLS and DTLLS training (previously Certificate in Education level).

Where to after this? In search of other methods being used by leading industrial training departments and organisations I attended NLP Practitioner and Master Practitioner training with Inspire 360. This development was supported by the Strategic Board of the TTC.

After completing my training with Ewan Mochrie a master trainer of NLP it was clear that many of the methods employed in NLP and very importantly the use of positive language would assist in developing the trainers to enhance the development of the students.

A key component in NLP is modelling excellence and by using a variety of methods we are able to assist students to do this.

NLP is a method of influencing brain behaviour (the “neuro” part of the phrase) through the use of language (the “linguistic” part) and other types of communication to enable a person to “recode” the way the brain responds to stimuli (that’s the “programming”) and manifest new and better behaviours.

As individuals one can use the NLP methods and insights to be more in charge of your own thoughts and feelings. It can enable to you run your own life more successfully and to communicate with other people much more effectively, something that all good trainers need to be able to do.

NLP is an ever-growing collection of information and insights into how we human beings function. For trainers at the TTC it has enabled us to improve how we think, behave and feel – and to assist others to do the same.

Becoming skilled in NLP has enabled our trainers and students to develop by assisting them to:

  • do whatever they already do reasonably well, even better
  • acquire new skills and attitudes to do what they cannot do right now,
  • think more clearly
  • communicate more effectively
  • manage their thoughts, moods and behaviours more effectively.

The trainers who have volunteered to develop in the area of NLP have become even better communicators and are able to work with our students at different levels whether that be dealing with the nerves of students performing national qualification shoots, by the use of positive language in de-briefs and feedback sessions or by writing lesson plans in a more positive way.

To date we have trained eight staff members as NLP practitioners and coaches, two Master practitioners and a further two are undergoing their training during 2015.

The use of NLP within the firearms training environment has been positive. The TTC is recognised as a centre of excellence and through NLP the TTC has been able to demonstrate the ability to work with clients across a number of sectors including Durham County Cricket Club, Hartlepool Borough Council, and the Association of Project Managers.

By being innovative and willing to embrace alternative and complimentary methods such as NLP the TTC is able to offer training to wide variety of clients. I am presently working in collaboration with RPCM ltd to develop a decision-making under pressure course to those within the Investment Banking profession to be delivered with the TTC.

By embracing new techniques such as NLP and developing the staff we have been able to continue to establish the TTC as one of the leading police firearms training centres in the world.

Andy McGregor-Taylor, M.Ed. (Dist.), B.A. Hons, Dip.Ed. ABNLP, ABH, ABTLT

Trainer and Master Practitioner of NLP, Hypnotherapy, Time Line Therapy

Owner / Director of Purple Parrots Training Ltd


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