Crime Writing: Making it Real

UK Police Use of Firearms Workshop



The day will be led by Police Advisor Graham Bartlett, former senior detective and Sunday Times bestselling author.

With a predominantly unarmed police force, do you know when UK officers do carry guns? Who decides when an armed raid is justified? Who carries out those raids? What do they look, feel, even smell like? What weapons do they use and how powerful are they? How are specialist firearms officers dressed?  How do they deal with a suspect carrying a gun? When can UK police fire their weapons? What happens next?

This course is perfect for any crime writer who has been vexed by the questions above, or who wishes to create a show-piece final scene but doesn’t know how to make it completely credible for an increasingly informed readership.

Hear from current experts on how British police do – and don’t – deal with armed and dangerous criminals. Learn where the drama is and what part your protagonist can and cannot play.

With a combination of discussions, video footage, presentations and writing exercises in supportive groups of fellow crime writers, all will be revealed by those who do this for real. Book now and you’ll soon be among the few authors who can confidently weave credible firearms scenes into your stories, safe in the knowledge you’ve got as close as is safe to the real thing.

You’ll work in a friendly and supportive online group towards your final writing exercise, where you’ll use your new-found knowledge to accurately plot a dramatic narrative around this topic.

It is part of our Crime Writing: Making it Real course series with Police Advisor Graham Bartlett, helping writers craft authentic crime stories.


Start date: 10 April 2021 **
Duration: 1 day
Skill level: Intermediate
Session length: 1 day
Sessions: 1
Price: £90 (inc. VAT where applicable)

** We are accepting late enrolments for a limited time

Course Director

Graham Bartlett’s input has been a pivotal element to the success of my Roy Grace novels. He has applied his extensive and varied policing experience to review my draft novels so as to ensure they are procedurally 100% accurate, that the mannerisms, characteristics and culture of the police shine through.

Peter James

Bestselling Crime Author

This workshop is suitable for crime writers looking to take their stories to the next level and explore authentic police procedural techniques within the genre. 

It's suitable if you:

  • Write crime fiction and would like to ensure accuracy and detail in your depictions of crime procedure 
  • Are keen to add depth and authenticity to your plotlines and characterisation
  • Want to kickstart a new crime novel idea
  • Enjoy reading crime fiction and want to start writing it
  • Want to join a friendly and supportive group of online learners
  • Can dedicate 10am-4pm to participate in the live workshop

This one-day online interactive workshop will take place as a live Zoom lecture in our online classroom. You'll learn in a small group of up to 20 participants with one specialist tutor and a dedicated moderator. 

Teaching includes: 

  • Interactive Zoom lectures
  • Live Q&A sessions
  • One-to-one tutorial and feedback from Graham (bookable via appointment scheduler)
  • Practical exercises to help you hone your authenticity 
  • Writing prompts and formulas 
  • Downloadable tutor documents
  • Healthy screen breaks throughout the day 


You will need a laptop or computer* with:

  • A reliable broadband internet connection
  • Speakers or headphones
  • The latest version of Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge or Safari
  • Access to Zoom video conferencing platform. Download free
  • QuickTime Player, latest version. Download free
  • A notebook and pen or pencil if you like to make notes by hand

* You can access the course from a tablet or smartphone, but we recommend using a laptop or computer, as this makes it easier to share your work files with your writing group.

Join our alumni

After your workshop, you have the opportunity to rejoin your classmates in a private alumni area where you can access an archived version of the course materials, forum posts and captured video lectures. Here you can also continue to share writing and ideas with your cohort. 

Feedback on your writing

If you would like Graham to give feedback on your work, please email for information.

When writing crime fiction, feel free to gloss over the detail, but never plunge your reader into a procedure or describe an activity unless it’s spot on.

Graham Bartlett

The message is: Don’t guess. There are plenty of people you can ask. I do all the time if I’m not sure.

Graham Bartlett

Ready to start writing?

Price: £90 (inc. VAT where applicable)
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