Entry routes for police constables

‚ÄčYou don't need a degree to join as a police constable

By 1 January 2020 there will be three ways to prepare new recruits for the role of constable, including an apprenticeship which trains you to degree level.

  • Apprenticeship. Join as a constable, and follow an apprenticeship in professional policing practice - you earn while you learn. This route normally takes three years with both on and off-the-job learning. On successfully finishing the programme, you complete your probation and achieve a degree.
  • Degree-holder entry. If you have a degree in any subject, you can join and follow a work-based programme, supported by off-the-job learning.  This route normally takes two years, and the learning you have undergone is recognised in a graduate diploma in professional policing practice when you complete your probation.
  • Pre-join degree. If you want to study first, you can do a three year degree in professional policing at your own expense, and then apply to a force and follow a shorter on-the-job training programme. Being a special constable can be included in this route.

Why degree level education?

Police officers make difficult decisions which impact the public every day. They face complex problems, often in dangerous situations, with growing demands from digital investigation and vulnerable people.

The existing recruit training programme for officers at the start of their career wasn't designed with these demands in mind.

The new programme recognises constables operate at a level where they take personal responsibility for decisions in complex, unpredictable environments.

Serving officers operating at that level have learned on the job and done additional training, but have not received any formal recognition for the level of expertise they've reached.

We have worked with all the main organisations in policing to develop the new recruit training programmes. These will give probationary officers the best chance of reaching the level of expertise found in serving officers.

The empathy, compassion and common sense needed in policing will be supported, not replaced by the new programmes, and will allow officers to get recognition for the complexity of their job.

Recognition for existing officers and staff

You don't need a degree if you are a serving police officer.

Recognising officers work at degree level doesn't mean they need a qualification to stay in their current role, but they can use their experience to get one if they want.

Serving and retired officers and staff can have their career experience and prior learning recognised as academic credits, then do a higher education top up to get a transferable qualification. Find out more about this on our Professional Development website

An Equality Impact Analysis (EIA) has been carried out and currently focuses on the three new entry routes and the associated changes to Police Regulations. The EIA looks at the potential impacts on protected groups and includes a mitigation plan, outlining how the College of Policing will build on the opportunities presented by the PEQF, as well as recommended actions to mitigate against any negative impacts.  The EIA will continue to be a living document, regularly updated alongside PEQF deliverables. 

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