Appointment of chief officers

This section provides guidance, information and access to services designed to support Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), Chief Constables (CCs) or Commissioners with the selection and appointment of chief officers.

 Appointment of chief officers

 The College of Policing, working in collaboration with key stakeholders, has developed the 'Guidance for appointing chief officers' document. The guidance is available to download as a PDF.

This guidance was last updated in March 2018. It supersedes the previous guidance and toolkit.

The document will be updated as and when changes to policy or legislation necessitate it or when new guidance is available. Please bookmark this page and ensure you have the most up to date guidance before beginning any chief officer appointment process. 

The Senior Leaders Hub brings together a number of services and activities to support Chief Officer Appointments.

If you are a Police and Crime Commissioner seeking to appoint your next Chief Constable, or a Chief Constable about to recruit someone to your Chief Officer Team we offer a range of services to help you with your search. Please visit the Senior Leaders Hub page  to explore the services we provide or contact us at

Development of the Guidance

The guidance builds on the legal requirements and principles for the appointment of Chief Officers as outlined in Home Office Circular 013/2018.

The document is intended to be a supportive guide covering eligibility and legal requirements; good practice in assessment and selection; making the appointment itself, and post appointment considerations. 

It is hoped that the guidance will be useful in promoting and enabling good practice with the ultimate aim of ensuring the best and most talented individuals apply for the most demanding roles and that the most suitable candidates are appointed.  

Key stakeholders including PCCs (via APCC), NPCC, CPOSA, Home Office and PSAEW were consulted on a draft of the guidance in summer 2017.

Guidance Exclusions

The document does not provide guidance on:

  • HR procedures and other services that are provided by force/OPCC HR functions.
  • The appointment of police staff chief officers, as there is no specific legislation and roles vary significantly across forces. (However, the general guidance on attraction and selection will apply).
  • Areas that are under development (for example appointing Chief Constables in a single employer model where the PCC oversees both Police and Fire Service).

Further support

This guidance complements other activities the College is undertaking to support effective Chief Officer Appointments and progression to chief officer roles more widely. This work includes:

  • Chief Officer Appointments Hub
  • Senior Careers Development Centre
  • Online careers fairs
  • Secondments
  • Role Profile development
  • Relocation support for Chief Officers

The following pages may also contain useful information:

Home Office Circular

The release of Home Office Circular 013/2018 on the Selection and Appointment of Chief Officers sets out the legal requirements and principles for the appointment of Chief Officers within police forces in England & Wales.

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