Fast Track programme (for serving constables)

A development programme and promotion mechanism to enable the most talented serving police constables to advance to the rank of inspector within two years.

    Because of COVID-19 the normal timeline for the Fast Track programme has been amended with the application window opening January 2021.

    The application window usually commences in the autumn of each year.

    How to apply


    Each police force is responsible for selecting its own candidates to send for national assessment although they will base this decision against The College of Policing guidance.

    It is an individual force decision as to whether they take part in the Fast Track programme.

    Police forces will nominate candidates to be assessed nationally.


    To find out whether you are really suited to the Fast Track programme and possess the potential and strengths required to succeed on the programme, we recommend that you download and complete as honestly as possible the high potential development tool before you apply.

    Candidates will be rigorously tested to ensure that they have the potential leadership, operational and strategic ability to initially perform competently in the rank of inspector following the intense development programme equipping them to progress to at least superintendent within their career.

    Applications are welcomed from dedicated, talented individuals who can demonstrate that they are suitable for this programme. The information set out above and in the competency and values framework for policing is designed to give you a sound understanding of what is expected of you and what you can expect from the programme. Take the time to read these thoroughly before you apply.

    National Assessment Centre

    The National Assessment Centre will be demanding, pushing you to demonstrate your potential across a range of testing scenarios. It aims to evaluate your:

    • ability to reach and perform competently in the rank of inspector within two years
    • potential and motivation to reach at least the rank of superintendent during your service
    • ability to demonstrate and promote new ways of thinking and different perspectives that can effectively influence the way that policing operates

    Training and support

    The Fast Track programme is designed to attract talented serving constables from within the police service and equip them with the leadership qualities, operational skills and strategic understanding they will need to be promoted to the rank of inspector within two years.

    Candidates will be supported throughout the programme. Although individual forces will take responsibility for much of the training and development, supplementary strategic and leadership training will be provided by the College of Policing.

      Key details

      Qualification eligibility

      Serving police constable.


      See additional information.


        Two years.

        Additional documents
        Additional information


        All Home Office forces in England and Wales and other recognised forces are eligible to take part in the programme. 

        At the point of submitting their application form, serving police constables (of only constable rank) must:

        • be sworn into a Home Office police force in England and Wales, or by another recognised non-Home Office police force
        • not be substantively nor temporarily promoted undertaking national police promotions framework (NPPF) step 4 (on a work-based assessment (WBA) programme)

        Officers can still apply if they have been successful at step 3 but are still on a 'select list' awaiting posting and promotion to temporary sergeant at time of submitting their application. They may hold an objective structured performance related exam (OSPRE) part I or II qualification, and be an acting sergeant or temporary sergeant other than NPPF step 4 (WBA) (see status on appointment and during the programme in relation to any qualifications attained following application).

        Constables may apply in their probationary period, but they must achieve all learning standards within the initial police learning and development programme (IPLDP) and demonstrate achievement of the assessment criteria associated with the diploma in policing (or equivalent standard in the case of the Metropolitan Police Service) before commencing the first College module. Forces are responsible for ensuring that the timelines are possible before recommending officers for the programme.

        Although there is no requirement for serving police officers to hold a degree, the force must be satisfied that:

        • there is substantial and compelling evidence that the individual is likely to be able to cope with the intellectual and academic demands of the programme
        • the individual has defined skills and abilities that are in demand within the force and that these are aligned to the force's future success

        About the programme

        The Fast Track programme is provided for by Police Regulations 2003 and the Police (Promotion) Regulations 1996, and supports the national policing vision in helping the successful implementation of force talent management strategies by:

        • attracting, identifying and developing the most talented constables from within the police service
        • offering a development programme and promotion mechanism to enable the most talented to advance to the rank of inspector within two years for serving constables.
        • developing a cadre of officers with the skills, experience and capacity to reach the senior ranks of the service (at least superintendent) to have a positive impact and influence on the management and culture of policing