Strategic command course (SCC)

Policing's most senior leadership development programme.

SCC 2021 application window

For those applying to attend PNAC or the Senior Police Staff Assessment Centre in 2021, to attain a place on the SCC 2021:

  •  Thursday 3 December 2020 to 11.59pm on Thursday 4 February 2021 

For those applying to the SCC 2021 from external agencies (and who will not be taking part in the assessment process).

  • up until 11.59pm on Sunday 30 May 2021

As a candidate you will be required to attend either College of Policing Ryton or College of Policing Harperley Hall to complete Stage One (Management exercise for all and Media exercise for officers) for one day, with registration at 8.30am, between 8 and 22 April.

You will then be required to attend College of Policing Harperley Hall between 6 and 25 May to complete Stage Two (Partnership exercise and Presentation and Interview for all and Chief Officer Briefing for officers). You will attend registration and briefing at 8pm on your first day and complete the assessment exercises on your second day.

There is a separate page about applying to the SCC


The course is open to police officers at Superintendent and Chief Superintendent ranks, and staff at equivalent grades, from all UK forces who have shown the potential to progress further in their careers. It is a statutory requirement for officers seeking promotion to Assistant Chief Constable and above in UK forces.

International police and those from other law enforcement agencies aspiring to the most senior positions in their home countries are welcome to apply. The SCC is also open to those across the public sector who are working at the executive level.

Strategic command course 2021 outline

Module 1 organisational leadership

20 September to 22 October

Aims to develop accountable public sector leaders and equip them with the business skills required to lead and transform high-profile multi-million pound public sector organisations with integrity while safeguarding the public.

Module 2 operational leadership

22 November to 16 December

Focuses on the high-risk areas of operational policing – aims to develop qualified operational police commanders ready now to be appointed to chief officer roles across the UK.

​Personal leadership

Aims to develop resilient, confident, emotionally intelligent, ethical, politically astute leaders with clear values, integrity and the ability to create and communicate organisational and personal vision.

Strategic partnerships

Aims to develop senior leaders to identify and maximise the opportunities and benefits of working in public and private sector partnerships and collaborations.


17 December 2021

2020 course overview (PDF)

An updated course overview for SCC 2021 will be added shortly.


To develop senior leaders in law enforcement to lead policing operations and organisations locally, regionally and nationally.

You will have a unique opportunity to engage in a challenging leadership development programme, benefitting from the broad range of experience and perspectives shared by others within policing and partner organisations, nationally and internationally.


The course is delivered through a combination of highly demanding strategic exercises.

Sessions are led by inspirational speakers from within and outside policing who bring valuable personal experiences of leadership at a strategic level. They also bring academic expertise, supported by shared learning across the cohort.

Elements of the course are assessed and you will complete a range of assignments and tasks designed to expand your thinking and support the translation of learning back to the workplace.

The SCC is one part of the overall leadership development of chief officers. All graduates of the course leave with a personal development plan to support their continuing professional development (CPD).


Key details

Course contact
SCC team
Additional documents

Additional information


Those who would like to attend the SCC 2021 should complete the application form and biographical data monitoring form. 

The forms should be used by:

  • police officers applying to attend the senior police national assessment centre to attain a place on the SCC
  • police staff applying to attend the senior police staff assessment process to attain a place on the SCC
  • those from external agencies applying to attend the SCC 

Successful applications

If your application is supported by your Chief Constable (or equivalent), then following the close of the application:

  • ​​If you will be attending the assessment processes for the SCC, then following the close of the application window you will be contacted to confirm your specific intake. 
  • If you are applying directly to the SCC via the application form, then a member of the SCC team will contact you to provide the outcome.

Assessment processes for the SCC

The assessment processes for the SCC (AP for the SCC) is an umbrella term for:

  • senior police national assessment centre (senior PNAC) which is undertaken by police officers of substantive superintendent or chief superintendent rank. For police officers, passing senior PNAC and the SCC is a pre-requisite for applying for commander, assistant chief constable and deputy chief constable roles
  • senior PNAC which is undertaken by police staff of an equivalent grade to superintendent and chief superintendent rank

It is an assessment centre, which is an assessment technique that uses multiple assessors and multiple types of assessment exercises. 

Candidates are given multiple opportunities to demonstrate the competencies and values necessary to demonstrate effective performance at chief officer level. The candidate's final assessment is based on their performance across all of the assessment exercises.

The AP for the SCC identifies those who are capable of being an effective chief officer and can contribute to and benefit from the SCC. Individuals who are successful during these assessment processes are then eligible to attend the SCC. From there, individuals will be able to take on the most senior leadership roles in policing.

Assessment centre dates

The assessment centres will take place in spring of 2021. We have previously published dates in May but taking account of contingency plans relating to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may need to commence some of the assessment in April and undertake some of the assessment in May.

We will write to all candidates confirming plans with specific dates in February 2021 when the candidate pool is known.

Individual needs

If you have circumstances that you believe may affect your attendance at or performance in the AP for the SCC, then refer to the accommodations and reasonable adjustment policy. 

This document provides details of how candidates with a disability, neurodiversity or other influencing factors that may apply for a reasonable adjustment or accommodation of their needs.

If, after reading the policy, you have any queries regarding your situation, do contact the assessment centre team: