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Get help with appointing a chief officer

Guidance, information and access to services for appointing chief officers.

If you are a police and crime commissioner (PCC) 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. 

We can: 

  • help to maximise the pool of potential candidates and ensure the right candidate is identified for your particular needs
  • support you with delivering a process which is objectively seen to be fair and open in line with our guidance for appointing chief officers
  • ensure that you are able to fulfil your statutory functions in accordance with the regulations that govern appointments and selection, and assessment good practice

Our services are designed to support you in attracting and assessing candidates in a way that accurately reflects the requirements of the role and force. We can help you to assess candidates so you have detailed reliable and relevant data to inform your decision making. 

Contact: [email protected]  


The College of Policing – working in collaboration with PCCs (via the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners), the National Police Chiefs' Council, Chief Police Officers Staff Association, the Home Office and PSAEW – has developed the guidance for appointing chief officers document. 

The guidance will be useful in promoting and enabling good practice to ensure the best and most talented individuals apply for the most demanding roles and that the most suitable candidates are appointed.  

The guidance builds on the Home Office Circular 013/2018 which outlines the legal requirements and principles for the appointment of chief officers.

The document is a supportive guide covering:

  • eligibility and legal requirements
  • good practice in assessment and selection
  • making the appointment itself
  • post-appointment considerations 

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 (eg, appointing chief constables in a single employer model where the PCC oversees both the police and the fire service)


Establishing assessment criteria

We develop bespoke job descriptions, which reflect national role profiles and your specific requirements. 

Ensuring job descriptions are tailored to your needs is a fundamental part of the appointment process and will enable you to identify the right candidate who meets the short-, medium- and long-term requirements of your force and community.

Attraction and advertising

Providing comprehensive and transparent information to candidates is one way of facilitating a larger and more diverse pool of applicants to select from.

We develop application materials which promote the fairness and transparency of your application process.  

Identifying candidates

We inform potential suitable applicants of your vacancy and future opportunities to interested candidates which assist you in maximising the number of applicants for your vacancy.

Developing assessment exercises

Assessment exercises which identify and measure the assessment criteria required for performance in the role are crucial to the success of your appointment process.

We design a range of bespoke exercises which are tailored to the specific requirements of your vacancy and reflect the key issues and challenges facing your force. 

We also develop tools which provide all candidates with an equal and fair opportunity to demonstrate the requirements you identify as important, which differentiate between candidate performances and minimise subjective bias.

Appointment panel briefing

We brief or train your appointment panel or exercise assessors, taking into account their experience and contextualising to your appointment process. 

Ensuring all appointment panel members are briefed in the selection and assessment principles contributes to the reliability and fairness of your appointment process.

Assessment delivery

We support you in delivering the appointment process, including providing advice on timetabling and resources, which can also include attending assessment stages to support your delivery team. 

When done successfully, this is an opportunity to market your appointment processes transparency and provide candidates with the reassurance that your process is being delivered fairly and consistently.

Personality assessment and profiling

We provide access to personality assessment tools which can reveal valuable information about how applicants are likely to operate in the role and fit with the organisation's culture.

Through exploring applicants' values, attitudes, beliefs and motivations, our trained psychologists can help you to determine whether these represent strengths or areas for development in relation to your vacancy.

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 page
  • senior careers development centre
  • online careers fairs
  • secondments
  • role profile development
  • relocation support for chief officers

Feedback from forces

We have supported about a third of forces with their executive team recruitment. 

Bedfordshire OPCC

The guidance and support that was provided by the Senior Leaders Hub was second to none, and provided us with a robust, transparent and branded chief constable recruitment process. Having the College with us at both the stakeholder panels and the interview panel was a real benefit in the delivery of our appointments process.

Devon and Cornwall OPCC

This was the first time Devon and Cornwall OPCC has had to recruit a chief constable for nine years and it was useful to have the College’s insight into all aspects of the process and have someone to check ideas and processes with as the process was being delivered.  

The psychometric testing was also of significant value as this provided insight into the shortlisted candidates prior to the interviews and assessment centre.

Durham OPCC

Thank you for all your support in the recent recruitment process for the Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary.

Your advice in relation to the shortlisting process and the management of the stakeholder panels was invaluable. I, and the other Panel members, also greatly appreciated the guidance you gave to us through the formal interviews.

Humberside OPCC

Value was added throughout as the College Senior Leaders Hub acted as a sounding board for all draft recruitment items, role profile, advert etc. They also supported by contacting all eligible candidates twice due to the lack of traction through advert.

The Hub attended our shortlisting and assessment days, supporting the panel and also delivered a pre-shortlisting briefing on the process, which the panel felt was extremely helpful and felt tailored to their needs.

The panel were well briefed, committed and consistent throughout. The process felt well organised and logistics worked well.

Nottinghamshire OPCC

The College provided us with expert guidance, advice and assistance on what was a complex and fast-moving process. Having the Senior Leaders Hub on hand to help us sense check our process, documentation and who we involved was reassuring and it ensured a high level of confidence in the integrity and credibility of the process. They were excellent at navigating our candidates and various panel members and providing support through critical stages such as psychometric testing, pre-shortlisting and interview briefings. 

Staffordshire OPCC

The College provided excellent advice and support in the design of the process for the selection of our next chief constable.

They provided feedback to the interview panel on each applicant from the panel exercises and psychometrics, which helped the panel to consider in detail specific elements that they could explore further during the interview.

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