Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an age limit?

We will consider applications from people aged 18 and over (at the time of application) but please be aware that while there is no upper age limit for appointment it should be borne in mind that the compulsory age of retirement for a police superintendent is 65 years.

Is there a probationary period?

Yes, you’ll be on probation until you successfully complete the 18-month programme, including all assessments, and you are recommended by your chief officer to become a substantive superintendent.

Can I apply to more than one Force?

No. you may only apply for one force. If, however, you are successful at the National Assessment Centre and are not offered a place with the force that you applied you will be considered for other forces through a national clearing process.

Can I apply for both Direct Entry programmes?

No. You can only apply for one Direct Entry programme at a time. You can, however, show a preference for the force engaged with that programme. If you would like to apply for another role in the police service (such as a special constable), you are free to do so.

If you are recommended to join the programme following the National Assessment Centre, but are not offered a position in your first choice force, the College of Policing will, with your permission, make your details available to other forces that have vacancies.

Is there a maximum number of times that I can apply for the programme?

You can apply for the programme as many times as you want. If, however, you attend the National Assessment Centre and are unsuccessful on two occasions, you will not be eligible to attend for a third time within a five-year period.

Will applicants be tested for substance misuse?

Yes, all applicants may be subjected to a substance misuse test during the course of the selection process. We will ask for your consent to take either a hair, urine or saliva sample prior to the test. Failure to provide a sample may result in your application being terminated.

Is the interactive self-selection questionnaire part of the application process?

No, but we strongly recommend that you check our core competencies and complete this before beginning the application process. It will ensure that you’re eligible for your chosen programme and suitable for a career in the police service. 

Do Superintendents have the same powers as a regular Police Officer?

Yes. Successful applicants will be warranted Police Officers with the full powers of any other regular Officer.

Are candidates guaranteed a job at the end of the programme?

Yes, all candidates who successfully complete the full programme (and pass the ongoing and final assessments) and receive sign off from their force chief constable will be guaranteed an appointment.

Does having a disability affect applications?

The Equality Act 2010 applies to all appointments in the police service and we welcome applications from people with disabilities. Adjustments will be made to the selection process and/or the working environment wherever possible.

How can I check on the progress of my application?

Please check local force instructions as to how updates will be communicated.

Is there anything I can do to prepare for the National Assessment Centre?

Make sure you’re familiar with the core competencies required and make an honest assessment of your strengths, plus any areas that need some development. This is the best way to see if you’re suitable for the programme.

If I have a learning difficulty (such as dyslexia), can any adjustments be made?

All candidates attending the National Assessment Centre can apply for a reasonable adjustment if they have a recognised disability in line with the Equality Act 2010. Please review the ‘Reasonable Adjustment and Accommodation policy’ here. It’s also a good idea to notify your chosen Force when you fill out the application form. That way, you can ensure that any relevant adjustments can be made to the in-force sifting processes.

Will flexible working be allowed while I am on the programme?

This will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and each individual force will have its own process.

What will happen if I decide that the programme is unsuitable for me or I am deemed unsuitable during the ongoing assessment?

Direct entry officers can be subject to Regulation 13 of the Police Regulations 2003 and will be required to reach and maintain the required standard to remain on the programme and appointed by their force.

Will I be able to put my participation in the programme on hold?

If there are unforeseen and exceptional personal circumstances in which a programme member wishes to defer from the programme, a decision will be made on a case-by-case basis and in agreement with the force chief officer lead and the College Fast Track and Direct Entry programme lead. Exceptional personal circumstances may include, but are not limited to, the ill-health of the officer or a close family member, maternity, paternity/maternity support or adoption leave, or other significant personal matters. 

Will I have to work shifts?

Policing is a 24-hour operation, so shift work is a necessary element of the job. Your actual shift pattern will depend on the need of your individual force, but it is likely that you will occasionally need to work at night and weekends as well as being on call.

How many hours will I work per week?

You will be required to work around 40 hours per week, in line with other Police Officers.

Is there an educational qualification requirement to get onto the programme?

We typically expect candidates to have a Level 6/7 qualification but will also consider applicants who can demonstrate equivalent level experience for the 2019 programme.

Can existing police officers apply?

Direct Entry is for new entrants to policing or for those coming back to policing after a significant break. The aim of the Direct Entry Superintendent programme is to recruit high quality professionals from a variety of sectors outside policing, who not only have a sense of belief in public service but who can bring new perspectives, diverse work experience and different skills into policing to support the vast talent that already exists in the service. This is to ensure we continue to deliver a professional and efficient service capable of meeting future demands and to support existing police leaders to bring about fundamental, positive changes to police culture.

As part of the competency based application process for the programme, all applicants need to demonstrate that they meet the programme aims in that they evidence appropriate level different skills and external experience that they can bring from other sectors into the police service.

Serving officers will have limited current experience from other sectors as traditional career routes in policing have not made it possible for officers to gain external experience during their career.

We are working with the Home Office to open up further flexible entry and re-entry routes into policing for serving officers, as well as secondment opportunities with private sector organisations. It is recommended that serving officers  apply for promotion through existing in-force processes. 

What will I be awarded when I complete the programme?

On successful completion of the Direct Entry Superintendent programme, superintendents are awarded a post-graduate qualification. 

What career opportunities are there in policing once I have completed the programme?

The programme provides you with the skills required to be a competent uniformed superintendent. On completing the programme, you will be able to apply for other roles and promotion opportunities in the same way as other superintendents. 

Will I receive a salary when on the programme?

Yes, programme members receive a starting salary of around £64,000 a year from day one of the programme.

Will I be required to work away from my force?

During the College-delivered phases of the programme, you will occasionally be required to travel and stay away from home for periods of time due to the national nature of the programme which is delivered centrally.

You may be required to work from different police stations within your force area in order to give you an opportunity to experience a range of situations while on the programme.

How long is the training and where will it be delivered?

The programme lasts approximately 18 months. 70 per cent of your time will be in force on operational rotations performing core police duties at ranks, up to and including superintendent. The remaining 30 per cent of the time will consist primarily of taught lessons delivered at one of the College of Policing’s sites

Do I have to pay for the programme?

No, programme members are not required to pay for the programme.

How will Programme Members be assessed?

Programme members will be assessed through a combination of methods including knowledge-based examination, work-based assessment and community and operationally focused projects.