Police officer apprenticeships - where to start
You can get into this job through
a university coursea college coursean apprenticeshipworking towards this roleapplying directly
You could get a degree in any subject and apply to the Degree Holder programme
the Police Now graduate leadership scheme. Alternatively you could self-fund a Professional Policing Degree before applying to join a force. You are not guaranteed a job at the end of the course. Instead, you have to apply for probationary constable roles within 5 years of completing this degree. You'll usually need 2 to 3 A-Levels, or equivalent.
You could gain some of the skills and knowledge you need to apply directly or through the degree apprenticeship route by doing a course like:
- Level 3 National Diploma in Uniformed Protective Services
- Level 3 Certificate in Public Services
- Level 3 Diploma in Policing
You'll usually need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent.
You could start by doing a Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA). It's a 3 year work-based programme that leads to a degree in Professional Policing Practice.
You can apply through your chosen force.
If you want to work in non-emergency response situations you could do a serious and complex crime investigator degree apprenticeship.
In this role, as well as police forces you could also be employed by organisations like:
- The National Crime Agency
- Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs
- The Ministry of Defence
You'll usually need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A-Levels, or equivalent.
You can get a taste of what it's like to work with the police by volunteering as a special constable.
You could also get paid work as a police community support officer (PCSO) before applying for police officer training.
You'll generally need A levels or an equivalent Level 3 qualification, or experience in a related area like the military.
You'll usually apply to one police force at a time. If your application is successful, you'll be invited to an assessment centre where you'll:
If you pass the tests at the assessment centre, you'll then:
- have an interview
- take written tests
This route is gradually being withdrawn and replaced by the degree apprenticeship or degree entry routes.
- complete a physical fitness test
- have a medical, including an eyesight check
- go though security and background checks
Police officer apprenticeships - what it takes
Skills and knowledge
- legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
- knowledge of public safety and security
- negotiation skills for keeping people safe
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- sensitivity and understanding for dealing with traumatic situations
- the ability to understand people’s reactions
- excellent verbal communication skills
- leadership skills
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and Requirements
You'll need to:
- pass enhanced background checks
- be over 18 years of age
- pass a fitness test
Police officer apprenticeships - what you'll do
In this role you could:
- respond to calls for help from the public
- investigate crimes and offences
- interview suspects and make arrests
- give evidence in court
- control traffic and crowds at large public events and gatherings
- advise the public on personal safety and crime prevention
- promote respect for people in relation to their race, diversity and human rights
You could work on a patrol or at a police station.
Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers and physically and emotionally demanding.
You may need to wear a uniform.
Career path and progression - Police officer apprenticeships
Once your training is complete you'll need to pass a probationary period as a police constable. There are clearly defined ranks in the service which you can move through with experience as well as taking additional examinations. There are opportunities to specialise in a particular type of policing, for example:
criminal investigation department (CID), anti-fraud or road traffic
drugs or firearms
air support or underwater search
dog-handling or mounted policing
With experience, you may be able to apply for promotion to sergeant, inspector or chief inspector.
In the CID you'll also have the title of detective added to your rank, for example detective sergeant or detective chief inspector.