Application timeline

Both our national graduate programmes have a four step recruitment process. Find out more about what’s involved once you decide to apply.

The application process can take between two to three months. This is highly dependent on how soon you fill out an application (which takes five working days to process), when you complete your online assessment (which takes ten working days to process), and the earliest date you can attend an assessment centre. It is also dependent on the volume of applications we receive which is typically very high so delays may occur.

1. Application

We expect the application form to take no longer than 60 minutes to complete on average. Following a successful screening review, be invited to complete an online assessment.

In the application form, you’ll be asked for details which will enable us to check your eligibility. This will include:

2. Online assessment

Firstyou’ll take part in a week-in-the-life immersive assessment, where you’ll experience several realistic scenarios you would encounter in the day-to-day job as a detective or neighbourhood police officer. We want to see how you react in different situations, understand your reflections on how you dealt with them, and how you articulate yourself in video format. 

Then you’ll be asked to complete a personality questionnaire. This is designed to gain an understanding of your behavioural preferences, how you approach tasks and interact with others. 

We know you might have some concerns, so we want to remind you that we make time to:

3. Digital assessment centre

Following a successful online assessment, you will have the opportunity to book a date and time slot at our assessment centre. Each assessment centre will be held digitally, hosted via an online video conferencing software. 

This stage is an opportunity for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the programme you have applied for. It’s important that you know your motivations for applying for a place on the programme and remember to be yourself throughout the exercises. 

The digital assessment centre is a unique and fully immersive experience of life a police officer. You’ll get a snapshot of the role you can play in bringing about positive impact and change for vulnerable communities, as you experience a series of scenarios designed to give you the chance to showcase your character, attitude and aptitude for policing.  The tasks and exercises vary depending on the programme you have applied for. The tasks will contain the same content as face-to-face assessment centres, and you’ll be scored against the same College of Policing framework and criteria along with other Police Now competencies.  

You will also be offered preparation support ahead of the assessment centre, which you will be sent details on when you progress through to this stage. 

4. Onboarding

Following a successful assessment centre you will be offered a conditional place on the programme by your Recruitment Officer, who will be you point of contact through your pre-employment checks. They will listen to concerns you may have as you start your journey in policing, address concerns we have with your progress, and liaise between you and your force. 

You will be given a login to your onboarding platform so you can access useful information you’ll need before joining as well as giving you the chance to chat to others joining the programme. During this time, we’ll also guide you to complete your online vetting, biometric and fitness tests, a medical assessment and we will review your previous employment references. 

There will also be some online learning to complete before you start the programme and more details on this will be shared once you have your offer. Finally, you’ll attend both a force and Police Now induction events which provide a great opportunity to build your network with your fellow future participants, as well as hearing from inspirational speakers including participants on the programme. 


We carry out a number of standard checks for joining the police, including:

We’ll also provide guidance on:

Supporting your success

Police Now community
What makes our graduate leadership scheme stand out from all the others?
Our participants all say it’s the difference they make in society through policing and the individual development they receive throughout your journey.

From the moment you apply, you’ll have access to resources and development opportunities created by a team who understand your needs, who appreciate your experiences and want to see you succeed.

What's the application process like?

Our participants give their view on the Police Now application and recruitment process.

The application process was enjoyable

The steps involved in applying

Be comfortable to be yourself

Help and useful links


For more information about our national graduate programmes or Police Now.


We are dedicated to supporting you during the recruitment process and your career.


Interested in applying to one of our national graduate programmes that is not currently open?


Ready to start your career with one of our national graduate programmes? Find out how.

Devon & Cornwall Police

Police Now | Devon & Cornwall Constabulary

Shaun Sawyer

Chief Constable

National Graduate Leadership Programme

National Detective Programme

Case studies: