Have a positive impact on society,
become a detective

Applications are closed until Summer 2021.

National Detective Programme

Do you notice the things that others miss?

Our National Detective Programme has been designed to allow participants to take ownership of situations within an ever-changing criminal landscape. You’ll be an investigator, taking on a lot of responsibility in your role to manage a diverse caseload. In everything you do, you’ll be adaptive to change, eager to find solutions to complex problems, maintain a flexible view as situations change and be able to show compassion to the communities you will serve.

Applications for the Police Now National Detective Programme are closed until Summer 2021.

Register your interest to be the first to hear when we are accepting applications.

Am I eligible?

You don’t need any previous policing knowledge or experience, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve never previously considered a career in policing but you must have a degree before you start the programme. We’re looking for people with the potential to become the next generation of detectives, representing the diversity of the communities you will serve.

To be eligible for the detective programme, you must:

 Already have a degree and have achieved a 1st, 2:1 or 2:2 at undergraduate degree level or non-UK equivalent.

 Be over the age of 18 upon application.

 Have lived in the UK for the last three years with no more than nine months abroad cumulatively within that time.

 Have indefinite leave to remain and work in the UK.

 Hold a UK Level 3 Qualification in any subject (e.g. an A Level or BTEC National Diploma), or if not, an English Language overseas equivalent.

 Not be looking to transfer between police forces or return to policing.

 Not have already been assessed for our 2020 National Graduate Leadership Programme and have graduated before January 2021.

What we look for

Throughout our selection process, we look at how your strengths and competencies match with what we’re looking for.

As part of being a detective, you’ll often be faced with tough situations to overcome, where people will look to you for support and guidance. By demonstrating professional credibility, resilience, and workplace confidence, you’ll be able to prove your suitability to the role, as well as being seen as a leader.

Police Now participants join our national graduate programmes from all walks of life – there will be skills that you’ve built on through your experience that will be of considerable value to policing. Every one of our participants has different motivations for joining. Some have never considered a career in policing, yet their motivations stem from their eagerness to make a lasting difference in most vulnerable communities, while also developing their leadership skills. Then there are those who have realised they would be suited to life in police and have what it takes to do the job. All our participants have a part to play in helping achieve our mission to transform communities by recruiting, developing and inspiring future leaders in policing.

Strengths and competencies

We’re looking for people who demonstrate the strengths and characteristics suited to the role of police detective.

Detectives thrive under pressure, taking a positive attitude to overcome obstacles.

They respond quickly to new information, methodical in their approach to solving complex problems.

Detectives form meaningful relationships with a variety of people, taking the time to see things from another perspective, adapting communication style to suit the audience.

  • We take ownership: You will be a credible authority, instilling confidence and trust in others through the quality of your knowledge, skills, presence and professionalism. You will show substantial resilience, working well under pressure in the face of change, with a determined and positive attitude to overcoming obstacles. You need to be able to bounce back quickly from difficult situations and setbacks. These may come from the public and the incidents you deal with but also internally e.g. resistance to change. You need to be persistent and stay focused on the outcomes you need to achieve. Going into the force as a detective you enter as a member of staff who will be relied on to make decisions and provide guidance. However, this needs to be balanced with humility and a willing to learn and act on feedback.
  • We are emotionally aware: You will be an empathic connector. You will be able to develop meaningful relationships with an extensive variety of people, allowing you to communicate and persuade effectively. You must be able to demonstrate a genuine interest in, and respect for other people’s opinions. Self-awareness and high levels of emotional control are also required to handle emotionally charged situations. Detectives work on extremely emotive cases, including crimes involving child abuse, human trafficking and serious assault.
  • We are collaborative: You will be a clear communicator, with an exemplary clear and effective style of communication, both verbal and written. This highly attentive attention to detail in communication is critical to several elements of the role including gathering statements, writing crime reports and preparing handover information. You need to be able to present the outputs of your analysis in a clear, thorough and often persuasive way to a wide range of collaborators and stakeholders. You will have to work with different partners and agencies to solve problems, including social services and local authorities. We seek feedback, learn from our mistakes and reflect to improve and amend our future practices.
  • We deliver, support and inspire: You will be organised, manage your time highly effectively and deliver in all situations. You will be making a sustainable impact, leaving things better than you found them. You will be able to prove your ability to deliver results, often outside your comfort zone – you push yourself hard, using your initiative to get positive results. You have to assess risks quickly and effectively, using your judgement and be willing to take and own a decision based on this assessment. Things will happen on shift that can mean you suddenly have to respond and go out to crime scene which could then take up the rest of your shift or week. The workload is demanding and you will have to manage many conflicting priorities.
  • We analyse critically: You will have an investigative mindset. You will notice what others don’t. You will have a methodical approach to solving multiple complex problems, considering all eventualities and risks. You must be curious, objective and willing to delve into data, pull out important points from across different information sources and weigh up options to solve crimes. You also need to think laterally as to how to overcome problems. Detectives need to take and own decisions independently without needing the input of others.
  • We are innovative and open minded: You will be innovative and open-minded. You must be open to learning and feedback, always striving to improve and develop. You need to be thorough and accurate in your investigations, be able to spot errors or pick up on small details that might be useful. You must have a willingness to understand and learn about cultural differences and how to utilise this knowledge within your work. With the ever-changing nature of crime, you will be at the forefront of creating and implementing innovative ways to tackle it; utilising new technology, methodology and research.

About the programme

The Police Now National Detective Programme is a salaried two-year training and development programme.

The programme is designed to equip you with the core policing skills required in modern investigative work. Being a detective is all about how you interpret information and being able to see clues where others don’t, allowing you to see below the surface.

Successful candidates will be tactical and resilient focusing on working towards defined goals, rarely losing focus – the tenacity you bring to your role as a detective will help you deliver on these key attributes. You’ll critically analyse information and collaborate with others, combining insight and evidence to define root causes of some of the UK’s most complex problems/scenarios.

Everything you do, you’ll be adaptive to change to maintain flexible views as situations change and be able to show compassion to the communities you serve.

By demonstrating a positive can-do attitude, you will view obstacles differently to everyone else – there to be tackled head-on rather than used as an excuse to give up. As a detective you will quickly become an instrumental member of the police force, solving crimes and working towards making our communities safer places to live, for generations to come.

Am I eligible to apply?

Our criteria for entry to the programme follows national standards for new police officers.

What training will I receive?

Find out what happens in the two-year detective training programme.

What salary can I earn?

Police detectives receive a competitive salary and a wide range of employee benefits.

What's it like to join the police?

Devon & Cornwall Police

Police Now | Devon & Cornwall Constabulary

Shaun Sawyer

Chief Constable

National Graduate Leadership Programme

Cohorts: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
No. of police officers enrolled: 8

National Detective Programme

Cohorts: —— —— —— —— 2019 2020
No. of police officers enrolled:

Case studies: