National detective programme Applications now open

Rose Osborne | Police Now Graduates
We want to hear from you if you think you have what it takes to work in diverse communities challenged by crime.

Are you a graduate with an appetite for an exciting career challenge? If you’re empathic, resilient, reliable and determined, then whatever your background, a Police Now national graduate programme could be right for you.

Being a police officer is a demanding but rewarding career. When you know the demands of the role, you can make an informed decision as to whether you are ready for the challenge.

The information below helps you consider what’s needed to be successful on our programme.   

Working hours

This isn’t typical 9 to 5 work.

Police officers work varied shift patterns which gives them flexibility and freedom to maximise their time outside of work. Different to your typical working week, you’ll often receive several days off in a row.

Policing is 24/7, that means your shifts could be at any time of the day, including early mornings, evenings and nights as well as working weekends and bank holidays.

You get your shift pattern once you join your team, this means you will generally be able to plan in advance. However, policing is unpredictable and sometimes you need to:

Can you manage that?


Resilience is when you’re able to experience difficult situations but remain positive in your approach and your ability to tackle these events day-to-day.

As a police officer, you’ll witness people in distressing situations. You may deal with vulnerable individuals, mental health issues, domestic assault and death. You may face difficult individuals and be subjected to verbal and physical assaults. Your positivity will help you make a real difference as you face these situations each day.

You’ll face these challenges and be able to:

Can you do that?


Working in a local neighbourhood you deal with people of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds and cultures.

You meet individuals whose attitudes and behaviours will challenge your own values. You must treat everyone with dignity and respect at all times.

Can you uphold that?


To join the police service, you must declare any previous convictions.

As a police officer you must divulge all convictions, cautions, out of court settlements, disposals, arrests and reprimands, regardless of severity. Failure to do so will lead to the invalidation of your application.

Can you adhere to that?


You’ll build trust and approval in communities by your actions and your ability to secure and maintain public respect.

Upholding and enforcing the law is the primary role of a police officer, behaving with integrity and humanity.

Can you maintain these values?

Your competencies

Joining the police through a Police Now national graduate programme is an opportunity to make a difference in society and on the policing frontline. You don’t need specific experience.

You’ll be assessed during the application process to see if your motivations align with Police Now’s mission, you understand the realities of the role you are applying to and have the skills needed.

You take ownership

You’ll be a credible authority, instilling confidence and trust in others through the quality of your knowledge, skills, presence and professionalism. 

You’ll 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, 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 willingness to learn and act on feedback.

You are emotionally aware

You’ll 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. Police officers work in extremely emotive environments and need to be able to understand other’s emotions and their own in order to build meaningful relationships and trust in the community.

You are collaborative

You’ll 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’ll have to work with different partners and agencies to solve problems, including social services and local authorities.

You seek feedback, learn from your mistakes and reflect to improve and amend your future practices.

You deliver, support and inspire

You’ll be organised, manage your time highly effectively and deliver in all situations. You make 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 to a crime, which could then take up the rest of your shift or week.

The workload is demanding and you’ll have to manage many conflicting priorities.

You analyse critically

You’ll 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.

You take and own decisions independently without needing the input of others.

You are innovative and open-minded

You’ll 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 role, and 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.

You are culturally aware

You’ll appreciate and understand that communities have differences within them, and therefore the individuals / groups that make up that community have varying needs.

In light of this, you will tailor your approach accordingly with the individuals / groups that you interact with, demonstrating your impartiality at all times, but ensuring you do your best to gain their trust. 

You will remain adaptable throughout the course of your remit as circumstances unfold in situations.

You are resilient

Regardless of the challenges you will face, you will remain confident throughout, staying calm and positive to provide the best service possible. You demonstrate determination to tackle situations facing you in role and within your community.  You recognise when you are placed in such a position and draw on your strengths to work through aspects affecting various members of your community.

When things don’t go as planned, you take the time to understand your own emotions; look to find solutions; and subsequently drive your own self-development. Fundamentally, you will demonstrate the ability to bounce back quickly.

Motivational alignment

You’ll show comprehensive awareness that Police Now’s mission is to make where we live safer, transform communities, turn people into allies, service the public and increase their confidence. You want to contribute to Police Now’s mission, go the extra mile and share thought through ideas on how you could make a contribution. 

You’ll be clear and focussed on joining the role and understand why you want this role over others.

Written communication

You’ll need to produce reports that are effectively structured, which follows set policing procedures and guidelines. You’ll present information in a logical manner and will have the ability to communicate in the written form using concise messages that are easy to understand.



We are transparent in our actions, decisions and communications with both the people we work with and those we serve.


We must show impartiality throughout all our dealings with colleagues, partners and members of the public.


We understand and reinforce expectations of professional behaviour and openly recognise good and bad performance.  

Public service

We have a responsibility to ensure we act in the best interests of society.

Before you apply, make sure you meet our eligibility criteria with our online guide.

Some of the key requirements you must meet include:

You will not be eligible to apply, if you have previously attested or served as a police officer.

Life as a police officer

Want to know what your role as a neighbourhood police officer or a police detective would involve?

Listen to our participants give their own personal examples to understand the challenges you could face, the results you could achieve, and the impact you could have by joining us.

Tackle complex, long-term societal issues

The face of the community

The skills I bring to my role as a detective

I want to become a leader

Help and useful links


Do you have questions about applying? From choosing a programme to checking your eligibility.


Our recruitment team are here to advise and  support you during the application process.


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 Access top tips and  guidance on the application process for our national graduate programmes.

Dorset Police

Police Now | Dorset Police
Scott Chilton - Dorset Police Chief Constable

Scott Chilton

Chief Constable

National Graduate Leadership Programme

Cohorts: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
No. of police officers enrolled: 6

National Detective Programme

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

Visit the Dorset Police website