Direct Entry Superintendent FAQs

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, the compulsory age of retirement for a police superintendent is 65 years

Is there a probationary period?

Yes, you will be on probation until you successfully complete the 18-month programme and your continuous and final assessments, and been signed-off by the Chief Constable of your force.

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

Because you will be on probation for the entire 18 months, standard regulations will apply. There will not be an opportunity to reduce in rank.

Can I apply to more than one force?

During the application process, you can indicate your preferred force by ranking the forces that are participating. If you are recommended to join the programme following the National Assessment Centre but are not offered a position with your preferred force, 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 within 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 complete this before beginning the application process. It will ensure that you are eligible for your chosen programme and suitable for a career in the police service.

Do superintendents have the same powers as regular police officers?

Yes, you will be a warranted police officer 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) 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 the progress of my application?

A series of emails will be sent to update you on your application progress. You can also log in to your online account to check the status.

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

​Make sure that you are 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 are 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'. It is 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 happens if I am deemed unsuitable during the ongoing assessment part of the programme or if I decide the programme is not suitable for me?

​Direct entry officers can be subject to Regulation 13 of the Police Regulations 2003 and will be required to reach the required standard to remain on the programme and employed 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 pass a probationary period?

​Yes. You will be on probation for the duration of the 18-month programme.

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 need to work at night and weekends as well as being on call.

How many hours will I work a week?

​You will be required to work around 40 hours a week, in line with other police officers.

Will I need a degree?

​Currently there are no specific academic or educational qualifications required in order to apply for the Direct Entry Superintendent 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. Upon completion of 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 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.

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. Seventy 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 to join the programme or be awarded the Post-Graduate Certificate in Strategic Police Leadership from Teesside University.