Direct Entry at Superintendent

The application window for the 2018 Direct Entry Superintendent programme closed on 26th February. Find out more about the  Direct Entry  programme below and at Lead Beyond where you can register your interest for 2019 entry.

In recent years we have introduced Direct Entry points into the police service at the ranks of Inspector and Superintendent. The Direct Entry training and development programmes are a fundamental and crucial change to bring professionals with proven leadership skills, different thinking and experiences from other sectors into the police service to deliver policing which is professional, efficient and capable of dealing with the growing pressures of today and beyond.

Direct Entry Superintendent is an exciting career opportunity for you to use your strategic director/senior manager experience and bring fresh ideas to a senior role where you can have a real impact on people's lives and your community. Draw upon your transferable management and business skills and use your resilience and outstanding leadership to tackle your biggest challenges to date.

We work in partnership with Forces across England and Wales to recruit proven leaders onto our Direct Entry programmes

Opportunities to meet the police at one of our DE regional events and hear first-hand from serving Superintendents are offered prior to the closure of each year's application window. At these events you'll be able to find out more about life in the police service, the Direct Entry programmes and training, the job role itself and the application process.

Events have been previously oversubscribed and therefore you should register to secure your place for your preferred location by emailing us once advertised.

Direct Entry opens up the police service to people who will bring new perspectives and diverse backgrounds to support the continuous development of policing. No prior experience of policing is necessary to join the programmes. The development programmes will enable you to make the transition from your current role as a leader to a police leader and they are for exceptional individuals who want a challenging and rewarding career.

Recruitment to the Direct Entry Superintendent programme is annual with the application window opening every January. This year's National Assessment Centre Superintendent dates are 16th May to 22nd May 2018.

If you are a director or senior manager operating at an  executive level with experience in setting strategy, standards and policy across a department or organisation, and have a proven track record in improving organisation performance, managing budgets and resources, the Direct Entry Superintendent programme may be for you. We are looking for exceptional leaders that inspire confidence and bring with them innovative thinking that will help shape the future of policing. Find out more about Direct Entry Superintendent and register your interest for 2019 entry via Lead Beyond .

As a direct entrant at the rank of Superintendent, you will already be confident in leading teams with focus and vision, and comfortable making tough decisions under pressure. You will need to be fit and healthy, possess a high level of personal integrity, and have an exceptional ability to understand and influence people from all walks of life.

Applications can be made to participating forces in England and Wales.  The programme is run by the College of Policing, however successful candidates are employed by the force to which they apply, in preference order.  For more information about the role of Superintendent, eligibility and the programme itself, click the links below:



About the role of Superintendent

A Superintendent is generally a director/senior manager responsible for setting strategy, standards and day-to-day operational policy across a single department or a range of policing responsibilities. They are within the top 1% of officers in terms of rank and seniority, and roles within this rank vary widely.

Superintendents are expected to join an 'on-call' rota. When on duty or on-call they must be contactable, often at unsociable hours, and show leadership, manage serious risks and make critical decisions during on-going operations.  They need to be flexible, adaptable and show personal resilience, as well as being able to make quick-time, rational decision-making under pressure.

Working for the police service as a Superintendent is a big responsibility and a big challenge. Amongst other responsibilities, a Superintendent can be expected to:

  • maintain personal security and safety and be alert to the security of others
  • put the force's strategic business plan into action
  • determine the concerns and priorities of communities in relation to safety, social inclusion and the prevention and reduction of crime and anti-social behaviour
  • set, monitor and review strategies for maintaining public order
  • manage financial challenges within the organisation
  • improve organisational performance

Due to the demands of the policing profession, a Superintendent may be expected to work across the full geography of their force. 

Whilst challenging, the role of a police officer is like no other.  Programme members will be embarking on a unique and rewarding career.  Direct Entry Superintendents will be future leaders in policing at Superintendent rank and potentially beyond this rank.

This is an important role and the package is competitive. Rates of pay will vary by force, but from day one of the programme you will be a probationary Superintendent and will be paid circa. £64,000 per annum. Under current arrangements, that salary will increment once you have successfully completed the programme, year on year.  You can find out more on your chosen force's website. For instance, you may also receive additional allowances to complement your salary (such as London weighting). On top of that, you will be guaranteed an excellent pension, a fair and inclusive promotion policy, plus a minimum of 31 days' annual leave.


Being a police officer isn't for everyone, and joining as a senior manager will bring further demands. Policing can be physically, mentally and emotionally demanding, but it is also very rewarding as a career. While the focus of the Direct Entry (Superintendent) programme is to attract individuals with exceptional leadership from outside policing, you will still need to take on the responsibilities of being a police officer. In view of this you will need to ensure that you meet the same eligibility criteria as required of all other individuals who join the police service, including checks around your financial position, any previous criminal convictions, fitness and membership of political groups. Please note that individual forces may have additional eligibility requirements that you may be required to meet, and you are advised to check these with the force to which you choose to apply. We typically expect candidates to have a Level 6/7 qualification but will also consider applicants who can demonstrate equivalent level experience for the 2019 programme.

Find out more about eligibility.

To help you, an interactive self-selection questionnaire has been developed to assess your eligibility to join the police service. Whilst not a compulsory element of the application process, it is vital that you complete this questionnaire. It is designed to give you a realistic sense of whether the police and the role of Superintendent are right for you. 

About the programme

The aim of the Direct Entry Superintendent programme is to equip successful applicants with the skills, knowledge and experience to respond to policing challenges with confidence, tact and agility.

The programme achieves this through a combination of exceptional training, coupled with in-force operational rotations and professional development.

On successful completion of the Direct Entry Superintendent programme, Superintendents are awarded a post-graduate qualification.

The programme is challenging and programme members are continuously assessed as to their ability and suitability to perform as a competent Superintendent. Assessment is conducted in three ways:

  • continuous work-based assessment
  • bespoke multiple choice knowledge exam
  • community and business improvement action research projects

Some elements of the training delivered by the College of Policing will be residential, more likely than not, at one of the College's sites.

Typically the 18 month programme begins in-force in October, when programme members will gain an understanding of force structure, vision and values along with completing initial training.

Between November and January, programme members will join the College of Policing for the initial phase of their training.  This phase focuses on providing programme members with the skills and knowledge needed to begin officer rotations in-force.

In January programme members will engage in their first operational rotation with a Police Constable. Supported by the College of Policing along the way, they will progress to rotations with a Sergeant, Inspector and eventually Superintendent. During these rotations, programme members will receive continuous coaching, mentoring and assessment designed to ensure they are meeting the required standard.

During the final months of the programme, members will take up a Superintendent command with the support of a work-place Superintendent coach. Completion of the programme is dependent on success at each assessment which must be achieved ahead of sign-off by the force's Chief Constable or Commissioner

Download an overview of the Direct Entry Superintendent 18 month programme.

Find out more about the application process.

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