FAQs

When can I apply?

The application window usually opens in October and November. You will need to confirm that your force is participating in the process.

Is there a maximum number of times that I can apply for the programme?

No, you can apply for the programme as many times as you want, but if you attend the National Assessment centre and are unsuccessful on two occasions you will not be eligible to attend for a third time.

Do I need any formal qualifications (e.g. a degree) to be able to apply?

No. All serving constables will need is the ability to meet the intellectual and academic demands of the programme.

Why are police sergeants not eligible to apply for the Fast Track programme?

This programme is a fast track from constable to inspector, with defined promotion dates to sergeant and integrated development at this rank. Consequently it is not suited to a candidate already serving as a sergeant. Existing sergeants should look to alternative force development programmes, which vary across forces, or traditional promotion opportunities.

What is the application process?

Constables will complete an online application form. This application will then be assessed by the candidates own force and the force will decide which applicants to support for National Assessment Centre.

What is the selection process?

Forces will decide which candidates to put forward to the National Assessment Centre. Results will be communicated back to forces, which may (depending on workforce requirements and numbers of successful candidates) choose to run a further selection process. Forces will be responsible for deciding which of their candidates will be offered a place on the programme, as places are limited.

When will the National Assessment Centre take place?

The National Assessment Centre usually takes place during March and April each year.

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

You should refer to the relevant level of the competency framework and make an honest assessment of your strengths and areas for development. Focusing on developing these will enable you to provide the best evidence of your suitability for the programme.

Can adjustments be made if I have a learning difficulty (e.g. dyslexia)?

All candidates attending the National Assessment Centre will be able to apply for reasonable adjustment if they have a recognised disability, in line with the Equality Act 2010. If you would like further information, please review the Reasonable Adjustment and Accommodation policy which will be made available through the National Assessment Centre website.

When will I know if I have passed the National Assessment Centre?

Forces will normally be informed within a month. They will then make the final selection and inform with forces making the final selection and inform applicants.

When will the development programme begin?

Successful candidates will join the programme in December to allow them to sit the Inspectors' knowledge examination with the required pass mark to remain on the programme.

What does the Fast Track Programme Involve?

The programme starts with officers taking the National Policing Promotion Framework Step 2 at Inspector level. Officers will be expected to pass at 65% on the first attempt to remain on the programme. There are six modules delivered by the College of Policing, plus a 20-day Community Placement, work-based assessments, attachments to custody, and other departments in force.

Will flexible working be allowed while I am on the programme?

This will require the approval of your force and will need to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

What happens if I am subsequently deemed unsuitable during the ongoing assessment part of the programme, or if I decide the programme is not suitable for me?

Officers who do not pass the step 2 NPPF examination, the step 4 NPPF Work Based Assessment part of the programme or where there are performance issues will revert to the substantive rank achieved at that point and to a standard track career path.

It is essential that Fast Track officers continually demonstrate appropriate levels of performance and behaviour and ongoing potential to reach at least superintendent rank throughout the programme.

Will I be able to defer my participation in the programme or spend longer than two years at sergeant level?

No, candidates cannot pause the programme unless there are exceptional circumstances such as illness or maternity leave.

I am on High Potential Development Scheme (HPDS) can I apply?

Police officers who are member of the current HPDS are not eligible to apply for the Fast Track programme.

Will I be able to undertake a Detective pathway on the Fast Track programme?

The College of Policing recognises the need for senior officers in a Detective role. As part of the commitment to continually develop officers within a Detective pathway applications are encouraged from existing Detective Constables and those who aspire to a Detective career pathway. This will be dependent on the organisational needs of the force.