Direct Entry at Superintendent

The application window for the 2019 Direct Entry Superintendent has now closed.  There will not be an intake in 2020. Find out more about the Direct Entry programme below and at Lead Beyond where you can register your interest for future 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 police forces across England and Wales to recruit proven leaders onto our  Direct Entry programmes. The Direct Entry Superintendent programme opens up the police service to professionals who will bring proven leadership from diverse backgrounds and different experiences from other sectors to support the continuous development of policing. The 18-month development programme offers the training and support you need to make the transition from your current role as a senior-management/director level leader to an operational police leader and forge a new career in the police service.

Direct Entry Superintendent is for exceptional individuals with proven leadership and management skills who want a new, challenging and rewarding career. The 18 month programme has been designed to deliver robust and comprehensive training to ensure that, on completion, you will be a competent uniformed operational Superintendent able to make a positive impact on policing and your community.

Direct Entry Superintendent is a fantastic opportunity for those with senior managerial/director  experience in the workplace. This is a chance to use your skills and talent to help make an impact on policing, the local community and wider society in a way you never thought possible, as well as gain real policing skills in a prestigious management career. If you are a current senior manager/director with leadership experience and are ready to tackle your biggest challenge to date, please register your interest for future entry at LeadBeyond

Application process

Programme recruitment is annual with the application window opening every January.

The first stage of the process is to complete the online application form which you will find at LeadBeyond

You will be required to demonstrate the relevant competencies for the programme in your application. Help and guidance on completing competency-based application forms can be found at LeadBeyond

All completed applications will then be sifted by your selected Force's team of recruitment specialists and if you are successful you will be recommended for attendance at the National Assessment Centre (NAC)  to further demonstrate their skills against the competencies for the programme.

If you are successful at the NAC  (Usually staged in June) you will be considered for appointment by your chosen employer Force.


While the focus of this programme is to attract individuals with exceptional leadership skills from outside policing, you will still need to take on the responsibilities of being a police officer.

That means that you will need to meet the same eligibility criteria required of anyone else who joins the police service. These criteria include checks into your finances, previous criminal convictions, fitness and membership of political groups.

We typically expect candidates to have a level 6/7 qualification but will also consider applicants that can demonstrate equivalent level experience

You should consult your selected employing Force's website to learn about Force specific eligibility requirements and process stages prior to applying.

Assessment structure

At the National Assessment Centre, you will be assessed by a number of different assessors. All assessors are appropriately trained in the principles and skills associated with the objective and fair assessment of others. Assessors also receive training in the specific exercises used at the assessment centre. Assessor teams are made up of a mixture of service assessors (from a force in the United Kingdom) and external assessors from outside of policing.

More information on the application process, eligibility criteria and assessment structure can be found at LeadBeyond

How do you determine if I am successful?

Once the assessment has finished, your overall performance is considered. If you reach the requisite standard, you will be recommended to go on to the Direct Entry Superintendent programme.

Recommended candidates will then be matched to their chosen employer force in the first instance. . Forces will then decide which of the recommended candidates they wish to offer places to. Forces may decide to conduct interviews or a further selection stage at this point, before offering places to candidates. Should there be more successful recommended candidates than places offered for a particular Force, recommended candidates will be offered to other participating forces or offered the opportunity to defer their appointment. 

2020  Direct Entry (Superintendent) Candidate Guidance

Please find the documents alongside available as downloads to help you with the recruitment process for the future Direct Entry (Superintendent) and consult your chosen Force's website.

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.

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 future entry at 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. 

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 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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