Direct Entry at Inspector

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

We have in recent years 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 new perspectives, skills and experience into the police service to deliver policing which is professional, efficient and capable of dealing with the growing pressures of today and beyond.

We are working in partnership with police forces across England and Wales to recruit proven leaders onto our 2019 Direct Entry programmes. The Direct Entry Inspector 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 24-month development programme offers the training and support you need to make the transition from your current role as a middle-management level leader to an operational police leader and forge a new career in the police service.

Come and meet the police at one of our DE regional events and hear first-hand from serving Inspectors. 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 we require you to register, to secure your place by emailing and attaching the booking form (See downloads in right hand column) to with your preferred regional location.

2019 Meet the Police Events 

Manchester4th December 2018  (18:00 - 22:00)
Birmingham5th December 2018  (18:00 - 22:00) Fully Booked
Cardiff5th January 2019    (14:00 - 18:00)
London12th January 2019   Fully Booked
Newcastle16th January 2019    (18:00 - 22:00)
York19th January 2019    (14:00 - 18:00)
Derbyshire22nd January 2019   (18:00 - 22:00)
Suffolk26th January 2019    (14:00 - 18:00)


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

Direct Entry Inspector is a fantastic opportunity for those with several years' 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 middle manager with leadership experience and are ready to tackle your biggest challenge to date, please register your interest for 2019 entry via our LeadBeyond microsite.

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 can find on the Direct Entry website.

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 on the Lead Beyond website.

All completed applications will then be sifted by our team of recruitment specialists and those who are successful will be invited to attend a telephone interview to further demonstrate their skills against the competencies for the programme.

Following the telephone interview, the final stage of the selection process is the Direct Entry Inspector National Assessment Centre (19th June to 3rd July 2019).

Candidates who are successful at the National Assessment Centre will then be considered by their chosen force, in preference order, for appointment.


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.

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 on the Direct Entry website.

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 Inspector programme.

Recommended candidates will then be matched to police forces based on their initial choices, as far as possible. 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.

2018 Direct Entry (Inspector) National Assessment Centre Documentation

Please find the documents to help you prepare for the 2018 Direct Entry (Inspector) National Assessment Centre as downloads on the right hand side of the page.