Direct Entry at Inspector

The application window for the  2019 Direct Entry Inspector programme has now closed. Find out more about the programme below and at LeadBeyond where you can register your interest for 2020 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 work in partnership with participating police forces across England and Wales to recruit proven leaders onto our Direct Entry programme. 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. 2020 events will be published in due course.  

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 2020 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 access via 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 via the Lead Beyond website.

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 your skills against the competencies for the programme.

If you are successful at the NAC (18th-29th 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 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 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.

2019 Direct Entry (Inspector) Candidate Guidance

Please find the documents to help you during the 2019 Direct Entry (Inspector) recruitment process via the downloads alongside right and via your chosen Force's website.