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Detective constable recruitment process (DHEP route)

You will need to successfully complete the following steps before starting a thorough training programme to become a detective constable.

Stage 1 – Eligibility

During the eligibility process, we must check you meet all of the criteria detailed below before you can continue with your application.

You must:

  • hold a bachelor degree at the time of application
  • be aged 17 or over
  • have been a UK resident for the past 3 years continuously
  • be either a British Citizen, a citizen of the EU, EAA, or Commonwealth or foreign national with indefinite leave to remain in the UK
  • have a full UK manual driving licence at the time of application
  • reside within the force boundaries from the first day of your appointment. You will be posted depending on organisational demand, anywhere within the force area. We expect you to reside within 30 miles or with a travelling time of up to 45 minutes from your posting

You must not:

  • have a County Court Judgement (CCJ) which has not been satisfied
  • be currently declared bankrupt and for a period of three years afterwards
  • be subject to a Debt Relief Order and for a period of three years afterwards
  • be a member of certain national groups, for example, British National Party, Combat 18 or National Front
  • have any tattoos which would cause offence
  • have attended a College of Policing assessment centre in the last 6 months
  • have applied to another police force with the past 6 months
  • have been placed on the Police Barred and Advisory Lists within 5 years from the date of listing in the case of gross misconduct, or 3 years from the date of listing in the case of poor performance
  • have any criminal convictions or cautions (minor offences will be considered)
Stage 2 – Application

If you are successful at the online eligibility stage, you will be required to complete an online application form.

You will need to fill in your personal details, employment history and references and upload your ID, proof of address and qualification.

If you have a disability or a neurodiverse condition (as defined by the Equalities Act 2010) we encourage you to tell us on your application so we can offer you support throughout the recruitment process.

When completing your application on our recruitment system, you can tick a box if you would like our Outreach Team to contact you to provide guidance and support.

The information you provide will be shared with our HR Advisory team, Occupational Health team and our Learning and Development Team. These teams will support you and ensure you have all the required measures in place to carry out your role.

If you are shortlisted

Once your application has gone through recruitment checks and has been shortlisted, a member of our Talent Acquisition team will contact you to discuss any reasonable adjustments and additional support you may need during the recruitment process.

In some circumstances you may be asked to provide supporting evidence or a diagnostic report.

If you require adjustments, these will be reviewed and signed off in conjunction with the College of Policing guidelines.

Following successful completion of the online assessment centre and recruitment checks, you will be offered a place on the DHEP course.

Stage 3 – Familiarisation event

Once you have been successful at application stage, we will invite you to attend an online Familiarisation Event.

The purpose of this compulsory event is to provide you with further information on the DHEP programme and the process of becoming a Detective Constable.

Stage 4 – Assessment

Following the familiarisation event you will be invited to complete an online assessment.

The online assessment is a national process hosted by the College of Policing which all police forces use when recruiting police officers.

The assessment will involve completing a variety of exercises including an interview, written exercise and a briefing exercise.

Stage 5 – Pre-appointment checks

If you are successful at your assessment you will be placed within a talent pool. Candidates will be invited to complete a number of pre-appointment checks at Police Headquarters, Portishead. These will include:

  • a medical appointment
  • biometrics testing (finger prints and DNA)
  • drugs testing
  • a fitness test
  • vetting
  • employer references

Candidates will be brought forward depending on the organisational demand at the time. Pre-appointment checks will be staggered to ensure they do not expire prior to you being offered a course place.

Stage 6 – Offer of appointment

Once you have successfully completed all of your pre-appointment checks, you will receive a pre-course questionnaire for completion. It is important you read this carefully and return it as soon as possible.

Once your received questionnaire has been reviewed and confirmed as satisfactory, we will look to offer you a place on the next available training course, where you will receive a verbal offer confirming your posting and course details.

Ready to join us?

Applications for the Degree Holder Entry Programme are now closed.

Find out about our latest vacancies by registering for our job alert email service, or join our Talent Bank to be contacted about suitable vacancies.


To make a recruitment related query, contact our Talent Acquisition team.

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