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Coronavirus (COVID-19): the policing response and what you need to know

Patrol officer Degree Holder Entry Programme

If you already hold a degree and wish to join us as a police officer, you will need to complete our Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP).

What is the Degree Holder Entry Programme?

The Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) route into policing is an exciting opportunity for talented individuals from all backgrounds to obtain a degree whilst working and earning a full salary.

You will be eligible to apply for our Degree Holder Entry Programme if you already hold or are nearing completion of a Bachelor’s degree (or international equivalent) in any subject.

The DHEP programme will be delivered in partnership with a local Higher Education Institute (HEI) and is a two year programme which culminates in the achievement of a Level 6 Diploma in Professional Policing Practice.

This entry route currently leads to becoming a patrol officer. The programme includes classroom delivery, practical application and tutorship and study is split between the HEI campuses and Police Headquarters in Portishead.

You will be classed as a full-time student and so will be able to take advantage of student benefits.

The learning is fully funded but officers remain in probation for the two year duration of the programme.

What is the role of a detective constable?

Our patrol officers are often the first people that members of the public meet when they contact us for help. They will respond to a wide variety of incidents such as theft, complaints of anti-social behaviour, domestic violence and assault.

As a patrol officer you will:

  • respond to emergency calls for assistance from the public
  • meet and support multiple individuals in any given shift
  • understand the needs of individuals to assess immediate risks and ensure that the appropriate steps are taken to protect members of our communities from harm
  • engage with individuals from all backgrounds
  • demonstrate your ability to adapt to the needs of the current situation and communicate with empathy and genuine compassion
  • work well under pressure
  • demonstrate resilience whilst working in a dynamic environment
  • focus on delivering a positive result and adapting to new developments

Our officers use their professional judgement to ensure that everyone who contacts us receives the correct support every time, whether this is required in the short or longer term.

Your role as a patrol officer will allow you to challenge yourself, develop your leadership skills and make a difference to the lives of those that you have supported, by helping them when it is needed most.

Pay scales

Candidates starting on the Degree Holder Entry Programme will commence on pay point one of the police constable pay scales. This will increase annually on the anniversary of your joining date.

  • Year 1 (pay point 1): £24,780
  • Year 2 (pay point 2): £25,902
Programme hours

As a officer, you will be contracted to work 40 hours per week and both your classroom and on the job training aligns to these working hours.

Whilst studying, you are required to attend training at the HEI or Police Headquarters Monday to Friday working either 08:00-16:00 or 09:00-17:00 as defined by your timetable upon joining.

Whilst in tutorship and working as an operational officer, you will work to a four week rotating shift pattern including early shifts (08:00 – 17:00), late shifts (14:00-23:00) and approximately one night shift per month.

Programme structure

As well as working with our investigative teams, you will complete four modules over a two year period, covering the key themes of the policing curriculum:

  1. Legislation, Powers and Policy
  2. Policing Skills and Procedures
  3. Developing Policing Practice
  4. Conducting Effective Investigations

In your first 14 weeks of learning, you will undertake personal protection training, driver training, system training as well as knowledge based learning at Police Headquarters and a Higher Education Provider. You will then work with operational teams to put into practice your acquired skills and knowledge.

You are not required to wear uniform whilst in lectures. There will be occasions when you will be required to wear either a uniform or smart business attire when working on police premises or on practical assessments. You will be notified in good time by your lecturer.

Where required the appropriate uniform will be provided upon appointment.

At the end of the two year Detective Degree Holder Entry Programme, you will have gained the skills, knowledge and experience required to work as a officer and will continue to receive professional guidance and mentoring. You will manage your own caseload and work as part of a team to respond to incidents, bringing offenders to justice and delivering positive outcomes for the community.

Recruitment process

To find out how to apply for a police officer role, view our patrol constable recruitment process.


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

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