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Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship

New police officers wishing to join Avon and Somerset can do so by completing a Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA).


To apply for a Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA), you must:

  • have a minimum of a Level 2 qualification (GCSE or functional skills) at grade C/4 or above in Maths and English
  • have a minimum of a Level 3 qualification (2 x A Levels) or equivalent, or
  • be a current Special Constable for the last 18 months with independent patrol status, or
  • be a current serving Enquiry Officer for the last 18 months, or
  • be a current serving police staff investigator for the last 18 months, or
  • be a current Police Community Support Officer for the last 18 months and have completed probation, or
  • be working as a Detention Officer, Call Handler or Dispatcher within Avon and Somerset for at least 18 months
  • hold a full or provisional UK manual driving licence at the time of application. Full driving licenses will need to be obtained by August 2024. If you are unlikely to pass your driving test by August 2024, your application will be rejected.
    • You must evidence your qualification at the time of application by uploading your certificates.

You must evidence your qualification at the time of application by uploading your certificates.

If you already hold a Degree in Professional Policing, you may be eligible to apply through our PPD entry programme.


Acceptable Level 3 qualifications are:

  • National Diploma
  • National Certificate
  • Level 3 NVQ or City and Guilds
  • International Baccalaureate diploma
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma

If you are unsure your qualification meets the criteria, contact the educational provider you studied with for clarification and send your confirmation to Talentpoliceofficer@avonandsomerset.police.uk.

International qualifications

If you have an international qualification, it is your responsibility to arrange for your certificate to be translated into English and provide evidence the qualification is equivalent to a Level 3. Once your qualification has been translated, visit the UK NARIC website for help in providing the evidence.

On receiving the required certificates, we will assess your suitability against the national eligibility criteria which are in place to ensure applicants are able to undertake degree level study.

Find out more about the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship.

What is the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship?

The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship route into policing is an exciting opportunity for talented individuals from all backgrounds to obtain a degree whilst working and earning a full salary.

The PCDA programme is delivered in partnership with the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and includes classroom delivery, practical application and tutorship. The programme is split between the University’s Frenchay and Glenside 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.

Apprentices are not required to contribute towards the cost of their degree but remain in probation for the three year duration of the programme.

What does a police officer do?

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

As a police 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 that the appropriate steps 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 police 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.

Read how Pola turned her volunteering role into a career when she joined us as a police constable working in the response team.


Candidates starting on the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship will commence on pay point zero of the police constable pay scales. This will increase annually on the anniversary of your joining date, during your probation period.

  • Year 1 (pay point 0): £28,551
  • Year 2 (pay point 1): £29,751
  • Year 3 (pay point 2): £30,957
Programme hours

As a police 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 UWE Bristol 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 police officer you will work to a 24/7 shift pattern consisting of:

  • two early shifts (07:00-16:00)
  • two late shifts (14:30-23:00) and
  • two nights (22:00-07:00) followed by rest days

Flexible working patterns will be considered against the requirements of service delivery but periods of learning delivery will be in 40 hour week blocks.

Programme structure

As well as working with an operational policing team, you will complete 4 modules per year, over a 3-year period, covering 4 key themes of the policing curriculum:

  1. craft skills
  2. vulnerability and risk
  3. occupational competency
  4. evidence based policing

In your first 13 weeks, you will undertake personal protection training, driver training, system training as well as classroom learning based at Police Headquarters and UWE Bristol campuses. After this initial period, you will continue your study working with a 24/7 response team to put your acquired skills and knowledge into practice.

You are not required to wear uniform in lectures, however, you will be required to wear uniform when working on police premises or on practical assessments when directed by your lecturer. Uniform will be provided upon appointment.

Protected learning time

The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship requires academic study and assessment, so you will receive protected learning time to complete your assignments.

While you will have responsibility to maintain your academic work, we provide at least 20% ‘off-the-job’ protected learning within your contracted work time. However, as an operational police officer, the majority of your time will be spent on building competence in the role and on-the-job training.

Once you have finished your training, we will ensure you have the right technology to help you work as efficiently as possible.

Ready to join us?

To find out how to apply for a police officer role through the PCDA route, view our police officer recruitment process.

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

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