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Join the Police

Joining the police is life-changing. Not just for you, it will also change the lives of everyone you help.

It's a challenging, varied and intensely rewarding career and you will be joining an amazing team, working together to reduce crime and keep people safe.

Be one of the 20,000 new police officers and be a force for good in your community, a force for all.

See who's recruiting now

"I really do think I’ve got the best job in the world"

There are lots of reasons why police officers feel privileged to wear the uniform. Watch our short film to discover just how rewarding a career in the police force can be.

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Who can join?

There are various ways to join the police, depending on your work, life and educational experience.

We welcome applications from people of all backgrounds, cultures and experiences.

That is because all police forces in England and Wales are committed to being inclusive employers with workforces which truly represent the communities they serve.


You don't need a degree to join.

With a Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) you can earn and learn on the job. Many forces are recruiting officers in this way right now - you can apply through your chosen force.

Or if you want to get a degree before you join, some universities offer a specific pre-joining degree. If you wish to become a police officer through this route, you should search for a university offering the Professional Policing Degree. You can then apply to one or more forces as your degree is coming to an end.

For some forces you can still apply via the traditional entry route – following the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP) and a two-year probation period.


Many graduates join the police through the non-graduate routes outlined above, but there are also some specific routes tailored to those with a degree.

You can follow a two-year work-based training programme supported by off-the-job learning. You'll earn a graduate diploma in professional policing practice once you've completed your probation.

Apply for this via your chosen force.

Alternatively, Police Now offers two-year national leadership development programmes, specifically developed for graduates.

Career changers

We want to bring new perspectives, skills and experience into policing. If you already have a proven track record of exceptional leadership and managerial skills in another field, you may wish to apply for a Direct Entry route into the more senior ranks.

The two year Inspector programme, is aimed at senior managers and is currently open for recruitment.

Those working at an executive or director level may wish to consider the 18 month Superintendent programme.

To find out more about both programmes and how to apply, visit Lead Beyond website.

Former officers

Rules which used to mean that former officers re-joining the police must do so within five years no longer apply. You can re-join no matter how long ago you left – your skills and experience will be highly valued.

Forces can now allow you to re-join at a higher rank based on experience gained outside policing. Check with the force you are interested in to see if they have vacancies through this route.

The College of Policing is also leading a project with several forces aimed at staff who left detective or investigative roles for care-giving reasons. Visit Return-to-investigative-practice for further information.

Police volunteers and staff

You may already be working in a police staff role or as a volunteer, or have previously volunteered for a police force. Your commitment and contribution will be recognised.

Find out from your force about how to join as a paid officer.

Woman police officer portrait Woman police officer

"I wanted a varied career that made a difference"

Tanya - Non-graduate and former special constable

Which forces are taking applications right now?

Every force in England and Wales will be recruiting new police officers between now and April 2020.

The map and list below provide details of which forces are currently taking applications and which entry routes they are offering.

Police forces recruit directly so please visit the websites of your chosen forces for more information or check out one of the programme-specific routes indicated above. You can apply to any force, regardless of where you live.

If your force is not currently accepting applications, you may be able to register your interest in future recruitment rounds on their website.

Click on a region on the map to show details on the force that is recruiting.

"Every day is different and I’m learning new skills"

Police officer portrait - Mike Police officer - Mike

Find out more about opportunities to work and volunteer in policing