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Protect, Learn, Serve - the new way to become a Police Officer

Want to be a police officer? Entry into the service has changed - and Staffordshire Police is one of the first to recruit student officers to study for a degree while they serve.

Gone are the days of spending weeks on end learning how to be an officer in our training school. Now, we are partnered with Staffordshire University to train our new recruits, while helping them to earn a degree qualification in Professional Policing Practice, which will be recognised internationally.  PCD1

Your formal training will take place alongside your practical work in one of our many policing teams across Staffordshire. After a few weeks learning, you'll get your uniform, join a team and begin three years of practical learning that will shape your policing career.

Most of your learning will be done digitally. You'll log onto Staffordshire University's systems and watch lectures and access learning modules from your computer, without needing to travel to campus.

When you're not studying you'll be working alongside your colleagues, on a neighbourhood policing team - being the face of Staffordshire Police in our local communities, on a response team - on the frontline of our emergency service, or in one of our investigations teams - helping to solve some of the most serious crimes and catch those responsible.

All of this comes with a starting salary of £21,000 and the degree totally funded. Plus there's loads of benefits, staff associations, social clubs and the pension to consider.

Entry Routes

Entry in to Staffordshire Police as a police constable can be achieved through one of three ways:

  • As a candidate with an existing degree*, making the transition to a Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice
  • Joining and studying towards the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) to achieve a degree in Professional Policing Practice
  • Achieving a degree in policing prior to joining (not currently available nationally)

*This degree must be a relevant policing degree.

Life as a PC at Staffordshire Police

Our officers play a vital role in ensuring that the communities of Staffordshire are kept safe. Few jobs can be more rewarding than that of a police officer: from day one you'll be helping to fight crime and protecting people from harm.

Your morning could start with a dawn raid at the home of crime suspects or speaking at a school assembly about staying safe. By the afternoon you may have been called to the scene of a road traffic collision where you'll give first aid and comfort to a victim, or helping with the search of a missing pensioner. And your late shift could be spent on burglary patrols or in busy nightlife areas ensuring party goers get home safely.

As a police constable, you'll want to make a positive difference to the communities you serve. You'll strive to keep them safe, to be there when needed and to instil confidence in the work you do to reduce fear of crime. You'll be the visible reassurance to the public and you'll work together with communities and partners as one team to reduce offending and reoffending, while ensuring that victims, witnesses and their families are supported and placed at the very heart of all criminal justice processes.

The landscape for learning to become a police constable has changed and our regional partnership with Staffordshire University will enable you to gain a degree while becoming operationally competent on the job. You will become accredited for the skills you acquire and utilise in your day-to-day roles, with greater insight, understanding and learning of the challenges policing faces now and in the future.

Through this course you will get to learn new skills, meet new people and set out a career path that could see you specialise as a firearms officer, dog handler, traffic cop, detective or the trusted, familiar face within your community as a neighbourhood officer. You'll gain practical and invaluable insight into various roles and departments within the force, standing you in good stead for future opportunities.

This isn't a 9-5 role and you will be required to work shifts that include nights, weekends and bank holidays. Your base location of work will vary throughout your career and you may be posted anywhere within the Staffordshire region. You will also need to prepare yourself for potentially dangerous situations but be reassured that we will support you to be ready to handle these.

As you will be joining our student officer programme through the 'Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship' route your probation period will be three years. During this time you will be supported and assessed to ensure you are lawful and legal to independently carry out the role of a police officer

Salary and Benefits

Your starting salary will be £21,000 rising to £23,000 in your third year; once you become a fully-fledged officer your salary is determined nationally.

And that's not all. You'll also:

  • secure a funded degree level qualification in professional policing practice
  • receive extensive training and development throughout your career 
  • have access to a generous pension scheme
  • have the opportunity to work in a wide range of policing departments
  • get a minimum of 22 days annual leave; rising with service to 30 days
  • access additional schemes such as childcare vouchers, employee assistance programme and lifestyle discounts

Protect, Learn, Serve - FAQs

Q - Will I be expected to work a shift pattern?

A - Yes, Police officers work on a rota system which includes both day and night shifts, including weekends and public/bank holidays.

Q - When can I take holidays and time off work?

A - You will not be able to book any time off during the initial training course (first 8 weeks), except public and bank holidays. Up to week 36/37 before independent patrol is achieved, annual leave requests will be considered only by exception.

Some courses will have holidays programmed into their timetable and you may be required to take certain days off as holiday. You will be advised of this at the start of your appointment.

You are entitled to 22 days paid annual holiday, rising to 30 days a year depending on your length of service. This is on top of public holidays and an average of at least two rest days each working week.

Q - Can I work part time?

A - You will have to work full time during your initial training, you may apply for part time working once this is completed. It should be noted there is no guarantee of part time working being granted; requests are considered based on operational need.

Should you move to part time working during your probation, you probationary period will be extended on a pro rata basis.

Q - If successful, can I join a specialist unit or become a detective?

A - Not at first. All newly recruited police officers must undergo a three year probationary period in which you'll spend time in response, neighbourhood and an investigative team.

Q - Can I choose where I work?

A - No, you will need to be prepared to work across Staffordshire and be flexible to travel around the county.

Q - I live outside of Staffordshire, can I still apply?

A - Yes, we welcome applications from outside the force area, however, please consider that you will need to be prepared to work across all locations within Staffordshire.

Q - Once I have passed my probation, are there opportunities for career development and promotion?

A - Yes, you will be supported to develop throughout your career. There are a wealth of opportunities as a police officer including promotions through the ranks or lateral moves into specialist teams such as Counter Terrorism, Firearms, Dog Unit and Offender Management.
 
Q - What benefits does Staffordshire Police offer?

A - There are many benefits, these include:

  • secure a degree level qualification
  • receive extensive training and development throughout your career 
  • have access to a generous pension scheme
  • have the opportunity to work in a wide range of policing departments
  • a minimum of 22 days annual leave; rising with service
  • access to additional schemes such as childcare vouchers, employee assistance programme and lifestyle discounts

 
Q - Will I be paid whilst I am training to be a police officer and studying?

A - Yes, you will be paid throughout the three years that you are training and studying for your Degree Apprenticeship in Professional Policing Practice. The starting salary is £21,000 rising to £23,000 in your third year.

Q - Will I have to deal with confrontation?

A - Yes, you will encounter stressful situations that include dealing with confrontation - we will provide you with extensive training and support you to be ready to handle these.

 

Eligibility:


Q - Am I too old to apply?

A - You will need to be between 18 (at application). Applications are subject to occupational and fitness assessments.
 
Q - Are there height restrictions?

A - No, there is no minimum or maximum height requirements.

Q - I am nearly 18, can I apply?

A - No, you will need to wait until you turn 18 before you begin your application.

Q - Do I need to hold a full driving licence?

A - You need to have a full license 6 weeks before the start date otherwise the offer can be withdrawn.

Q - I'm waiting for the results of my level 2 / 3 qualifications, can I still apply?

A - Yes, you can apply however you won't be progressed until you have passed the qualifications.  Certificates must be produced as proof.

Q - Do I need to pass the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing (CKP) before I apply?

A - No, completing the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing (CKP) is not a requirement, however, if you have achieved this it will contribute 16 UCAS points at level 3.

Q - I have a student visa, is that sufficient for me to apply?

A - No, international students are not able to apply.

Q - Will you apply for a working visa for me?

A - No, you would need to you the status of indefinite leave to remain and work in the UK to apply.

Q - I have a criminal conviction or caution, can I still work for the police?

A - This will depend on the nature of the conviction or caution. You will need to provide full details to assist our vetting department in making a decision, via the application process.

PLEASE NOTE: applicants must declare all convictions and cautions. Failure to declare certain details will seriously undermine an individual's integrity and credibility and is likely to bar them from appointment, regardless of the nature / seriousness of the details.

Q - In the past I have been arrested but not charged, do I still need to declare this?

A - Yes, you must declare if you have ever been subject of a criminal investigation whether or not this led to a prosecution. Failure to make such declarations will lead to your application being rejected.

Q - Do I need to declare motoring offences?

A - Yes, you must declare all offences including penalty notices. Your application will not be automatically rejected for minor offences; consideration will be given to repeat offending, behaviour, age, the actual offence committed and length of time since the offence.

Q - I have a relative who has convictions, can I still apply?

Yes. If your friends or family members have convictions, this must be disclosed. Your application will not be automatically rejected; consideration will be given as to how close the association is and the level of criminality involved etc.

Q - Can I apply if I have been bankrupt?

A - Yes, you can apply but only if it is three years after the bankruptcy debts have been discharged.

Q - Can I apply if I have a County Court Judgment (CCJ)?

A - Yes - if the judgement has been discharged, you can be considered. If you have an existing judgment, your application cannot be considered.

Q - Can I apply if I have an Independent Voluntary Agreement (IVA)?

A - Applicants with a current Independent Voluntary Agreement (IVA) will not be considered. However, if it has been discharged, you may be considered.

Q - Can I continue with my other business interests?

A - You must declare any other employment for hire or gain or any other business interests that you intend to maintain, when you apply to become a police constable. A decision on whether you meet the eligibility criteria will be made on the basis of the full information provided during the recruitment and selection process and whether it is considered that your business interests are compatible with performing the role of a police officer.

This also includes if you or one of your close relatives holds or possesses a pecuniary interest in a licence or permit relating to alcohol licensing, refreshment houses or betting and gaming or regulating places of entertainment in the force area.

Q - I don't have the required level two qualification in English and / or Maths - what can I do?

A - Our partners at Staffordshire University have lots of information on how to achieve your level two qualifications - some of those courses do not incur a fee.

Q - I don't have the required UCAS points at level three - what can I do?

A - Our partners at Staffordshire University have lots of information on how to achieve your level three qualifications - some of those courses do not incur a fee.

Q - Are there any restrictions on hair style and colour?

A - Yes, when you begin your training you will be required to adhere to nationally set appearance standards. Hair should be worn so that it is cut or secured above the collar and ears and is neat and tidy. Extreme and vivid hair colouring in conspicuously unnatural colours is not permitted. Uniform policy.

Q - I already work as Police Staff at Staffordshire Police, or another force, is the process the same for me?

A - Yes, the recruitment and selection process is consistent for all.

Q - I am involved in politics, is this OK?

A - Police officers are not permitted to take an active part in politics.

 

Application Form and Selection Process

 

Q - I've already passed the SEARCH assessment centre through my application to another police force, can I transfer my score?

A - You will need to apply in the normal way and pass the CBQ (competency based question) part of the application form; once you reach this point we are able to accept your SEARCH score. Please note scores are only valid for 12 months and you must withdraw the application from the other force before applying to Staffordshire Police. 

Q - I've previously applied to be a police officer at Staffordshire Police or another force, can I reapply?

A - Yes, however, if you have previously attended a SEARCH® assessment centre, you will not be able to sit another centre within a 6 month period.

Q - I don't have the certificates for my qualifications, is this OK?

Y - You will need to secure copies of your qualifications before you begin your application.

Q - I have dyslexia, will reasonable adjustments be made for me?

A - If you are dyslexic you will be required to provide us with an adult dyslexia report (Assessed from 18+ and to be obtained at your own cost). This is so we can arrange the consideration for reasonable adjustments to be made.

Q - What does the SEARCH Recruit Assessment involve? How can I prepare?

A - If you are successful at application stage you will then be invited to attend a SEARCH assessment, within your invitation email will be supporting documents and details about what to expect at SEARCH assessment, in the interim you can access further information using the following link; https://recruit.college.police.uk/Officer/after-I-apply/Pages/Constables-Assessment-Centre.aspx

Q - Can I claim expenses for attending the assessment centre, fitness test and medical?

A - We are not able to reimburse you for any expenses incurred as part of the recruitment process

Q - What is biometric vetting and what happens to the samples I give?

A - Biometric vetting checks will be undertaken on those candidates who have reached the stage of being considered suitable and are undergoing pre-employment checks. Fingerprints and DNA sample will be taken and checks made against the appropriate databases. The purpose of the searches is to determine whether:

  • The individual has come to police attention;
  • If so, whether that was under the identity being used for the application; and
  • If the individual is linked to any outstanding crime scene marks or stains
  • Only one set of fingerprints and DNA sample will be required. If subsequently appointed, these samples will be retained on the respective police database for elimination purposes. For those not appointed, their fingerprints, DNA sample and DNA profile and all copies and records will be destroyed.

Q - What does the drugs test involve?

A - A urine sample will be used for alcohol, drug and or substance abuse.

Q - What does the fitness test involve? How can I prepare?

A - The fitness test involves a beep test/ a push pull test and your BMI will also be calculated, when you are invited to attend the fitness test you will be provided with information on what to expect and how to prepare for it.

Q - How will you contact me through the process?

A - Generally we'll contact you via email but if we need to reach you quickly we may give you a call. It's important that you provide us with your correct details and update us if anything changes. It is important that you regularly check your spam or junk folder also. 

Q - How long does the selection process take? Can I choose when I start?

A - The process length varies - we strive to complete the process within six months but it may take longer. Once your checks are complete we will generally offer you the next available start date taking into account your notice period; there may be the opportunity to delay this by a short time.

Q - I already have an application to become a Police Officer with another force, is that OK?

A - You're only able to apply to one police force/service at a time.

Q - I have applied to become a PCSO / other police staff role, is that OK? 

A - Yes - you are able to have other live applications with Staffordshire Police, or another force, that aren't for the role of a police office. However, as the applications progress you will need to make decision on which you would like to take further.

Q - I don't want to study for a degree, can I still join?

A - All routes into policing at Staffordshire Police will now incorporate formal study to Level 6 or higher. We are currently recruiting for new joiners who will undertake the degree apprenticeship programme; if you already have a degree there will be opportunities open to you in the future that will enable you to study for a postgraduate diploma instead. The third route of entry is via a pre-join degree external to Staffordshire Police. 

Q - I applied previously and am starting soon; can I switch to complete the degree apprenticeship?

A - No, if you applied previously you will have already been allocated to a cohort.

Q - Will I need to pay tuition fees?

A - Your degree will be funded by Staffordshire Police and by using funding from the newly introduced Apprenticeship Levy. However, you may be required to pay back tuition fees if you choose to leave within your first five years.

Q - Will I have to attend University for lectures?

A - Initially in the introductory modules

Q - How often will I be expected to study?

A - Your study will be on-going however you will be required to use approximately 20% of your work time for off the job learning

Q - Will I have to study for exams?

A - No, you will not be required to take exams, you will achieve your degree either by completing assignment work or by demonstrating your skills on the job.

Q - Can I still work part time whilst I am training and completing Degree Apprenticeship in Professional Policing Practice?


A - No, you will be working as a full time police officer while you are studying towards your degree.

Q - Is it all classroom study? How will I learn the practical elements of policing?

A - No, there will be lots of practical training and 'on the job' development too. We will also provide as much support as you need to achieve the required outcomes.

Q - Can I choose which University I gain my degree from?

A - No, we have partnered with Staffordshire University to deliver the degree apprenticeship 

Q - Do I need to provide any equipment to support my learning?

A - A desktop or laptop computer is essential to support your learning, as well as a headset with integrated microphone capability. This is because students are expected to work agilely, with a lot of the course content being delivered digitally.

Discounts already exist in the market place for students to purchase laptops through the student NUS cards and the blue light card which as a police officer you will be eligible for.

For loan facilities, via salary sacrifice, could be offered in specific circumstances where affordability may be an issue. This can be raised during your recruitment process.

More Information

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