Frequently Asked Questions
What are the entry routes for anyone wanting to become an officer?
Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA)
This is a three year apprenticeship that leads to a degree in Professional Policing Practice, enabling new recruits to join the police service as an apprentice police constable and earn while they learn.
The learning will done both on police training premises and whilst actually doing the job to help student officers gain the skills, knowledge and behaviours to become a competent police officer.
Direct Entry Detective Constable (IPLDP+)
This is the route for people who want to be a Detective Constable through the Initial Police Learning & Development Programme Plus (IPLDP+).
- Police Constable IPLDP Uniform
This is the route for people who want to be a Police Constable through the Initial Police Learning & Development Programme (IPLDP).
Degree in Professional Policing
This entry route is for those who already hold this degree, prior to joining the police service.
Candidates who are subsequently recruited will undertake practice-based training to develop specific skills and will be assessed against national assessment criteria in order to demonstrate operational competence.
Can you still join the police without a degree?
As above, the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA), the Direct Entry Detective Constable (IPLDP+) and the Police Constable (IPLDP) Uniform entry routes do not require you to have a degree.
On the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) route you will be working towards the completion of a professional degree-level apprenticeship as part of this entry route which will need to be successfully completed prior to being confirmed in post. Be aware you would need to meet the minimum entry requirements for the PCDA programme and pass the recruitment process set out by West Yorkshire Police and Leeds Trinity University.
Can I apply for the Apprenticeship Scheme even if I already have a degree?
You can apply to the Apprenticeship Scheme if you already have a degree, as long as that degree is not in a policing related subject.
Which university is West Yorkshire working with to deliver the new initial entry routes for Police Constables?
We will be working in partnership with Leeds Trinity University, whose origins lie in teacher training, so have a long tradition of delivering vocational degree education programmes to provide the PCDA route. New student officers will be educated and trained by both West Yorkshire Police officers and university academic staff to ensure that they receive the best education to provide them will the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to provide an excellent service to the communities of West Yorkshire in an ever more changing society.
What qualifications will I need to apply?
To undertake the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) entry route you will need:
- Pass grades in both English Language and Mathematics at Level 2 / GCSE (A*-C or 9-4) or equivalent, and
- Have a Level 3 or equivalent qualification e.g. two A Levels, in any subject, or be a serving Special Constable or PCSO. If you are due to receive your Level 3 results in 2023 you can apply with your predicted grades. You must provide a letter from your school or college confirming that you are expected to achieve the required qualifications.
A Level 3 qualification within the meaning of Section 3 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 or equivalent, which ideally attracts 80+ UCAS points* (or have relevant experience i.e. have served as a Special Constable or worked as a PSCO)
*An essay will need to be completed where the Level 3 qualification does not equate to a minimum of 80 UCAS points
To undertake the Direct Entry Detective Constable (IPLDP+) entry route you will need:
- Have a Level 2 / GCSE (A*-C or 9-4) or equivalent qualification in English Language.
- Have a Level 3 or equivalent qualification e.g. 2 A Levels, in any subject, or have served a Special Constable or worked as a PCSO
To undertake the Police Constable IPLDP Uniform entry route you will need:
- Have a pass in English Language GCSE (A*-C/9-4), or an equivalent Level 2 qualification (for example O-Levels or CSEs Grade 1)
and fulfill one of the following three categories;
- have a Level 6 qualification or
- have at least a level 3 qualification combined with five or more years working experience (some exceptions may apply) or
- be a serving PCSO or Special Constable who has achieved independent patrol status
How do I know which entry route is best for me?
There are four options available to you:
The first is that you apply to a Force to join the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship, whereby you are employed as an Apprentice Police Constable, completing a degree in Professional Policing Practice during the three-year apprenticeship programme.
The second option is that you apply to join the Direct Entry Detective Constable (IPLDP+) entry route which is for those people who want to specialise as a Detective and do not want to be posted to other operational functions such as Response, Patrol or Neighbourhood Policing.
The third option is that you apply to join the Police Constable IPLDP Uniform entry route which is for those people who wish to work in a uniform operational role such as Response, Patrol or Neighbourhood Policing. This route is for people who do not wish to work towards an academic qualification.
The fourth option is you can apply to any university who are offering the College of Policing licensed Degree in Professional Policing. The degree is achieved prior to applying to the Police Service and you would be recruited as a Police Constable who will have acquired all of the knowledge base relevant to performance of the role.
What College / A-level subjects should I choose?
You can complete any college / A-level subjects as long as they are at Level 3.
What is the pay?
- The starting salary for the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship is £28,551 per annum increasing to a minimum of £30,957 after three years and £46,044 after seven years if you remain at Police Constable rank, (subject to performance).
- The starting salary for the Direct Entry Detective Constable (IPLDP+) is £28,551 per annum increasing to a minimum of £30,957 after three years and £46,044 after seven years if you remain at Police Constable rank, (subject to performance).
- The starting salary for the Police Constable IPLDP Uniform is £28,551 per annum increasing to a minimum of £30,957 after three years and £46,044 after seven years if you remain at Police Constable rank, (subject to performance).
Will you get a student card with the Police Constable Degree Apprentice route?
Yes you will receive a student identity card. As well as being a full-time employed police officer, you are also a full-time student at Leeds Trinity University and will have access to their facilities such as the library, support networks, student union, etc.
What are my options once I have joined as a police officer?
During the foundation stage for the PCDA entry route you will learn the basic skills and knowledge that allows you to start working ‘on the streets’ alongside experienced uniform police colleagues and start putting your knowledge into practice.
In the final year of the programme you will work in one of three core policing roles, response policing, community policing or conducting investigations, where the learning is more tailored to those areas.
However, once you have successfully completed your probationary period and have been confirmed in post as a Police Constable, you will have the option to look for promotion or specialise in areas such as serious crime investigation, roads policing, operations, etc. in the same way as any other serving police officer. Policing really does offer you career opportunities that very few other jobs do.
What will the qualification be at the end of the apprenticeship programme?
After successfully completing your apprenticeship you will be awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Professional Policing Practice.
What leave do I get when I am in training?
During the first year of the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) the training is split into a number of mandatory blocks of classroom-based learning and working on operational patrol with an experienced tutor constable to mentor you in your new role.
As such three weeks of your four weeks annual allocation will already be planned into the training programme. The fourth week will be for you to take once you are working on independent patrol. In years two and three you will have more freedom to choose when you would like to take your leave, although you will not be permitted to take leave during any of your formal blocks of learning.
Where will I learn and study when completing the Apprenticeship?
Block learning will be delivered at the Carr Gate Police Training Complex, Wakefield, as well as at Leeds Trinity University campus, Horsforth, Leeds.
How will learning and work be split during the Apprenticeship?
Our programmes have been designed to mix both classroom based theory with blocks of operational experience spread over a 12 month period. This will allow student officers to link practical experiences to theory and reflect on their practice. A blended learning approach will also be seen throughout the programme.
Why should policing have a formal qualifications framework?
Professions support their members and help assure the public that discretion is exercised appropriately by setting clear conditions of membership. These commonly include using a published specialist knowledge base, commitment to an ethical code, keeping up to date with professional development and meeting an educational standard verified by nationally recognised qualifications. In policing, three of these elements of support for professional decision making have been introduced by the College of Policing. Policing does not, however, currently set education levels for roles or ranks which reflect the skills and knowledge required to meet current and future challenges.
Aren’t police officers already qualified?
There are many highly trained and experienced people working in policing. The profession does not, however, currently set education levels for roles or ranks which reflect the skills and knowledge required to meet current and future challenges. There is variable and inconsistent practice in terms of police education, with the result that some officers have no publicly recognised qualification. Such inconsistency risks undermining the professionalism of the Police Service. For most professions, a nationally recognised system of accreditation demonstrates that individuals have the required knowledge and skills for their role and thereby offers assurance to the public and to the members of the profession. The Police Service remains considerably out of kilter with other professions, particularly those which work to protect the public, with regard to its formal education standards.
What is the evidence for qualifications at this level being useful?
One of the few national qualifications currently available to Police Constables, the largest group in the Police Service workforce, is set at Level 3. The College of Policing has examined the qualification levels alongside its recent analysis and reviews and together with stakeholders, has reached the view that Level 6 is an appropriate reflection of the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed by police officers to equip them to deal with complex modern day policing challenges.
Is policing really a graduate level job? Surely you don’t need a degree level qualification to break up a pub fight?
If that was the only type of incident a police officer had to deal with, then a degree qualification would not be appropriate. Police officers, however, have to exercise personal judgement and responsibility and solve problems in complex, unpredictable contexts of all kinds, dealing with everything from child sexual exploitation to counterterrorism and cyber-crime.
Isn’t having common sense and a vocation more important than qualifications in policing?
People in policing need to demonstrate commitment and exercise good judgement, whether or not they have a qualification. Achieving a qualification does not prevent someone having common sense or a vocation for public service. A qualified person might feel able to challenge a majority view previously been accepted as common sense if it contradicted the best available evidence. The College of Policing and wider service’s view is that people working in policing are best equipped with a combination of advanced knowledge, skills and decision-making frameworks to support them in their vocation and in exercising their personal judgement.
What value does being a graduate bring?
Graduate-level skills and attributes (e.g. critical thinking and analysis, communication skills, reflection, independent decision making, problem solving in complex and unpredictable contexts and research skills) are already demonstrated on a daily basis by current members of the service and will become increasingly important in policing. Such skills will be essential in embedding evidence-based policing and will support a highly skilled workforce capable of working more autonomously and efficiently with less supervision.
A graduate qualification allows the public and other employers to easily recognise and compare the level of expertise of officers and staff. It may also prove useful when those currently working in policing retire or decide to leave the service. Higher education can also play a key role in supporting the development of skills such as tolerance, willingness to embrace alternative perspectives, moral and ethical reasoning and empathy.
I hold a City and Guilds Level 2 SVQ/NVQ equivalent to a Level 3 Award?
A City and Guilds Level 2 SVQ/NVQ is equivalent to GCSE grades A* - C, Intermediate GNVQ, BTEC first certificate and as such is not at the Level 3 required.
Will I have to wear a uniform during my training?
For student officers on the PCDA course you will be provided with the Police uniform that you will be expected to wear during your training.
Page last reviewed September 2023.