Detective Entry Programme

Detective Entry Programme


Degree Holder Entry Programme – Detective Entry

Applications to join us as a Police Officer on the Degree Holder Entry Programme – Detective Entry are currently closed. Sign up to job alerts to be the first to find out when this entry route opens.

*Important Update* The Police Officer application form is no longer a full competency based question style and only basic personal information is now required. This means it should only take around 10 minutes to complete the whole application form.

Are you a degree-holder and critical thinker who pays attention to detail and enjoys problem-solving? If so, you might be an ideal candidate to join our expert crime investigations team. Lancashire Constabulary’s two-year Detective Entry Programme offers fantastic opportunities for career development in one of our many investigative areas.

This is an intensive course, which includes learning to be a police officer by working and studying for UCLan’s Diploma in Professional Policing Practice. Recruits spend their first year learning the ropes as a Police Officer, learning about law and procedure and how to conduct initial investigations.

On successful completion of the first year, they become Trainee Investigators, supported by experienced PCs and Detective Tutors to qualify as Detective Constable (PIP 2) Investigators.

Recruits will work with detective colleagues in CID, in departments including Child Protection, Safeguarding, Intelligence, MOSOVO (Management of Sexual or Violent Offenders), or Proactive – where detectives work in plain clothes investigating serious and complex crimes such as child exploitation, drugs supply, county lines and organised crime.

A career as a detective is exciting, challenging and rewarding – suited to career-driven, decision-makers with excellent customer service skills and a high moral compass.

This is an exciting and challenging way to train as a police officer, offering job security, a varied career and a starting salary of £28,551 / after 12 months £29,751 and rising to £46,044 over seven years.

Support for Underrepresented Groups

We offer support (Positive Action) to all under-represented groups. by providing advice and guidance before and during the selection process.

Most candidates who attend positive action support sessions will say that they benefited considerably. Having the opportunity to become familiar with policing processes increased their knowledge and gave them confidence to submit an application of a higher standard. Equally so, those who attend national assessment centre support sessions have a higher chance of success, than those from under-represented groups who don’t.

This is a competitive process whereby sacrificing a small amount of your time, could be the difference between a pass or  fail.

So, BEFORE you submit your application form, CONTACT US at [email protected]

See our Positive Action section at the bottom of the page for full information.

Entry Requirements

You will need to hold a level 6 degree qualification or higher (or equivalent) in any subject (except a College of Policing licensed degree in professional policing), or be predicted to achieve this prior to being offered a final job offer. The qualification must be determined as a level 6 degree or higher (or equivalent) in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

You can apply whilst waiting to complete your degree but must have your final result before final offer of employment.

You MUST hold a full manual driving licence at the time of application.

Check this list of qualifications to understand what you currently have and what you need to apply.

Please Note:

If you have be unsuccessful at the in force interview at Hutton Headquarters within the last 3 months, you are not eligible to apply.

If you have failed any pre-employment checks – vetting, medical or fitness and your circumstances have not changed you will not be progressed through this recruitment process.

DS Sian

Case Study

Detective Sergeant Sian began her career as a uniformed Police Officer before moving on to become a Detective.  Sian’s inspiration for her career started close to home.  Sian said “I chose to become a Police Officer after being inspired by my Dad.  He was a career Detective and I saw how happy he was in his role.”

“I am currently working as part of a team of 12 Detectives on a major enquiry crossing country lines and involving organised criminal gangs.  The variety of work as a detective is vast and no two days are the same which really suits me.

“I have a really proud and supportive family who help me with childcare and have managed to craft a really great work/life balance.”

Sian gave some advice to those considering applying.  She said “Fundamentally, you need to be a real people person and the ability to talk to a variety of people is key in this role.”

One of the best parts about being a Detective is getting the results for victims.  You really do get a sense of fulfilment when you work hard to ensure that an offender is brought to justice.  I don’t think you will get anywhere near the same sense of achievement in another role. 

DC Jack

Case Study

Jack has always had a passion to work in the police and after completing his degree in Sociology and master’s in social work, he submitted his application.  Jack said “I was already working as a PCSO before I applied to be a Police Officer and I was very happy to be successful on my first application.  I come from a long line of family who have worked in public service, so it felt natural for me to also want to pursue a career serving the public.  My family are very proud of my career and love that I am doing the job I love!

“I spent 5 years as a response officer before becoming a detective.  In my new role I am working with high volume crime.  I chose to become a detective as I wanted to work with more serious crimes and with the ability to work a case through to the end, ultimately getting results for victims.

“Being a police officer is not a 9-5 job and that suits me just fine.  I like working nights as I am a night owl, and another bonus is getting days off during the week.  If I could offer any advice for someone wanting to become a detective, is to be really open to learning new things.  Everyone in the teams you will work with, have so much knowledge and they are always happy to share this knowledge – everyone is very supportive.

I am very open about my future here. One of the best things about being a police officer is the huge variety of teams and areas of work that I could explore, who knows what will be next and that is quite an exciting prospect for me!

Case Study

Joe has worked as a Police Officer since 2015 and as a Detective for the last 3 years.   Before embarking on a career as a Police Officer, Joe volunteered as a Special Constable and worked as a Police Community Support Officer.  Working in law enforcement has been a career ambition for Joe for several years.  Joe told us: “Whilst at college I was actually enrolled onto creative art courses as I have a real passion for creativity but the draw of being a Police Officer drove me to choose to study Police and Criminal Investigations at UCLan.”

“I began my officer career working in uniform as a Response Officer.  It is very fast paced and rewarding and I am very proud to have achieved a commendation for my work in this role.  Ultimately, I was motivated to apply to become a Detective, as in this role you face the different challenges that complex and serious investigations bring.  The role of a detective allows me to be more methodical with cases and allows more time to prepare a strong case” he said.

Honestly, the best part for me is achieving great results for vulnerable victims of crime, catching and bringing suspects to justice and working together as part of a team.  If I could offer any advice to someone considering this as a career, I would say that you really need to look at the values of our organisation and how they might fit with your own.  They really do need to be aligned.   For those that do apply, I might have the pleasure of mentoring you as I am about to become a Tutor Constable mentoring trainee Detectives.


Case Study

Chloe knew when she left school that she wanted to work for the police. So she volunteered as a Special Constable to gain experience whilst working for a high street bank. She has now worked at Lancashire Police for nine years, six as a Police Constable on Immediate Response, and the last three as a Detective.

“Without sounding like a cliché, I genuinely really enjoy helping people,” Chloe told us. “Every day I help victims of crime at what is possibly one of the most difficult times in their life. The hardest part for me about being a detective is the workload as demand is high, and so being able to manage my time as efficiently as possible is key.”

“My family are really proud of my work and the job I do. They are always really interested in what my role involves. This job can involve unsociable working hours, however as I work very flexibly it works for me. I am really passionate about my job and couldn’t see myself doing anything else!”

If I can offer one piece of advice, it would be to do your research about the role. You really need to be prepared to be exposed to situations and environments you have never been in before. You are going to need first class communication skills and be thorough in everything you do. Problem-solving is key and a lot of the role involves common sense and thinking outside the box. 


Case Study

Rubina has worked at Lancashire Constabulary for 11 years and has been a detective for just over three. “I always knew tha I wanted to work as a police officer and feel that public service is in my blood,” she said. “My parents really are my inspiration to work serving Lancashire communities – they work in Social Services and the NHS respectively. My family are incredibly proud of my career and what I have achieved.

“If I could offer any advice to someone considering applying to be a detective it would to make sure you are really organised. You will prepare and give evidence in court, so you really need to be meticulous with all your work.”

The best part about my job is bringing justice to a victim and their family – it really does make for a fulfilling and rewarding career. There are challenging elements to my job too, including helping people at some of the most difficult times of their lives.


Case Study

Sal has been a detective for 15 years. He said: “I can honestly say that this really is the best job for me. For Sal, the best part of job is the variety, with high profile investigations including murder enquiries, sexual offences and serious crime: “I have worked in a number of different departments and have never felt stagnant or bored in my career as there are so many roles to undertake.”

He also enjoys the camaraderie at Lancashire Police: “The team rapport here is excellent, so although you are responsible for your own case load, you work with a wide team on a day to day basis. The job can at times be very challenging, especially when you put your heart and soul into every case.”

My family and friends are really proud of and interested in what I do. I live and work in my community and am always looking for ways to make my community safe. It isn’t just a job for me, it is a way of life.


Detective Entry Programme Application Process

The whole recruitment process can take some time as you go through the stages detailed and can take around 7 months. 

When applications are open, you are able to complete and submit your form online.  As of July 2022, there is an updated application form in place which is no longer a full Competency Based Question style application question set. This means that it will take around 10 minutes to complete the whole application form.

Make sure you read the application form carefully and provide full answers to all the questions.

Can we say – The PC recruitment team undertake eligibility checks for all candidates, this involves checking candidates have the relevant level of qualification, the right to work in the UK, cautions and convictions and a minimum of 3 years residency within the UK.

Once these are completed and successfully passed the PC recruitment team will contact you via the recruitment portal to  invite you to the next stage of the recruitment process. Should a candidate fail any of the eligibility checks you will receive an email to explain why.

You will be invited to attend and complete a psychometric test. This is a great opportunity to gain a deeper insight into your personality traits, your competencies, your style of working, and what motivates you.

National Sift

All candidates will be required to undertake The National Sift,  the exercises will measure a candidates suitability for the role of a Police Constable. The National Sift contains Situation Judgement Tests (SJT) and Behavioural Style Questions (BSQ).

Ahead of the National Sift the PC Recruitment team will send candidates the required information, including a ink to the tests.  Once a candidate completes all the elements of the National Sift they receive their result immediately

On-line Assessment Centre (OAC)

Candidates successful at the National Sift will be invited to undertake the Online Assessment Centre (OAC)

There is a huge amount of information on the College of Policing website which can help you understand more about both of these processes. 

Don’t worry we will inform you of everything you need to know before the assessments takes place so you will be fully prepared.

If you have failed either the National Sift or  OAC, you are not permitted to take the assessment process more than once in any three month period. Unsuccessful candidates can reapply three months after completing the process (from the date they commenced the National Sift or OAC). They will be required to retake the whole process. It should be noted that unsuccessful candidates can only apply to retake once in a 12-month period.

At this stage you will be invited to attend an interview. This could be face to face or online via Teams.
If your application passes the initial stages we will contact you to arrange an interview. The interview questions will seek to find out how you would perform in the job in question. 

We would also suggest visiting other sections of our website for information on our values and force priorities.  

If you are successful at interview, we will send you a conditional offer of employment together with details of the next steps. This offer will be subject to security, health and reference checks.

View our detailed FAQ’s surrounding medical conditions before you complete your application form to understand any limitations there might be.

As a summary though;

Police officers encounter stressful situations, trauma, physical confrontation and work long hours on shifts. You’ll need to be resilient enough to cope with the demands and pressures of police working and be in good health mentally and physically.

After passing the recruitment stages, you’ll need to complete a medical questionnaire and get it signed by your doctor. You’ll then have a medical examination to ensure you meet our health standards.

You’ll also be asked to provide a urine sample whilst at your appointment, which we’ll test for illegal substances.

We will test your hearing to ensure it meets home office standards.

We follow the Government’s guidance on police officer health requirements. You can find out more about these and check the list of specific health conditions.

 Biometric Vetting

After your medical appointment, you will also be required to have your fingerprints scanned and a DNA sample (mouth swab) taken to check against the national police database.

Eye Sight

You must have:

Corrected distance vision of 6/12 or better with either the right eye or left eye.

6/6 vision with both eyes together with spectacles or contact lenses if worn.

Corrected near visual acuity of 6/9 or better, with both eyes.

You’ll need to go to an optician at the medical stage to have your eyes tested and this will be checked at your medical assessment. If you don’t meet the standard we’ll be unable to take your application any further. Please note that these are minimum standards and do not guarantee entry into specialist roles.  You can wear glasses and contact lenses.

Information about colour blindness

If your colour blindness is monochromat, you will not meet the eyesight standard. However, trichromats and dichromats are acceptable.


When it’s time to complete your fitness test we’ll invite you to our headquarters at Hutton, Preston.

Use the information below to help you to prepare for the fitness test. If you’re new to fitness training or are a beginner we recommend that you seek medical advice prior to commencing any exercise programme.

The test we use is the multi-stage endurance test (also known as the bleep test, shuttle run or pacer test). It’s a well-recognised test that gives a clear understanding of fitness level and one that you can practice prior to the assessment to give yourself the best possible chance of success.

If you don’t reach the required level, you won’t be able to proceed to the next stage. But, our assessor may give you the opportunity to try again.

If, after three attempts you haven’t been able to pass then you’ll need to wait 6 months before re-applying.

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Bleep Test

The fitness test is part of police life. You’ll retake it as part of your training and also take the test every year to ensure you’re maintaining a suitable level of fitness for a service officer.

The multi-stage endurance fitness test is one of the most widely used tests of endurance. It’s also easy to prepare for as all you’ll need is a flat level surface that’s 15 metres long and you can use our training recording or look on iTunes or Google Play for a bleep test training app. If using an app for your practice, ensure it is for 15 metres as some are for 20 metre runs.

What to Expect at the Bleep Test

 The test involves running back and forth in a straight line continuously along a 15 metre track. Every time you reach the edge you’ll place your foot on the line and turn, ready for the next bleep when you’ll set off again.

The test is progressive in that the bleeps start off slowly but become closer together so as the test progresses you’ll need to run faster to reach the edge before the next bleep.

The first running speed is ‘level 1’, the second is ‘level 2’ and so on. Each level lasts around 50 seconds, but the number of shuttles at each level increases as the test progresses.

At the end of each level you’ll hear a double bleep and the fitness tester will announce that you’re starting a new level. You’ll need to reach a ‘level 5.4’ rating to pass the test.


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You’ll need to meet the following:

Aged 17 or above on the day you apply and must be aged 18 or over upon appointment (we don’t have an upper age limit and value the life experience that career changers bring).

  • Not be a member of the British National Party (BNP) or other organisations such as Combat 18 or The National Front.
  • If you have a criminal record, this doesn’t mean you won’t be considered. This depends on the nature of your conviction. Please declare any cautions or convictions on your application form. If you don’t you could fail vetting due to integrity concerns.
  • Vetting clearance is unlikely to be granted if you have existing county court judgements (CCJ) outstanding against you.  If you have been registered bankrupt, clearance is unlikely until three years have passed since discharge of the debt.
  • Tattoos which are offensive, garish, prominent or numerous are not acceptable. Please supply photos and measurements of any tattoos along with your application.
  • You can re-attend our National Assessment Centre (NAC) if you failed the NAC within the last 3 months providing you were within 5% of the pass mark.  Otherwise you will need to wait 6 months between taking the NAC.
  • You must be a British Citizen, or hold a passport from a full EU Member State. You can also apply if you are a Commonwealth citizen or foreign national who is resident in the UK with indefinite leave to remain.

Residency Requirement

You must have lived in the UK for three continuous years, immediately before applying, to meet the minimum residency requirement. This is because we need to vet all applicants in an equitable manner, which requires a checkable history in the UK.  Applicants who cannot be vetted cannot be appointed.  

If you live permanently in the UK, you are considered to be a UK resident.  If you have moved overseas and severed major ties to the UK (e.g. closed bank accounts and sold property) you are considered to have surrendered your residency in the UK. This applies to people who maintain bank accounts purely for the purpose of receiving regular payments, e.g. a UK pension.

If you have spent a significant period of time overseas (normally up to one year) without returning to the UK but intend to return in the future, then we may be able to consider you.  This might apply, for example, if you have taken a gap year or similar before or following university, travelled for a year or spent time overseas visiting family (not an exhaustive list). We will need you to provide full details and will consider each case on its own merits.  

If you have been posted overseas as part of your service with HMG or the armed forces you are considered to have been resident in the UK for the period that you were abroad.
If you have been overseas as the spouse, partner or dependent of a member of the armed forces posted overseas then it may be possible to obtain the necessary assurance for a checkable history to be established. We will consider each case on its merits.

Criminal Convictions

If you have convictions or cautions this doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t be able to appoint you. It depends on the role you’ve applied for and the nature of the offence. 

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 does not apply to police officer posts, including the special constabulary.  You must therefore declare all previous convictions and cautions. 

Lancashire Constabulary apply the criminal convictions guidance contained in the College of Policing Vetting Code of Practice and associated Authorised Professional Practice (APP), and will reject applications in all cases where:

  • offences were committed as an adult or juvenile that resulted in a prison sentence (including custodial, suspended or deferred sentence and sentences served at a young offenders’ institution or community home);
  • the applicant is, or has been, a registered sex offender or is subject to a registration requirement in respect of any other conviction.

For all other convictions or cautions we will reject applications where any of the following apply:

  • offences where vulnerable people were targeted
  • offences motivated by hate or discrimination
  • offences of domestic abuse

We take particular care where an applicant has been convicted of (or cautioned for) offences of dishonesty, corrupt practice or violence, which will also likely result in rejection.

Where previous convictions or cautions are present the impact of having to disclose those as a serving officer in all criminal cases you deal with might preclude clearance being granted.  

We consider each case on its own merits and, whilst you should presume convictions, cautions or other sanctions will lead to your application being rejected, there may be occasions where this will not be the case. 

There may also be circumstances where your suspected involvement in crime, or criminal associations make an offer of employment inappropriate.  

Financial Checks

Applicants should normally be free from significant debt or liability and be able to manage existing commitments.  We place our emphasis on managing debt sensibly and will run a credit reference check on all applicants to provide an overview of the current financial position.  This is compared to the information provided on the vetting form.   Police Regulations state that a police officer shall not willfully refuse or neglect to discharge any lawful debt.  

If you have existing county court judgements outstanding against you or have been registered bankrupt and have not discharged your bankruptcy we’ll be unable to consider your application.  If you have been registered as bankrupt and have discharged the bankruptcy debts you won’t be considered until three years after the discharge of the debt.  Debt Relief Orders (DRO) are treated the same as a bankruptcy. 

We will consider your application carefully if a credit reference check reveals you have a current individual voluntary arrangement (IVA). We don’t make clearance decisions until we’ve seen evidence that you’ve maintained regular IVA repayments over a number of months taking into consideration also the size of the debt. The same principle applies where you have defaulted on accounts.   

If you can show you have and are adhering to debt management arrangements you may be considered. We’ll need to see documentary evidence to demonstrate your commitment and adherence to any debt management arrangements and will consider each case on its own merits.

Open Source Checks – We will check content on publicly available social media sites.

Vetting Decisions – If your vetting is successful, our vetting unit will let the recruiting department know. If your clearance is declined our vetting unit will notify you personally and provide as much information as we can as to the reason. There may be occasions where we are unable to provide a detailed explanation.  There is an appeal process available.

After all of the above has taken place you will be given a formal offer of employment and you discuss start dates for your exciting new career!

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Positive Action

Lancashire Constabulary is a workplace open to and supportive of a diverse workforce.

Our vision is to have an inclusive workplace open to and supportive of a diverse workforce.

We are ambitious in our aim to attract, recruit, support and promote talented individuals who represent the diverse communities and groups in Lancashire. We value difference and recognise that people with a variety of skills, attitudes and experiences, from diverse backgrounds and cultures, bring fresh ideas and perspectives. Encouraging and harnessing these differences can enhance Lancashire Police, by bringing together different viewpoints to continually improve how we deliver our policing service; making our services more approachable and relevant to our communities. We use positive action to help achieve this.

N.B If you are eligible for Positive Action (see below for eligibility) you can obtain a support before you submit your application form. Please email the team at [email protected] to access this support.

If you are eligible for Positive Action support then click the box below to register and one of our team will be in touch.

Register for Positive Action Support

Positive Action simply means employers can take steps which seek to level the playing field for underrepresented groups. This is done by providing advice, guidance and support where required, whilst still maintaining the high standards for recruitment and promotion.

The selection process is based purely on the required skills and abilities of the candidate for the role. The selection procedure itself is no different and is based solely on merit. ‘Positive action’ does not seek to remove competition and Lancashire Police will take the best applicants.

The reality is that many of our over-represented candidates are far more likely to already know someone in the police service (friends and family) and are therefore more likely to be able to access advice regarding application processes. Positive action delivered by the workforce representation team works to re-dress that balance.

Equality and Inclusion are vital to Lancashire Police, as we strive to keep our communities safe – we can only be effective in that if our workforce is truly reflective of the communities we serve.

We recognise that a diverse workforce brings a whole host of advantages including:

  • Helping us to understand the diverse needs of our communities and be able to adapt accordingly
  • Be better positioned to serve our communities by overcoming language and cultural barriers
  • Staff are happier in an environment that is truly reflective, values diversity and well-being, allowing staff to truly be themselves at work

The Equality Act, allows positive action to be used when there is under-representation. We offer support (Positive Action) to all under-represented groups. by providing advice and guidance before and during the selection process.

The Workforce representation team are dedicated to supporting talented individuals from underrepresented groups who can make a difference. We offer a variety of initiatives such as providing appropriate advice, guidance, encouragement and support throughout the recruitment process.

We recognise joining the police and our recruitment processes can be quite daunting and may be completely different to anything you have experienced before; we endeavour to help you become more familiar with our processes, to understand what we are looking for in a candidate and equip you sufficiently so that you feel comfortable and confident when you approach each recruitment stage.

Contact us today (before completing your application form) at:

[email protected]