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Frequently asked questions


What are the three new entry routes for anyone wanting to become a police constable?

1) 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 be done both on police training premises, online and whilst actually doing the job to help student officers gain the skills, knowledge and behaviours to become a competent police officer.

2) Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP)

This entry route is aimed at existing graduates whose degree is in a subject area other than policing, for example history or sociology, and who may not have considered policing as a career when they went to university.

New recruits who join through this route will undertake a two year learning programme to enable them to perform the role of police constable.  Again, as above, the learning will be done in the classroom, online and the workplace.

3) Pre-join Degree in Professional Policing

This entry route if for those who already hold a degree and involves completion of a three-year knowledge-based Degree in Professional Policing, prior to joining the police service. Becoming a Special Constable may be included as part of this programme.

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.

However, North Yorkshire Police we will only be recruiting under the first two routes (PCDA and DHEP) for the first two years due to the pre-join degree graduates not having completed their course until 2022.

What qualifications will I need to apply?

To undertake the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) you will need to have achieved a minimum of GCSE grade C / Level 2 in English Language and Mathematics prior to entry. To complete the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) you will need to have achieved an Honours Degree; Third Class and above.

How do I know which entry route is best for me?

If you already hold a degree which is not in Professional Policing then we will sign post you to the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP).

If you do not have a degree then you have two options open to yourself. The first is that you apply 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. Secondly 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.

If you are a degree holder, you are also able to undertake the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship, but we will help guide you towards the most appropriate training programme based on your knowledge and skills.

Can you still join the police without a degree?

Yes. As above, the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) does not require you to have a degree. However, 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 North Yorkshire Police and the Open University.

For the degree conversion, does this include any foreign degree?

To undertake the Degree Holder Entry Programme (a 120-credit Level 6 Graduate Diploma, in essence a graduate conversion) individuals must hold a bachelor’s degree. On behalf of the UK Government a national agency called UK NARIC undertakes the recognition and comparison of international qualifications and skills, and provides vital support to universities. If they deem your foreign degree an equivalent to a bachelor’s degree then you will be allowed to use this.

What are my options once I have joined as a police officer?

The foundation stage for both the PCDA and DHEP are very similar where 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 either 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 Roads Policing, Dog Handling, becoming a Detective 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

I’ve already studied Policing at University – is this the same?

The new pre-join degree in Professional Policing is based upon a brand new College of Policing licensed curriculum. As such your degree in policing might have covered some areas of legislation and practice but not everything will have been covered. We would sign post you to undertake the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) to ensure all aspects of the curriculum are covered, although some of your learning already gained would likely be eligible for Recognised Prior Learning and may reduce the amount of learning you need to undertake.

Where will I learn and study when completing the Apprenticeship?

The majority of your classroom based learning will be delivered at Police Headquarters, Alverton Court, Northallerton. As the Open University offer a distance learning option, you will have the opportunity to study from home or your local police station.

How long is the recruitment process?

The recruitment window will be open for one month with SEARCH assessment centres scheduled to place in early 2020. We have a number of intakes scheduled throughout 2020 – 2021, which you will be allocated to should you be successful.

What is an ‘online situational strengths test’ and why are North Yorkshire Police using this method of assessment?

The Situational Strengths Test (SST) enable us to assesses suitability by measuring candidates against a set of realistic scenarios. It works by judging typical reactions, feelings or behaviours against a realistic scenario-based set of questions. Responses will be mapped against the strengths required within North Yorkshire Police and the role of a PCSO, with candidates only advancing based on their fit with these success criteria.

A situational strengths test is a reliable and accurate tool that will help North Yorkshire Police select the right people, with the right strengths, to deliver successful performance. It provides candidates with a realistic job preview, encouraging self-selection, with the look and feel being aligned our culture, values, and brand.

How does a strength based interview differ from a competency based interview?

A strengths based interview (SBI) is designed around the strengths required within an organisation and role, in this case, the role of a Police Officer.

The Strengths-based Interview offers a different interview experience. It allows us to assess capability and energy in a fast-paced and less ambiguous manner. It also encourages authentic responses and allows better differentiation between low, average, and high performers.

If I have a disability can I apply to become a Police Officer?

North Yorkshire Police welcomes applications from people with disabilities as defined by the Equality Act 2010. If you consider yourself to have a disability, please inform us of the type of reasonable adjustments you might need to assist you in participating in the recruitment and selection process. North Yorkshire Police will make relevant reasonable adjustments as required.

I have dyslexia. Can I still apply?

Yes, you can still apply to become a Police Officer. Should you require reasonable adjustments i.e. extra time during your assessment, you must submit a psychologist’s report which was undertaken when you were aged 16 or over. This must be submitted with your completed application form. Without this report reasonable adjustments will not be made.

I have an ongoing medical condition. Can I still apply?

You can still apply to become a Police Officer. It will depend upon the nature of the medical condition. We require all applicants to pass our medical assessment to ensure you meet the BMI and health standards required. We will look at each case on its merits and take guidance from our Occupational Health Department as part of your individual medical assessment. You will also be required to provide a urine sample whilst at your appointment, which will be tested for any illegal substances.

What hours do Police Officers work?

Police Officers work in shift patterns, covering 24 hours a day, seven days a week including bank holidays. Officers can apply for part-time or flexible working following a required length of service; all requests are considered on a case-by-base basis.

Where will I be based?

All postings are based on organisational need and successful candidates could work anywhere within North Yorkshire. We will take into consideration home address when allocating a posting, but ultimately we must meet operational demand.

Is there a minimum or upper age limit?

Applicants are not limited to any particular age group – in fact, we welcome those who are looking for a career change. The minimum age to apply is 18, and there is no upper age limit, though you should bear in mind that the normal retirement age for police constables and sergeants is 60. You should also be aware that all new recruits, whatever their age, are required to undertake a two-year probationary period.

How fit do I need to be?

One of the most rigorous elements of our screening process is the physical fitness training. Because our officers must be able to move quickly while carrying a lot of heavy equipment, they have to be in pretty good shape. If you pass the assessment process, you will then have to take a physical fitness test. To pass, you will need to be reasonably fit, and able to run short distances fairly quickly.

Can I apply if I’ve applied to another force?

You may apply to more than one force at a time, however you can only sit the assessment centre once within a 6 month period.

If you have passed an assessment centre with another force in the last 12 months the good news is you can apply to North Yorkshire Police and transfer your score.

If you are unsuccessful with another police force (even within a 6 month period), you can still apply to North Yorkshire Police.


Can I apply if I’m ex-military?

Yes, you can apply if you are ex-military, even if you have a pension. You just need to be retired or be working through your resettlement.

Can I apply if I have recently lived abroad?

North Yorkshire Police adhere to the recommendations of the ACPO Vetting Policy which states that individuals require a minimum residency of three years to be vetted for RV clearance (five years for MV clearance). Where an individual has resided abroad whilst serving in the British Armed Forces or on UK Government Service, they are considered to have been resident in the UK.

How long will my probationary period be?

There is a 2 year probationary period for those undertaking the Degree Holder Entry Programme and a 3 year probationary period for those undertaking the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship Programme.

Once you have completed your probationary period, you will be eligible to apply for additional training and specialist roles as they become available.