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What you could be doing | Police Officers | Degree Holder Entry Programme

The programme is a fantastic combination of on the job learning and university study

Degree Holder Entry Programme

The Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) is for people who already have a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent level 6 qualification) or in your final year of study in any subject and would like to be trained to be a first-class police officer.

Join us as an operational officer and you’ll get to learn both 'on the job' and by studying at university over a two-year period, where you’ll be able to gain a Level 6 Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice. It doesn’t matter what subject your degree is in. The important thing is that by earning one you’ve already shown that you have the ability to research, evaluate and present evidence. 

If you are interested please complete the Expression of Interest form and we will be in touch when we open for applications again.

Apply now
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Is the role for you?

While being a police officer is physically, mentally and emotionally demanding, it’s also hugely varied and incredibly rewarding. Of course, it’s vital that you’re the right person for the job. This tool will help you to explore your suitability and make a reasonably informed decision about whether or not to apply.

Please note, this tool is a guide, not a definitive statement about your suitability.

Explore your suitability

What do you need?

All applicants must be a UK Citizen, EU Citizen with EU Settled Status, a Commonwealth Citizen or Foreign National with no restrictions on your stay in the United Kingdom. Whether or not you were born in the United Kingdom, you should have lived here for the three years immediately preceding your application.

You must also be between 17 and 57 years old on the date of submitting your application.


You must have a minimum of a UK bachelor’s degree qualification (Level 6) or equivalent or be in your final year of study in any subject.

Accepted qualifications

  • Bachelors Degree e.g. BA/ BSc/ Bed
  • Bachelors Degree with Honours e.g. BA(Hons)/ BSc(Hons)
  • Degree Apprenticeship

Qualifications not accepted

  • Graduate Certificate*
  • Graduate Diploma*
  • Level 6 Award*
  • Level 6 Certificate*
  • Level 6 NVQ*
  • Irish Foundation Degree
  • Irish Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
  • Irish Higher Certificate

*Please note these are classed as the same standard as a Level 6 but are not Degree based and therefore cannot be accepted for DHEP.

Driving Licence

You must hold a full UK/EU valid manual driving licence at the start of pre-employment checks.

Fitness Level Requirements

You’ll need to pass a Job-Related Fitness Test (JRFT9) to check your fitness levels. This test determines whether you’re fit for the job and ready for Officer Safety Training, where you’ll learn to protect yourself and others. You’ll also be asked to take a running test (known as a multi-stage shuttle run or bleep test) to level 5:4.

Health Requirements

You’ll need to undergo a medical assessment to make sure you’re healthy enough for the intense training. Your application will be rejected if you fail to meet the minimum acceptable medical standard for entry. Our Occupational Health Team will generally carry out the assessment. They’ll check:

Body Mass Index (BMI)
Colour vision
Lung function

You’ll also be asked to complete a confidential medical history questionnaire. Depending on your medical history, we may have to contact your GP/specialist for further information. Once you have been declared medically fit, we’ll progress your application to the next stage.

You can check your Body Mass Index at or find out more about healthy eating at

Background Checks

You must declare any previous spent and unspent convictions and have a basic background check to get Security Check level clearance. Applicants with cautions, convictions or reprimands, other than some motoring offences, may not be accepted.

What may hold you back?

You cannot apply to become a police officer with us if you:

  • Have had an application turned down by a police force in the last three months at any stage of the national process. The national process includes Online Assessment, fitness test and pre-employment checks.
  • Have been or are a member of a group or extreme political organisation such as BNP, National Front or Combat 18 that stirs up racial hatred and violence, a proscribed terrorist organisation/group or a similar organisation.
  • Are waiting to appear in court or have any serious convictions or recent cautions, bind-overs or findings of guilt.
  • Misuse drugs, solvents or anabolic steroids. But each case is considered upon its own merits.
  • Have tattoos on your face, neck or hands that could cause offence. If you have a tattoo, you’ll be asked to provide a description and photographs of the tattoo. The nature, location, size, prominence and appearance of tattoos will be considered.
  • Have any current County Court Judgements (CCJs) against you, or are the subject of an Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA). If you’ve been registered bankrupt, you may only apply if it is at least three years since the date your debts were discharged. 

The recruitment process

At the end of each stage of the recruitment process, you’ll be notified by email whether or not you’ve been successful and are therefore eligible to proceed to the next stage. You can also log in to view your application status. If you haven’t received an email, remember to check your junk mail/filter settings in case our emails are have ended up there.

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Application form

The first thing you’ll need to do is fill out an application form through our recruitment portal.

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Competency-based questions

We use these to assess how well you communicate and influence, work with others, and problem-solve and innovate.

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Internal assessment

Joining us for an assessment day at our Ripley HQ, you’ll be asked to do a short presentation, one to one interview, written exercises and a group task.

Find out more about the assessment day

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Online assessment

The final stage of the process is the National Online Assessment. This involves a competency-based interview and a written exercise and briefing exercise.

Find out more about the online assessment

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Pre-employment checks

To be appointed you’ll need to complete a fitness test, medical and vetting checks. We’ll also need to obtain references for the last three years.

What we can offer you


  • Higher than average* graduate salary for the East Midlands region (*HESA | Graduate outcome report 2022)
  • New Officers meeting expectations can expect to be earning 40k+ within 7 years
  • All staff are encouraged and supported to enrol in our attractive pension schemes
  • Choose to join a nationally recognised pension scheme that offers final salary and other benefits such as life cover and ill health benefits
  • As a police officer you have the option to retire at 60
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  • We recognise the importance of work/life balance and that’s why we are an equal opportunities employer which encourages everyone to be individual and themselves at all times
  • We offer competitive annual leave, starting as 22 days as a police officer, rising to 30 days according to length of service
  • We offer parental leave, special leave and career break schemes as well as a progressive and versatile flexible working programme, designed to compliment your other commitments, alongside operational demands
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We are proud of the inclusion and leadership within our force networks, and we firmly believe in looking after our people and their families. Here is a selection of some of our support networks:

  • Blue Light Champions – volunteers from within the organisation who provide mental health advice and signposting avenues of support to peers.
  • Mindfulness Champions – volunteers from within the organisation who help promote the practice of mindfulness to peers.
  • TRiM - Trauma Risk Management (Trauma Risk Management) – volunteers who offer assistance to reduce post-traumatic stress and offer peer support. 
  • Derbyshire Black Police Association (BPA)
  • LGBT+ support network 
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We actively promote our hive of sports and social associations and we are delighted to be able to offer great discounts on leisure activities and days out as part of this. Our Sports Club offers include:

  • Choose between tournaments and team games in sports from rugby to snooker.
  • Enjoy full exclusive access to our fitness suites too
  • 'Days Out' corporate tickets are also available, allowing access for your family into places such as Chatsworth, Twycross Zoo, White Post Farm, and many more.
  • You can join the sports club for £5 per month.
  • Membership is open to police officers and police staff, both serving and retired, as well as serving members of the Special Constabulary
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We are offering new funded learning entry routes into policing:

  • The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA)
  • The Police and Detective Constable Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) 

Whichever route you choose, you will be employed as an officer from day one, and spend time training with experienced officers on the frontline whilst also working towards a fully funded degree or graduate diploma.

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On completing probation the following is available:

  • Police & Detective Constable - starting rank.
  • Sergeant - responsible for a team of constables
  • Inspector - typically oversee a shift of constables/sergeants
  • Chief Inspector - manage a specific geographical area
  • Superintendent – oversee a large department such as Specialist Ops
  • Chief Superintendent - responsible for a specific function such as Crime & Intelligence
  • Assistant Chief Constable - responsible for a business area such as Crime and Operations
  • Deputy Chief Constable - deputy and support for the Chief Constable 
  • Chief Constable - responsible for the effective running of Derbyshire Constabulary

As a police constable, you’ll be able to apply for specialist units. To find out more visit the College of Policing career pathways portal.

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As a member of Derbyshire Constabulary there are many other benefits you can take advantage of:

  • The Blue Light Card offers a wide range of discounts offered by retailers, restaurants and other businesses to police workers.
  • The Cycle2Work scheme enables you to loan a bike and he scheme enables you to loan a bike and equipment for commuting to and from work within a salary sacrifice scheme.
  • Boost is our employee benefits scheme, which is in place to save money on everyday purchases. Get cash back, buy instant vouchers or purchase reloadable gift cards at discount prices.

There are more reasons to join us in here: What we can offer you.

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Meet some of the team

Jason Potts, Police Constable

I joined the force back in 1992 as a Response Car Driver. During my time in that role I helped save someone’s life. It remains one of my proudest moments. I’ve been in my current job for over 20 years, but I’m still as enthusiastic and inspired to do my best as I’ve ever been. 

I’ve investigated many fatal collisions and serious offences. A lot of cases have challenged me professionally and moved me on a personal level. It can be a difficult and frustrating job at times, but working with like-minded people and producing positive results makes it all worthwhile. The people who work here are a credit to the force.