What you could be doing | Police Officers | Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship

The opportunity to obtain a fully-funded degree while working and earning a salary

Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship

If you're looking for an exciting opportunity to obtain a fully-funded degree while working and earning a salary as a police officer, our three-year Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) is made for you.

The programme is delivered in partnership with Derby University and includes classroom delivery, practical application and tutorship. Your time will be split between Derby and our police headquarters in Ripley. The programme will involve rotations around various key departments in the second year and exposure to specialisms in the third.

During the three years, you’ll progress from academic level 4 to level 6 (degree level) and become a highly skilled, multi-competent police constable who’s fully equipped to meet the increasing complex demands required of the police service. Although an apprentice, you’ll be employed as a police officer from day one, with the degree running alongside your police training.

You’ll also be doing police training and academic work at the same time as completing work-based assessment and exams. This means you’ll do the job of a regular police officer, but still be classed as a full-time student and be able to take advantage of student benefits. Apprentices are not required to contribute towards the cost of their degree but remain in probation for the duration of the programme.

A police officer standing in front of a row of houses.

The programme itself


Year 1

Academic Level 4

Operational Deployment
Tutor Patrol Phase
Obtain Independent Patrol Status


Year 2

Academic Level 5

Response Policing
Community Policing
Policing the Roads
Information and Intelligence
Conducting Investigations


Year 3

Academic Level 6

Specialism from Year 2
Evidence Based Research Project
Academic Assessment
Reflective Presentation and Panel Discussion
Operational Competence Portfolio

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, EU or Commonwealth citizen, 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.


To get on the scheme, you’re going to need a level 2 in Maths and English (grade C/4 or above) at the time of applying, and a level 3 qualification or two A levels (or be awarded by the following August).

Alternatively, you could be a serving Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) who’s completed their professional development plan, passed their probationary period (at the time of application), and are up to date with all mandatory training.

You can also apply if you’re a serving Special Constable who has attained independent patrol status (at the time of application) and are consistently completing sixteen hours per month and up to date with all mandatory training.

If you’re unsure of your qualification levels – and it can get confusing – you can check them here.


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


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.


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 www.nhs.uk or find out more about healthy eating at www.nhs.uk/change4life


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 CBQ, 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.

What we can offer you


We’ll fund the cost of your degree, so there are no fees for you to worry about paying. You'll start with a salary of £18,912, this will rise to £24,780 in year 2 and £25,902 in year 3. Within 7 years of joining the salary will be £41,130.

All police officers and staff are able to join one of our pension schemes - and we’d highly recommend doing it. As a member of our police staff, you can join the Local Government Pension Scheme. It’s one of the largest public sector pension schemes in the UK, with 4.6 million members. You can also join a recognised national scheme provided by our chosen administrator. Both of these schemes offer final salary, plus other benefits such as life cover or ill health benefits.


We recognise the hard work and effort of all our staff by making sure they’re adequately rewarded with time off. As a police officer, you’ll receive 22 days’ holiday, rising to 30 days according to length of service. (This is in addition to public holidays).

We also provide a number of other forms of leave, including maternity, paternity and adoption leave, special leave with and without pay, carers leave, parental leave and career breaks of up to five years.


Nine-to-five isn’t for everyone. That’s why we encourage flexible working. Flexible working patterns that help you balance your working life with other commitments and interests you may have. While there’s normally a qualifying period, we’ll always look at each case individually and on its own merits. We’ll consider all requests and try to accommodate them provided they fit in with operational demands. In short, we strive to be a flexible employer, but we expect you to be flexible too. For example, you couldn't suddenly stop and go home in the middle of a suspect interview or while taking a victim statement just because your scheduled shift has ended.

When it comes to shifts, the good news is that you'll be advised of your shift pattern a year in advance. This allows you to plan your work-life balance accordingly. It’s all part of our commitment to providing a healthy working environment and improving the quality of life of everyone who works with us.


You’ll be encouraged to join a contributory health scheme and enjoy other benefits that include free eye tests and glasses, if you’re a regular computer user.


We believe in looking after our people – and their families – in every way that we can. As well as a range of comprehensive support initiatives to help with your personal welfare and that of your family, we offer occupational health and welfare counselling, from psychotherapy to financial guidance. We also run a number of development and mentoring schemes. And, as, as a member of the Police Federation and staff associations, you can be confident that the support and representation you need, should you need is, is there for you.


Our active Derbyshire Constabulary Sports Club is a hive of social and sporting activities. Indeed, there's always something new to try. Whether you enjoy playing in a team, are keenly competitive or simply looking for some satisfying sport at your own level, you can choose between tournaments and team games in sports that range from rugby to snooker.

As a Sports Club member, you’ll enjoy full exclusive access to our fitness suites too, while 'Days Out' corporate tickets are also available, allowing access for you and 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’s open to police officers and police staff, both serving and retired, as well as serving members of the Special Constabulary. It's easy to join, with direct payment from salary. And, membership allows you to bring your family along with you too.

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.


Application form

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


Competency-based questions (CBQs)

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


Force 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


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


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.

Meet some of the team

Stefan Bancroft, Police Constable

I always wanted to be a Police Officer. My grandfather was also a part of Derbyshire Constabulary, so joining felt right. I’m part of the newly formed Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship. The Constabulary funds the degree, so there’s no student loan to worry about. What’s more, the extra input I receive from the trainers means I regularly get opportunities to further develop professionally. 

There’s a really supportive structure in place too. It feels like an extended family. I’ve not been here long so the whole environment is fresh and new, but I’m constantly presented with an array of new challenges and jobs.