If you are considering applying for one of our policing roles at Bedfordshire Police, here is some useful information to know before you apply:
The Recruitment team is on hand to help you during the application process. They can assist with application support, online assessment centre support and interview support, as well as answer any questions you have. Contact the team via email at [email protected].
We have many different routes to becoming a police officer:
You do not need experience in policing or similar roles as we do provide you with 20 weeks of training to get you ready for the things you may experience. You will also have a tutor on a one-to-one basis for your first few months of working on response.
Your application form will be assessed by trained assessors and you will be informed within two weeks of submitting your application as to whether you have been successful. You will then move onto the online assessment centre, force interview, and if you are successful, you will go through medical and fitness tests.
This process can take six to nine months but this relies on you providing us the necessary information as quickly as possible.
If you are successful and offered the role you will be placed on the next available intake, which may be a month or two after your final offer letter.
Not a British citizen
To be eligible for appointment, you must be a British citizen or a citizen of a country that is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. Commonwealth citizens and foreign nationals are also eligible but only if they are resident in the UK free of restrictions.
If you are a Commonwealth citizen or other foreign national, you must provide proof that you have no restrictions on your stay in the UK. You should therefore send a copy of your passport showing that your stay is free of restrictions.
Living outside of Bedfordshire
There are no restrictions on where you live, however take into consideration that you could be posted anywhere within Bedfordshire.
You do not have to have a full driving licence on application, but all successful candidates must have a licence at the end of the 20-week initial training period.
If you have had any previous cautions or convictions, please detail these on your application form. Each application will be judged on a case-by-case basis; however it is essential that you disclose all previous cautions or convictions, regardless of whether you believe they are relevant.
Applying for more than one force
Although you can apply for multiple forces, should you make it to the College of Policing Online Assessment Centre stage you will need to commit to your chosen force prior to sitting the assessment.
You can apply whilst studying A levels or a degree. We will accept predicted grades so we can get you started on the application journey. If you are successful, you will need to have finished college or university before your start date.
If you have been unsuccessful during your application, you will need to wait three months before you can reapply.
Preparing for the role
As part of your preparation you can research the role online; talk to serving or retired police officers, detectives or PCSOs; attend our information events; read our officer blogs; and exercise to keep fit. It is your responsibility to know all about the role you are applying for.
Applicants must be aged 18 or over on their start date. Retirement for officers of any time in force is 60 years old. If you are younger than 60, you are still able to apply.
Medical conditions do not necessarily stop you from joining. We are an inclusive organisation and each candidate’s medical declaration will be taken on a case-by-case basis. If you would like to discuss any conditions with our HR team, please email [email protected].
We have many officers that can make outstanding contributions to the force who also have neurodiverse conditions. We will ensure we provide reasonable adjustments during your application journey and when you arrive on day one you have the support and adjustments you require. Please email [email protected] if you would like to check your eligibility for joining the police.
Tattoos which are offensive, garish, prominent or numerous are not acceptable. Please supply photos, measurements and explain any symbols of any tattoos along with your application and a decision will be made.
The initial training for the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA), Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP), Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP+), Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and Accelerated Detective Constable Programme (ADCP) students is held at Dunstable Police Station (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm). There is no accommodation provided.
Each role has a different shift pattern:
Officers on response work on a four days on and four days off rota that includes nights, as well as potential for overtime if they are dealing with an incident they cannot leave.
The PCSO role has a slightly more flexible shift pattern with the earliest start time of 8am and latest finishing time of 10pm.
Detectives work a Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm pattern however overtime will be expected if there is a time-sensitive case.
You will be required to work weekends, public holidays and Christmas, and your rest days may be cancelled if there is an operational need or illness in the team you are in.
You can apply for flexible working hours, however this is not guaranteed.
At the end of your initial training for police officers, PCSOs and detectives you will be posted to north response, south response, or a community team.
You will be posted where there is operational need. We will try to accommodate requests, but these are not guaranteed.
Becoming a police officer
Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP+)
The starting salary for all new recruits is £24,780 plus a southeast allowance of £1,000.
Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA)
In the first year of the course officers will earn £24,780 which will increase to £25,902 in the second year. Once officers have completed the programme and are fully ranked officers the salary will increase to £27,050 with annual increments.
There is also a £1,000 yearly London living wage allowance on top of these salaries.
Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP)
The starting salary for DHEP is £24,780 for the first year, which will increase to £25,902 and increases to £27,030 on completion, with annual increases after that. You will also receive a £1000 London living wage allowance.
On the current system, officers can expect to be earning a salary of more than £41,000 per annum by your seventh year in the job.
You can look to join specialist teams once you have completed the student officer process and are a fully ranked officer. You will need to wait for a vacancy to arise before you can start the application process.
Locations of work
Initial training is held at Dunstable Police Station. After training you will be posted and based at either Luton Police Station or Bedfordshire Police HQ in Kempston.
PCDA entry routes
The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) is a three-year programme where you will study for your BSc (Hons) in professional policing practice with Anglia Ruskin University whilst making a difference to your community as a student police officer. The degree is fully paid for by the force and you will also earn a full-time wage.
Gaining qualifications to join PCDA
For candidates that don't have the GCSEs needed to join PCDA, the government is able to help. Please visit GOV.UK to find out how they can support you to gain GCSEs in Maths and English.
PCDA - Stages of gaining the degree
During the programme, you are a police officer first and you complete your Policing degree in your first three years whilst learning the role.
You have protected learning time within your first three years to complete study, assignments etc. Anglia Ruskin University will have support tools to help you with the degree aspect.
Becoming a police community support officer (PCSO)
Differences between a PCSO and a police officer
PCSOs can plan their day and proactively tackle issues within the community they serve. This could be speaking with concerned residents, providing information on how they can protect themselves from being victims of crime or patrolling hotspot crime areas. They are the eyes and ears of the community without the demand that police officers may face.
PCSOs work set times a day, shorter shifts and don’t usually work overtime, which can work well with family life.
Police officers aren’t always able to plan what their day may look like as they often respond to 999 and 101 calls. Police officers working hours can be unpredictable and may mean working overtime or leaving a shift later than expected. If you are someone who likes to have their day planned out or have commitments outside of work, the PCSO role may be for you.
PCSOs have an important role within the force. They are the relationship builders between the force and the community; they help implement crime reducing initiatives, patrol high issue areas, gather intel and lots more. It is a very versatile role where no two days are the same.
PCSO career path
The PCSO role is not a stepping stone for the police officer role within Bedfordshire. Many of our PCSOs have made it into a long-term career and become an integral part of the community they serve.
PCSOs do not have the power to arrest. They are in a non-conflict role and are trained to speak with people to diffuse any volatile situations. If they require support, they can call on police officers to assist.
Qualifications to join
You do not need any qualifications to join but you do need to have a full UK manual driving licence and to pass the fitness test.
If you do not have a driving licence but are ready to take the driving test you can proceed with the application and training process, however you cannot start until you have passed.
To apply for the PCSO role you will need to fill out the online application form which will be assessed against our core competencies and values framework. Please use the word count as a target to aim for, giving us as much detail and information as possible.
If you are successful, you will be invited for an in-force interview. The next stages will be vetting, occupational health and a fitness test.
PCSOs work roughly nine to 10 hours a day, either 8am to 6pm or 1pm to 10pm. Shift patterns will include weekend work. You will be able to apply for work-life balance if you need an altered working pattern.
PCSOs go on a seven-week training course (Monday to Friday) where they learn about law, self-defence, first aid, the different computer systems and more.
PCSOs earn a salary starting at £20,619.
Becoming a detective
There will be two additional questions on the application form. They are there to test your understanding of the role of a detective constable and the force you are applying to work with.
It also gives the opportunity for you to evidence that you have an investigative mindset - we aren’t necessarily looking for examples regarding crime, but anything that shows the want to investigate and asking questions to find out detail.
Training and exams
There is a requirement for all detectives to be qualified to PIP level 2. This means that you will need to study and pass the National Investigators Exam (NIE), roughly six months from your start date. We will provide you with the study material and sessions to help you through this process.
Once you have passed this exam you will attend further training to enable you to complete a PIP level 2 portfolio, which will give you the status of detective constable.
Starting training as a police officer
You will need to work as a police officer on response to pass the diploma in policing as a standard officer. ADCP is designed for this process to be accelerated. You will be in uniform for the majority of your first year where you will spend time on response as a police officer.
As one of the smaller forces, detectives are semi-regularly asked to assist our uniform colleagues with duties such as supporting the night-time economy, policing Luton town football club as well as the larger events within the county.
Where you will work
As a student officer though, your journey is carefully planned out to maximise your exposure to different teams and locations within the county to truly give you an idea of the options that could lay ahead for you.
You will not be able to choose where you are posted but you will be eligible to apply for many different areas within policing and you will not be constrained to only one position for the entirety of your career.
Initial training is held at Dunstable Police Station. After training you will be posted and be based out of either Luton Police Station or Bedfordshire Police HQ in Kempston to complete the remainder of your police officer training. Once you have completed that period you will be posted to different crime teams within those stations.
You will be required to work night shifts whilst on response and you will need to work overtime when you are working on time-sensitive cases.
If you have any questions or you'd like any advice or guidance with your application, please email [email protected].