The College of Policing has introduced a standardised qualifications framework (PEQF) for all 43 police forces in England and Wales.

This will enable the police service to become a graduate profession, like teaching and nursing.   The new framework includes three new entry routes for Police Constable professional training.

We are delighted to be working in partnership with the University of South Wales to co-deliver specialist Police Constable training. Wiltshire Police is one of five police forces in the South West and Wales to partner with the University. 

Important Reading

Three entry routes 

  • Route 1. A three-year Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship, leading to a BSc (Hons) in Professional Policing Practice.
  • Route 2. A two-year postgraduate Degree Holder Entry Programme, leading to a Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice
  • Route 3. A pre-join undergraduate Professional Policing Degree - a three or four year university course you complete before applying to join the police service. We will open for pre-join applications in 2022. 

Route 1. Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA)

  • Three year academic and practice based programme for individuals who do not already hold a degree
  • On completion, successful candidates will be awarded a Degree in Professional Policing Practice
  • You will need Level 2 Maths and English (GCSE graded 9-4/A*-C or equivalent) and Level 3 (2 x A Levels or equivalent) - please see our educational requirements section in Police Officer recruitment for details.
  • We will accept predicted grades from students who wish to apply when we open applications in May 2021, backed up with a letter from your school, college or university, confirming those predictions. We will also need confirmation of your final grades as soon as they are available.
  • All applicants will need to provide proof of qualifications.
  • You can obtain a replacement exam certificate or certified statement of results via the GOV.UK website
  • We cover all course fees

Overview

A three-year professional degree apprenticeship.

Salary

  • PCDA Degree Apprenticeship starting salary £21,249
  • Independent Patrol Status (usually 36 weeks)  £24,177
  • Maximum salary after seven years service as a PC £40,128

Is this the right route for you?

Yes, if you would like to work in the role of an operational police officer, while studying, and do not already hold a degree level qualification.

Before you start

To be accepted, candidates must meet the Force's PCDA eligibility criteria and successfully pass all stages of the police officer recruitment process.

What's involved in a PCDA?

A three-year programme of academic modules, course work and exams. You will do this while serving as a student training police officer, with active frontline duties. 

Training Provider

The academic learning for the PCDA is in partnership with our Higher Education Institute Partner, the University of South Wales (USW) who will co-deliver training with us.

Support

Apprentices will receive support from a USW tutor with academic studies and from Wiltshire Police officers and staff  with your operational role.

You will have regular meetings to discuss your progress and any support you feel you could benefit from with your line manager within the Force.

Costs

The academic costs of this degree are covered by the apprenticeship.

Achieving your PCDA

On successful competition, you will graduate as a Police Officer and achieve a degree in Professional Policing Practice.

What if I haven't got the required qualifications?

You will need a Level 2 qualification - Maths and English GCSE Grade 9-4/A* to C or equivalent Level 2 qualification AND a Level 3 qualification - 2 A Levels or equivalent in any subject.

  • If you have Level 3 qualifications, but not Level 2 Maths and English, you can apply but you will need to complete Level 2 Functional skills in Maths and English during your first two years of the degree - training is free - go to our Educational requirements section for local providers
  • If you have have Level 2 qualifications, but not Level 3, you can apply, but you will need to complete a 'competency based personal statement' to pass the eligibility stage, detailing your experience and ability to work at degree level. If your statement is successful, you will move onto the next stage of recruitment. We will provide further guidance for applicants.

Will I be a serving officer as well as training?

Yes, you will be a warranted officer from day 1 and for much of your time you will be in Force on frontline duties.

How much time will I spend studying in a classroom?

The PCDA mixes on-the-job training with off-the-job learning. During the first 22 weeks, you will have a mix of classroom and practical learning. After that, your experience will be mostly out of the classroom.

The minimum amount of time spent in 'off the job learning' such as in lessons will be 20 per cent over the three years. 'Off the job' could also include work-related projects, which would be agreed by you and the Force, which could help tackle local policing issues.

Will someone support me with my learning?

Yes, each recruit will be allocated a tutor. They will support you via email and face-to-face meetings.

What will I be assessed on?

Your practical work, assessments, course work, exams and a dissertation in year three, following the USW curriculum for a degree in Professional Policing Practice.

How long is my probation?

Probation is for the length of the apprenticeship (usually 3 years).

What is the recruitment process before I start the PCDA?

Before you start, you will be required to successfully pass the SEARCH Assessment Centre, which tests for initial abilities including common sense approaches and reading and writing skills.   You will also need to pass vetting and fitness tests before being enrolled onto the PCDA programme

Please note places are limited in each PCDA intake, enrolment onto the PCDA is subject to availability. Candidates may experience a waiting period before being offered a place.

What age do I have to be to apply?

Applicants need to be 18 or older when you start training.

I don't want to study towards a degree; can I join under the old scheme?

No, the old scheme is closed to new applicants, and has been replaced by the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship.

Do I have to attend a university for lectures?

No, USW lecturers will hold lessons at a Wiltshire Police site, usually Police Headquarters in Devizes.

Do I have to pay for the degree?

No, your degree will be funded as part of the apprenticeship.

Will I have a graduation ceremony?

Yes, this will be organised by USW

Can I apply to more than one force at a time?

Yes, you can apply to more than one force if you wish to, but if you are successful in getting to SEARCH, you can only attend one assessment centre at any one time. 

Please read our Your Questions Answered on our Police Officer recruitment page for general information on becoming a police officer.

Route 2. Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP)

  • Two year academic and practice-based programme for those who already hold a degree in any subject
  • On completion, successful candidates will be awarded a Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice
  • You will need a Level 6 qualification in any subject
  • Applicants will need to provide proof of qualifications.  You can obtain a replacement exam certificate or certified statement of results via the GOV.UK website
  • We cover all course fees

Overview

A two-year diploma in Professional Policing Practice (PPPD)

Starting Salary

Degree Holder Entry Programme starting salary £21,987

Independent Patrol Status (usually 36 weeks) £24,177

Maximum salary after 7 years' service as a PC £40,128

Is this route for you?

Yes, if you already hold a degree in any subject area (other than Professional Policing Practice) and would like to work as an operational police officer for Wiltshire Police while obtaining a diploma.

Before you start

To be accepted, candidates must meet our DHEP eligibility criteria and successfully pass the stages of the recruitment process.

What's involved?

A two-year programme of academic modules, coursework and exams. This coincides with serving as a student training police officer, with active frontline duties within Wiltshire Police. 

Provider

The academic learning for the DHEP is provided by our Higher Education Institute Partner, the University of South Wales (USW)

Support

Student officers working towards a diploma will receive support from a USW tutor for academic studies and from officers and staff from Wiltshire Police with your operational role.

How long is the DHEP?

Two years, to allow for conversion of your degree to a graduate diploma in Professional Policing Practice. These two years will also be your probation as a student officer. After two years you will graduate from both the diploma and your probation.

Will I be a serving officer as well as training?

Yes, you will be a warranted officer from day 1 and for much of your time you will be in Force on frontline duties.

How much time will I spend studying in a classroom?

The minimum amount of time spent in 'off the job learning' such as in lessons will be 20 per cent over the two years (front loaded with 22 weeks initial training based either in the classroom or doing practical activities).

'Off the job' could also include work-related projects, which would be agreed by you and the Force, which could help tackle local policing issues.

Will I have someone to support me with my learning?

Yes, each recruit will be allocated a tutor who will support  you via email and face-to-face meetings.

What will I be assessed on?

Recruits will be assessed on their practical work, assessments, course work and exams, following the USW Curriculum in the Diploma in Professional Policing Practice.

What is the recruitment process before I start the DHEP?

Before joining, you must successfully pass the SEARCH Assessment Centre to test for initial abilities including common sense approaches and reading and writing skills. There are also vetting and fitness tests that need to be passed before being enrolled.

Please note places are limited in each DHEP intake, enrolment is subject to availability and candidates may experience a waiting period before being offered a place.

What age do I have to be to apply?

Applicants need to be 18 or older when you start training.

I don't want to study towards a diploma, can I join under the old scheme?

No, the old scheme is closed to new applicants, and has been replaced by the DHEP for those who already hold a degree, and the PCDA for those who do not hold a degree.

Do I have to attend a university for lectures?

No, USW lecturers will hold lessons at a Wiltshire Police site, this will usually be the Police Headquarters in Devizes. 

Do I have to pay for the diploma?

No, your diploma will be funded as part of the programme.

Will I have a graduation ceremony?

Yes, this will be organised by USW

Can I apply to more than one force at a time?

Yes, you can apply to more than one force if you wish to, but if you are successful in getting to SEARCH, you can only attend one assessment centre at any one time.

Route 3. Pre-join Degree Entry

  • For individuals who choose to complete a Degree in Professional Policing Practice at a Higher Education Institution of their choosing, at their own cost. 
  • Candidates carry out academic and practice based training to develop specific skills, assessed on national assessment criteria and operational competence.
  • The University of South Wales, our partners in specialist police education, is seeking undergraduates for two courses;
  • Three year BSc (Hons) Professional Policing
  • Four year  BSc (Hons) Professional Policing, including Foundation Year 
  • We will be accepting pre-join applications in 2022

More information on the Pre-join degree in Professional Policing (College of Policing website).