Graduate scheme

South East


Our National Detective Programme is a salaried two-year training and development programme. The programme is designed to equip you with the core policing skills required in modern investigative work. Being a detective is all about how you interpret information and being able to see clues where others don’t, allowing you to see below the surface.

Society is changing. People demand better, for our communities, and from our police service. You want change: a real way to tackle the problems destroying people’s lives. By becoming a police detective, you can make this happen.

As a police detective, you’re the most critical support for victims of crime. What you choose to do will affect lives for generations to come. Whether driving change in the police service alongside dedicated colleagues, or improving relations with the public, your work will change the future for the better. The challenge is great and so is the need for talented individuals to step up to protect society’s most vulnerable.

To be successful you will be tactical and resilient with natural leadership skills, focusing on working towards defined goals, rarely losing focus. The tenacity you bring to your role as a police detective will help you deliver on these key attributes. You’ll critically analyse information and collaborate with others, combining insight and evidence to define root causes of some of the UK’s most complex problems. Everything you do, you’ll be adaptive to change to remain impartial as situations change and be able to show compassion to the communities you serve, being a pillar to your local community.

By demonstrating a positive can-do attitude, you will view obstacles differently to everyone else – there to be tackled head-on rather than used as an excuse to give up. You’ll be a leader in your community and will quickly become an instrumental member of the police service, solving crimes and working towards making our communities safer places to live, for generations to come.

We develop leaders. Future decision makers in policing have emerged from our programmes. This could be you. Our programmes develop the skills you need to inspire and activate change, within your force and within communities.

Whatever your ambitions, the National Detective Programme will empower you to succeed. You can rise up the ranks, specialise in a specific area of policing that interests you, developing skills that will last you throughout your career, wherever it may take you. Through your training, you’ll be comfortable with making big decisions, with getting cooperation from those around you, and taking personal responsibility for making change happen.

Whether you aim to be a senior leader in policing, a specialist in specific types of crimes or units, a leader in your team, or an agent of change within your force internally, you’ll have the skills and development training to make this happen.

Bedfordshire Police

Bedfordshire Police serves one of the country’s smallest counties at just 447 square miles and 664,500 people, yet Bedfordshire has one of the most diverse populations in England and faces complex crime challenges usually seen in large cities.

More than half of Bedfordshire’s residents live in its largest towns Luton and Bedford which have diverse and often transient communities, alongside smaller market towns and rural parishes.

Despite being relatively small in size, Bedfordshire, which is home to the UK’s fifth busiest airport, London Luton Airport and has the M1 and A1 running through the county, experiences a complex mix of serious crimes, volume crime, drugs, gangs and terrorism threats.

To prevent crime by early intervention and problem-solving before issues escalate, the Bedfordshire Police force is pushing to reintroduce a community policing model to engage with residents.

Alongside local issues, policing nationally faces new and emerging crime such as cyber-crime, child sexual exploitation and ‘county line’ drug supply and associated criminality.


You don’t need any previous policing knowledge or experience, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve never previously considered a career in policing, but you must have a degree before you start the programme. We’re looking for people with the potential to become the next generation of police detectives, representing the diversity of the communities you will serve.

To meet College of Policing eligible criteria, you will:

  • be over 17 years of age or older on application, (and 18 by the time of appointment)
  • be a British citizen, a citizen of a country that is a member of the European Economic Area or Switzerland, or a Commonwealth citizen or foreign national who is resident in the UK and free from restrictions
  • have been resident in the UK for the past three years (some exemptions allowed)
  • not currently be registered as bankrupt (or have bankruptcy debts that have been discharged within the past three years)
  • not have existing county court judgements outstanding against them
  • not be a current or previous member of a proscribed terrorist organisation or group
  • not plan to take an active role in politics once in role
  • be sufficiently competent in written and spoken English and numeracy (assessed through the selection process)

To meet Police Now eligibility criteria, you will also:

  • hold at least one UK level 3 qualification in any subject, or non-UK equivalent
  • hold a 2.1 or above undergraduate degree from a UK university, or equivalent from a non-UK university, in any subject, by programme start date
  • have completed all education by programme start date
  • have not undertaken the College of Policing-licensed pre-join degree in Professional Policing Practice
  • have not previously attested, trained or been employed as a police constable
  • not have a current application for another police constable role outside of Police Now

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South East

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