We are currently accepting applications for our Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA). If this is the career for you please apply now.
Join as a Police Officer and achieve a BSc (Hons) degree in Professional Policing Practice, fully funded by Sussex Police.
This is an exciting three year, practical and vocational degree which will equip you with the skills and experience you need to meet the demands of modern policing. You will be employed as a Police Officer from day one and receive a starting salary of £28,182, which includes £1,500 South East allowance (from 1 September 2022). South East allowance is due to increase to £2,000 from 1 October 2022.
The course combines practical “on the job” training with academic learning, allowing you to ‘earn while you learn’ without any student debt.
PC Reece Simmons joined Sussex Police in March 2020 through the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) programme. He’s undertaking three years of study, whilst carrying out operational work, and is currently based in Uckfield, working on a response unit.
On his first shift on response within the coaching unit, he was the arresting officer in a domestic incident involving a vulnerable person. An adult male had assaulted his elderly mother and father while drunk. He had to draw on the knowledge he had gained from his classroom learning, to make careful decisions about the best way to approach the situation, and eventually arrested the man, whilst putting various safeguarding support in place.
“I’ve never been somebody who would want to be behind a desk all day, I like to be out experiencing new things. I found that within the military but even more so in the police. It’s very exciting – you never know what each day will bring, but it’s rewarding at the same time.
“My time on response has been overwhelming and difficult at times, but satisfying, exciting and enjoyable throughout. I can honestly say I've loved every second of it.”
We are only as good as our people. It's really important to us that our officers and staff can be themselves in the workplace and we believe that as an organisation we'll benefit from the variety of thinking, approaches and skills which diversity can bring; all of which helps us to deliver a better policing service.
We have worked hard to create a safe, open and inclusive culture. To find out more visit our Inclusion page.
Being a police officer is one of the most personally rewarding, challenging and diverse careers available to you. It’s a vital role and offers a great sense of pride from helping and protecting those within our community. The public face of Sussex Police, you will ensure we’re fulfilling our commitment to protecting our communities, catching criminals and delivering an outstanding service to victims, witnesses and the public.
You need to be prepared for anything. Which is why we have introduced this new entry route into policing; providing you with the skills and capabilities to be a successful police officer in the ever-changing environment. You must therefore be willing and able to meet the academic demands and deadlines throughout the two year programme. You will be supported by Sussex Police and the University and 20% of your work time will be allocated as protected learning time. Enabling you to study, attend master classes and complete assignments and projects.
You’ll need to be compassionate and confident yet calm with the judgment to make quick decisions, ask the right questions to gauge the situation in front of you and respond appropriately. It’s not all 'blues-and-twos'; building strong relationships with the public, victims, witnesses and suspects are also critical so being a good communicator, listener and empathic are all vital too. You’ll face some of the most difficult situations you can think of, and some of the most interesting. Finding the balance is key and being able to separate emotion from fact can often be challenging; however, you will always be supported – we are a family.
From being the first on the scene or arresting an abuser to being a shoulder to cry on and a reassuring face. Tracking down known criminals to the sensitive delivery of difficult news; you’ll be the person everyone looks to for help and guidance. This role is thrilling yet constantly challenging. You’ll work in a fast-paced 24/7 environment where no two shifts will be the same. Police officers typically work 40 hours per week, in shifts, including weekends and bank holidays. Our response officers work a rotating shift pattern on the following schedule:
Two early shifts
Two late shifts
Two night shifts
One study day
3 rest days
This shift pattern will only be in place until you have completed your probation period at which point you will join your colleagues on their regular shift pattern of 6 working shifts and 4 rest days. It is purely to enhance your probation period and give you the best opportunity for learning whilst you are on your programme.
We also recognise the benefits of flexible working and are committed to equality of opportunity and the promotion of work-life balance. We will support opportunities for flexible working within the organisation where practical and suitable to promote a work-life balance and enable the recruitment and retention of a workforce which is representative of the diverse communities we serve. The initial training will be full time for a minimum of 30 weeks. After successful completion of training and flexible working request can be submitted. Each application for flexible working will be assessed and determined on its own merits, taking into account the needs of the individual balanced with the operational requirements of the force.
Most importantly, you’ll simply want to make a difference.
To apply for the role you must:
Be aged 17 or over (on the day you submit your application). You will need to be 18 years or over by your first day.
Have been a UK resident for the past three years.
Be a British or Commonwealth citizen, or an EC/European Economic Area national, or a foreign national whose stay in the UK is unrestricted.
Have a full UK manual driving licence (by the time of appointment).
Not have six penalty points or more on your driving licence.
Be prepared to work shifts including nights, weekends and bank holidays.
Not have tattoos which could cause offence.
Not be registered bankrupt (or have bankruptcy debts that have been discharged within the past three years).
Not be a current or previous member of a proscribed terrorist organisation or group.
To be considered for entry to the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship, applicants must provide copies of the following qualifications:
One A Level Grade A*-C or Level 3 equivalent and one A Level Grade A*-E, or AS Level in a different subject, or Level 3 equivalent. You must have a minimum overall of 48 UCAS points. (you can check how many points your qualification is worth on the UCAS tariff calculator). Or a Certificate in Knowledge of Policing.
You must also hold GCSE Grade A*-C/4-9 or Level 2 functional skills in both Maths and English or education equivalent at point of application.
Applicants who are in their final year of studying towards Level 3 qualifications can apply with predicated grades. You will be asked to provide proof of their qualifications when you receive your results in August. Applicants finishing in 2023 can apply with predicted grades.
Applicants can also hold a Level 3 BTEC as long as this qualification, or combination of qualifications meets the minimum 48 UCAS Tariff Points. You can check how many points your qualification is worth on the UCAS tariff calculator.
Applicants without Level 3 qualifications can be considered if you have served in an emergency services role, military, armed forces or similar law enforcement agency considered to be operational by Sussex Police for a minimum of 2 years within the past 5 years and have an exemplary reference.
Applicants who do not hit the above Level 3 criteria, believe they have current experience equivalent to a Level 3 qualification, and feel they could take on the challenge of degree-level study alongside working as a police officer, will be assessed on a case-by-case basis so please apply.
Applicants that are in their final year of study, can apply with predicated grades. Applicants will be asked to provide proof of their qualifications when they receive their results in August.
You will be required to upload and attach your relevant Level 3, Level 2 or equivalent certificates to your application when you apply.
I haven’t got my qualification certificates – am I still eligible?
We need to see evidence, so you will need to request a certificate from your exam board. You can find more information here on gov.uk. If you have completed your qualification in the last few years we may well be able to check your Personal Learning Record (PLR), please contact the recruitment team on [email protected] and we can discuss this with you further.
I haven’t received my formal certificates yet due to the delay from the pandemic, can I apply?
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are aware that there have been some delays in exam boards sending certificates. As a temporary measure, we will therefore accept statements of results if they are on headed paper. You will be required to send through certificates at a later date.
I am currently studying can I still apply?
Applicants in their final year of study can apply. You will need to upload a copy of your predicated grades when you apply.
Does the grade of my level 3 qualification matter?
You will need to have one Level 3 at grade A* - C or equivalent as well as one Level 3 at grade A* - E or equivalent. The two Level 3’s when added together must be a minimum of 48 UCAS points. You can find out how much your qualification is worth using the UCAS Tariff Calculator.
Does the subject of my Level 3 or above matter?
No – we can accept Level 3s or above in any subject.
I haven’t got a level 2 Maths/English qualification at A*-C/4-9 or equivalent, what can I do to get it?
I have a qualification from another country – will it still count?
You’ll need to provide evidence that your qualification is equivalent to or higher than the qualification(s) that are required for the appropriate entry route. For the UK and European countries you can check on the gov.uk website.
The application process consists of several stages and it’s important to note that because of this, the average time from application to appointment is between 8–10 months.
Sussex Police has introduced a new online assessment process during the Covid-19 pandemic. Our national recruitment standards are maintained, and in the coming months this will continually be reviewed. During the current climate the following stages apply:
Stage One: Application form
Your personal details will be checked and that all eligibility criteria has been met.
Stage Two: National sift involving Behavioural Style Questionnaire (BSQ) And Situational Judgement Test (SJT)
A multiple-choice assessment, which will assess whether you have the right behavioural traits to work as a Police Constable.
Medical: you will be required to complete a questionnaire with your medical history.
Biometric Vetting: we will take your fingerprints, DNA, and check them against the appropriate database.
Substance Misuse: We will also collect a sample of hair to test for the presence of inappropriate substances.
Vetting: this will assess you and your families’ criminal record, financial status and business interests.
If you would like some helpful tips for the Assessment Centre click here
You are strongly advised not to hand your notice into your current employer until you have received your Formal Offer. Successful candidates will receive their Formal Offer of Employment once all pre-employment checks have been successfully completed and an intake date confirmed.
Throughout your three year apprenticeship degree programme, you will be supported by our in-house learning and professional development team.
Police officers make challenging decisions which impact the public every day. They face complex issues, often in dangerous situation, with growing demands from digital investigation and vulnerable individuals. The existing recruit training programme wasn’t designed with these demands in mind. This new entry route recognises constables operate at a level where they take personal responsibility for decisions in complex, unpredictable environments and help provide the skills and capabilities necessary for policing in the 21st Century.
Year 1 - In Year 1 you will develop your core operational policing skills though a mixture of classroom and on the job learning. The initial learning phase of the course is held at our Headquarters in Sussex for 15 weeks. You will then be partnered with an experienced Police Officer who will be your dedicated coach for the next 20 weeks. Independent Patrol Status will also be achieved, enabling you to respond to incidents by yourself - but don’t worry as you will be continually supported throughout!
Year 2 – In Year 2 you will consolidate your work-based learning through master classes and assignments. You will also have the exciting opportunity to complete operational attachments.
Year 3 – In Year 3 you will have the chance to specialise in a particular area and will complete a research-based project in an area of practical policing that interests you.
Throughout the three years you will study a range of topics including community policing, vulnerability and criminology, and then apply these skills practically in your role as a Police Officer.
All learning is delivered in partnership with Sussex Police and the University. 20% of your work time will be allocated as protected learning time, enabling you to study, complete assignments or meet with force or university tutors.
When you join Sussex Police, you can expect a career with variety, diversity, challenges, rewards and now, a professional qualification. You’ll be a key figure on the front line, a vital job that matters to the public but also matters to us.
We will give you:
A starting salary of £28,182, which includes £1,500 South East allowance (from 1 September 2022), with the potential to rise to £43,032 within the first seven years.
Fully-funded professional qualification – a Degree in Professional Policing Practice.
22 days per year annual leave, rising to 30 days (based on a working day of 7.4 hours) a year depending on your length of service.
Opportunity to progress through the ranks and/or specialise in an area of policing that interests you most.
A competitive benefits package including:
Highly competitive pension scheme.
An employee assistance programme for advice and counselling.
Access to discounts, savings and cash back rewards.
Progressive approach to flexible working, enhanced maternity and paternity leave and potential for a career break (after two years’ service).Opportunities to join various support networks, staff associations and sports club. To support your health and wellbeing we have excellent welfare services including employee assistance program, chaplaincy support and mental health first aiders who offer in-house service to support you mental health and wellbeing when you need it. Diffusers also offer post incident trauma support.
Sussex Police has a number of staff support networks, Unison support and advice for members, Sussex Police Federation and Sussex Police Charitable Trust who offer a helping hand to Sussex Police officers, staff, special constables, pensioners and dependent family members in their hour of need. We have on-site gyms and a range of sports clubs, all of which aim to promote health, friendship and fun amongst police officers and staff. With 30-plus activities to choose from there’s something for everyone, irrespective of age, rank, experience or sporting ability.
If you have passed the National Assessment Centre (SEARCH, Day One or Online) in the past 24 months, you may be able to transfer your score to Sussex Police for the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship.
We can accept scores of 50% and higher for SEARCH, 55% or higher for Day One and a pass for the Online Assessment. Scores are valid for 24 months from the date of your assessment centre.
To transfer your score, please send a copy of your assessment report to [email protected]
You can request your assessment report from the force at which it was undertaken.
I don’t have copies of my qualifications, what can I do?
You will need to provide copies of your qualifications or predicted grades when you apply. We can accept statement of results but you will need to provide copies of the original certificates before being invited to an assessment centre. If you are unable to locate your certificates, Gov.uk can provide information on how to request duplicates or an accepted ‘certified statement of results’. We will be unable to able to allocate you to a course until we have received your certificates.
I don’t have a level 2 qualification in English and Maths, what can I do?
If you are on the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship, the requirements of the Education for Skills and Funding Agency requires all apprenticeships to have a level 2 in Maths and English at point of application. You can obtain this through a training provider and the Government will fund functional English and Maths for you.
I’m not a British Citizen, can I still apply?
You can as long as you are an EEA National or a Swiss National. Commonwealth Citizens and Foreign Nationals are required to have leave to enter or leave to remain in the UK for an indefinite period and unrestricted permission to work in the UK.
Can I apply without a driving licence?
Yes. You do not need a driving licence to apply. However you will need to have a full UK manual driving licence for us to offer you a start date so start taking those lessons.
I have motoring offence, can I apply?
We assess motoring offences on an individual basis. However, if you have more than six penalty points you will not be eligible to apply to join Sussex Police as a Police Officer.
If I have a disability, can I still apply?
Yes. We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you consider yourself to have a disability, please inform us within your application form of the type of reasonable adjustments you might need to assist you in participating in the recruitment and selection process. We will make these wherever we can.
Is there a height restriction?
No, there is no minimum or maximum height restriction.
Why are you running online assessment centres?
The College of Policing has introduced a new online assessment process during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consisting of a three stage process, this approach ensures our national recruitment standards are maintained. We will be reviewing this in the coming months and you will be advised should the approach change. Further information on assessment centres.
I have attended the National Assessment Centre before and failed. Can I apply and take it again?
If you have attended the National Assessment Centre before and failed you will be able to reapply after six months. If it was between three and six months ago, you may be able to reapply, depending on your assessment centre scores. Please contact the Recruitment Team for clarification via email.
I have recently passed the National Assessment Centre while applying to join another force. Can these results be used in my application to Sussex Police?
Yes, as long as you undertook the full assessment, reached our required pass mark and have passed in the last 12 months. You can by-pass the online tests and be put through to the in-house force interview for the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship. If you wish to transfer results, please contact the recruitment team [email protected]
I have a medical condition, is that an issue?
Every candidate is individually assessed. Those with pre-existing medical conditions may be asked to provide additional medical evidence to support their application. The below acts as a mere guide to answer your initial questions.
Asthma - You will be individually assessed. Individuals with asthma that is well controlled with inhalers are usually acceptable.
Diabetes - Your blood-sugar levels need to be well controlled and you need to be able to adapt to the demands of the job such as varying shifts and meal times. You will be asked to provide evidence that your diabetes is well controlled.
Epilepsy - It is recommended that you have not experienced a seizure for at least 18 months (with or without medication) before you apply and have a full driving license
Stress, Anxiety or Depression - These roles are front-line and public facing, requiring the ability to deal with the public in a wide range of situations as well as exposing you to potentially upsetting incidents. A high level of emotional resilience is required to undertake this work. It is recommended that you have been stable and well for at least 1 year before you apply.
Dyslexia - We are able to support reasonable adjustments if you have a report confirming your condition. For police officers this report must be carried out as an adult. Support is available during training and in the workplace.
Severe Allergy - Most allergies are compatible with these roles, but if you have a severe allergy (including a history of collapse or breathing difficulties) we may require further information to establish your fitness for role.
Any type of blood clotting disorder which requires medication such as Warfarin - We may require further information to establish your fitness for role.
What does the medical involve?
To ensure you are fit for the role we ask you to undergo a fitness test and an individual medical assessment. Your medical assessment will take place with the Sussex Police Occupational Health and Wellbeing Service under strict confidence. Disabilities will be assessed taking into account the Equality Act 2010 and recommendations regarding reasonable adjustments made where appropriate. If you have a health problem, or recently had a lot of time off, we may need to see a copy of any relevant medical records, such as specialist reports, test results or a note from your doctor. You will not be able to proceed until we have received your GP report and optician test results
I wear glasses/contact lenses, can I apply?
A general level of eyesight is required to ensure you are able to carry out your role safely while driving police vehicles, taking accurate statements and relaying evidence in court. DVLA guidelines apply together with eyesight standards from the College of Policing. Corrected distance visual acuity must be 6/12 in the better eye and 6/6 or better binocularly. A field-of-view of at least 120 degrees horizontally by 100 degrees vertically is required. Those with monocular vision should be able to reach the visual field requirements and 6/6 corrected vision in their eye and be subject to a risk assessment by the organisation. Corrected near static visual acuity must be 6/9 or better binocularly. Glasses and contact lenses are both acceptable. Seeing a qualified optician every few years is a good way to ensure your eyes are healthy. For Police Constables we ask you to see a qualified optician prior to your medical appointment.
I am colour blind, can I apply?
Mild colour vision deficiencies are not generally a problem but you might not be able to progress into some specialist roles, such as roads policing officer or Taser/firearms officer. Unfortunately, if your colour vision deficiency is monochrome you are not eligible to apply.
What if I have hearing issues?
A good level of hearing is required to ensure you are able to carry out your role safely, to be able to document and relay what you have heard in a potentially crowded and noisy environment whilst also listening to your personal radio. Each ear individually for low frequencies (0.5+1+2) should be below 84 dB and for high frequencies (3+4+ 6) below 123 dB. Hearing aids are acceptable as long as they correct your hearing to adequate levels. Ensure you protect your ears from loud noise, e.g. when listening to music either live or through headphones or when riding a motorbike but also if you work in an environment that exposes you to loud noise such as drills or firearms. Avoid exposure to loud noise and flying the days prior to your medical.
Is there a specific weight/BMI I need to be?
Being overweight affects your overall health and puts you at increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. It can also affect your joints and might make it harder for you to achieve the fitness levels required for your role. Equally, being underweight can mean that you lack muscle mass to ensure adequate fitness levels. During your medical appointment your BMI will be calculated and used as a guide to assess your health risks and fitness levels. A BMI in the healthy to overweight range is desirable, if your BMI is above 30 for PCs we will also assess your body composition and you might be deferred unless your body fat percentage is below 30% for men or 36% for women. Your best option is to ensure a healthy balanced diet and regular moderate exercise to ensure your own personal health and wellbeing as well as fitness for your role in policing. Check your BMI at www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight and assess your diet with the ‘eatwell plate guide’ www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-eatwell-guide.
What does substance misuse testing entail?
We will invite you in to attend an appointment where we will collect a sample of hair of approximately 50 to 100 strands from the crown of the head to test for the presence of inappropriate substances.
I’m nervous about the fitness test.
We understand that some people may feel nervous when it comes to the fitness test, however you don’t need to be a professional athlete to succeed.
What does vetting mean?
We will carry out security checks on you and your:
Children/children of your partner (only those aged 10 years and over).
Any other adult living at your address.
Social media accounts.
I have a relative who has convictions, can I apply?
If your friends or family members have criminal convictions, you must disclose this when asked on your vetting application. Your application will not be automatically rejected and consideration will be given on a case-by-case basis.
Can I still apply if I have a criminal record?
Applications will be rejected in all cases where:
Offences were committed as an adult or juvenile which resulted in a prison sentence (including custodial, suspended or deferred sentence and sentences served at a young offenders’ institution or community home)
The applicant is a registered sex offender or is subject to a registration requirement in respect of any other conviction.
For all other convictions or cautions, there is a rebuttable presumption that they should be rejected. In particular, the following would result in rejection: offences where vulnerable people were targeted; offences motivated by hate or discrimination; domestic abuse offences. Although the rebuttable presumption is that these should lead to rejection, there will be cases where this may be disproportionate in the circumstances. For instance, where the offence was committed as a juvenile, it was not serious and the individual has demonstrated a commitment to help individuals or communities in the subsequent years. In these cases, vetting acceptable may be justified.
Do I have to declare if I was arrested but not charged?
Yes. You must declare if you have ever been subject to a criminal investigation whether or not this led to a prosecution. Failure to make such declarations will lead to your application being rejected.
I’ve been bankrupt, can I apply?
You can still apply, but only if it is three years after bankruptcy debts have been discharged.
How about County Court Judgments (CCJ)?
If the judgment has been discharged then you can be considered however if you have an existing judgment your application will be unsuccessful.
I have an Independent Voluntary Agreement (IVA), can I apply?
Applicants with current IVA’s will be considered. However, you will be required to show that there is an IVA repayment plan in place and that you’ve maintained regular payments over a significant number of months.
Can I continue with my other business?
You must declare any other employment for hire or gain or any other business interests that you intend to maintain. A decision on whether it is considered that your business interests are compatible with performing the role of police officer will be made on the basis of the information you provide during application.
Do you ask for references?
We may send reference requests to all your previous employers in the past three years. If you haven’t been employed for three years, we may ask for a character reference or an educational reference.
Do I need a degree to apply to be a police officer?
No, you do not need a degree. The College of Policing have reviewed the curriculum and found that the knowledge, skills and experience required for the role of a police officer meets the same standard as a degree (equivalent to a Level 6 qualification) which is why they’ve introduced the new entry routes.
I have already completed a Certificate in Knowledge of Policing (CKP) with an external provider, does this make any difference to the process?
No, however this is a Level 3 qualification and therefore contributes towards our qualification criteria.
With the new entry routes, do I need to pay for the qualifications?
No. We will pay for your degree and instead you will earn while you learn. All we ask is that you complete your probationary period which is three years for the PCDA.
Will I be expected to go to University?
No. All training will be delivered locally by a combination of police staff trainers and University staff. Regional webinars will be conducted enabling Q&As in relation to the coursework from the University, working towards the degree.
How can I contact you if I have more questions?
If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact us via email at [email protected].