Entry Routes

Date published: 11 November 2022 14:54

How is entry changing for new police officers?

Entry in to the police service is changing and 2020 will see South Yorkshire Police introduce new entry routes including the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) and the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP).

Police officers make difficult decisions, which impact the public every day.  They face complex problems, often in dangerous situations, with growing demands from digital investigation and vulnerable people.  These new entry routes will help develop vital competencies in new officers, equipping them with the skills and understanding of areas critical for policing in the modern world, including cybercrime and dealing with vulnerable people.

What are the new entry routes?

  1. Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA)

The PCDA will take three years to complete and combines on-the-job learning alongside academic theory and knowledge.  As a degree apprentice, you will be a police officer from day one and will spend three years as a probationer.  On successfully finishing the programme, you will have completed your probation and achieve your degree - BA Hon Professional Policing Practice.

  1. Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) - Police Constable or Detective

The DHEP will take two years to complete and combines a work based programme, supported by off the job learning.  This programme is aimed at degree-holders, attained in any subject area.  From day one, you will be a police officer and will spend two years as a probationer.  On successfully finishing the programme you will have completed your probation and achieve a graduate diploma in Professional Policing Practice.

  1. Pre-Join Degree

If you want to study first, you can undertake a three-year degree in Professional Policing Practice at your own expense and then apply to become a police officer.  During your three-year degree course, there may be an option to join as a Special Constable.  From day one, you will be a police officer and will follow a shorter on-the-job training programme.

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

All routes into policing at South Yorkshire Police will now incorporate formal study to Level 6 or higher.

Do I have to attend university for lectures?

As a student at Sheffield Hallam University academic learning will be through a broad range of methods including attendance at Sheffield Hallam University, online learning, and workshops. You will have access to all the facilities on City and Collegiate campus.

How often will I have to study?

The student officer programme requires a minimum of 20 per cent off the job learning, which will be in work time.  You will probably study in your own time too.

Is the degree free or do I have to pay part of it?

This is an apprenticeship, so all tuition costs are met through South Yorkshire Police’s apprenticeship levy funds.

Will I have to study for exams?

Yes, there will be exams as part of the assessment of the course.  There are other types of assessment including: -

  • Coursework
  • Essays
  • Self-Reflection
  • Poster
  • Presentations

Can I still do part time work while I am studying?

You will be working as a full time officer with the requirement to undertake study, so you should seriously consider your options.  Not all part time work is allowed as a police officer and you would need to submit a business interest if you wish to undertake part time work outside of your role as a police officer.

I am not academic.  Will I be supported to complete coursework?

The apprenticeship is based on demonstrating your skills on the job, as well as academic achievement.  You will have to complete assignment work, but will be fully supported in this.

How will I be expected to learn policing and the law on the job?

You will undertake some off the job learning prior to entering the workplace.  Once in the workplace, you will apply and develop that learning supported by your workplace coach, colleagues and line manager. You will also be supported by Sheffield Hallam University throughout your course by a team of academic and university support staff.

Do I have to apply for a university place separately to the police application?

No, you apply to South Yorkshire Police and we will work with Sheffield Hallam University to enroll you as a student.

Can I choose which university I go to?

Not for the DHEP and PCDA routes, we will be working closely with Sheffield Hallam University. Should you choose the pre-join degree route, you can select the university of your choice.

What is the timeline?  

You will apply to South Yorkshire Police and then go through the same tests, assessments, medical checks and vetting processes as all of our police officers have done.  This is to check that you are eligible and have the capabilities, qualities and fitness required of a serving officer.