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The police service is changing the way new police officer recruits can enter the service. From September 2019, in Hampshire there will be three ways to join as a police officer, which are detailed below: 

Entry Route 1 – Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) – Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship 

This sees a new officer recruited (potentially with no previous qualifications) and entered on to a three-year degree course. The probation period will be three years. Those who already have a degree are able to enter via this route as well, although they will most likely enter the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) as detailed below.

Constables under this apprenticeship are employed (as crown servants) from the day they start and the degree apprenticeship will be fully funded by the police force. At the current time, we are not in a position to advise what the starting salary will be for a PC apprentice.

PCDA students will be given time to complete work required as part of the three-year degree course. Their probationary period will include tutoring and attachments to different areas of policing. Decisions around apprenticeship salaries have not yet been confirmed.

Both the academic requirements and the occupational competence need to be achieved in order to successfully be confirmed in rank and remain employed as a police officer. Officers will achieve a Degree in Professional Policing Practice.

Entry Route 2 – Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) – Level 6 Graduate Certificate in Professional Policing Practice

This is where a student officer already has a degree in any subject. They will enter the constabulary and be paid in the same way as any other student officer, but will only complete a two-year probation.

This entry route will see student officers working towards and achieving a Level 6 Certificate in Professional Policing Practice, which will be fully funded by the police force. As with the PCDA, appropriate learning time will be provided by the force to achieve this qualification. The two-year probationary period will include tutoring and attachments to different areas of policing.

The student officer will need to successfully achieve operational competence and the academic qualification, as with the PCDA.

Entry Route 3 – Pre-join Degree in Professional Policing

This route sees a potential recruit to the police service paying for their own degree – courses are likely to be available at universities offering this subject area in 2019. This is a brand-new course that is underpinned by the single National Police Curriculum. Any other courses, such as degrees in criminology, law and police science, will not be recognised under this entry route and applicants studying for such degrees will enter under the DHEP or, potentially, the PCDA.

On completion of their degree in Professional Policing, potential recruits will have to apply to join in the normal way. During their three-year degree course, there may be an option in some forces of applying to become a Special constable, which would include 10 weeks’ solid tutoring by their local force in order to achieve Independent Patrol Status. In Hampshire, no decision has been taken as to whether we will participate in this option.

If students successfully apply to a force and were a Special as part of their degree course, on joining they will enter into a two-year probationary period, but it is anticipated that the amount of training needed will be significantly less than the DHEP and PCDA routes. Students entering under the pre-join route will not be required to achieve a further qualification, unlike the other two entry routes, and they will be under a two-year probationary period. The pre-join degree has a “shelf-life” of five years. After this time, students would enter under the DHEP (or possibly even under the PCDA).

Current plans

Hampshire Constabulary is aiming to begin recruiting officers under either or both the PCDA and DHEP in late 2019, subject to vacancies. Students undertaking the Pre-join Degree in Professional Policing will not be in a position to apply until 2022.

We are also looking at other apprenticeship opportunities within the constabulary. We are hoping to offer apprenticeships in some police staff roles during the latter part of 2018 and we will advertise these posts accordingly on


We will be in a position to provide further details about our apprenticeships and advertise opportunities on when they become available, later in the year.