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New routes into policing

The recruitment and training process for police officers in Cambridgeshire has changed and we are operating the 'Policing Education Qualifications Framework' (PEQF) in partnership with Anglia Ruskin University.

Police officer speaking to public

We are now recruiting for police officers through our Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) and our Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA).

The DHEP allows the conversion of a degree into a graduate diploma in Professional Policing Practice, while the PCDA involves studying a fully-funded degree apprenticeship.

Apply for DHEP or PCDA.

Joining us

The new entry requirements to policing mean all joining officers have a degree level qualification. This does not mean you need a degree to join as a student officer as we will be offering new routes to prepare student officers for the police constable role.

The new routes are:

This new approach to recruitment and training is part of PEQF, which aims to introduce a national standard level of education and training within the police service which reflects the current and future challenges we face.

You will be able to earn while you learn, study for a fully-funded degree with Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) (opens in new window) and receive operational training. If you do not have A-levels, then career experience in certain areas and time as a Special Constable can be used instead (see below).


The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA)

This is a great opportunity for those who have not studied at a degree level to be entered onto a three-year degree apprenticeship which involves a combination of in class learning and on the job experience. A modern degree-based education is no longer purely academic, there is now a strong emphasis on the development and application of professional practice in the workplace which this route provides.

The tuition fees for the degree will be covered by the force, you will also receive a salary of £24,780 upon joining, increasing to £25,902 after your first 12 months. Essentially you will earn while you learn and by the end of your probationary period you would have achieved a degree whilst also being paid a competitive salary. We welcome applications from all backgrounds and this opportunity is open to all who do not have a degree.

The entry requirements for PCDA are GCSE maths and English (grade 4/C or above) or Level 2 Functional Skills in Literacy and Numeracy (undertaken in England) and 2x Level 3 qualifications equivalent to UCAS points of 64+ (i.e. 2 x A level grade C, BTEC MPP/MM or equivalent) and these must be evidenced with valid certificates.

For candidates that don't have A levels or equivalent at the grades mentioned above, but have between 32 and 63 UCAS points and with two years relevant experience in the following areas (or four years in the armed forces), we will ask you to complete an online assessment and have a further discussion with you.

Armed Forces (four years), Nursing / care sector, Social work, Youth work, Charity work, Teaching, Experience in the justice and law enforcement sectors, Police staff - particularly custody, public contact/demand hub/enquiry office roles, investigative roles, PSCO or Special, criminal justice sector, CPS, courts, Border Force, Prison Service, relevant local authority experience which has involved close and sustained working with police, experience of emergency services - ambulance/fire, experience of cyber/digital and financial fraud/crimes, roles which have focused on promotion of equality of opportunity and inclusion.

If you are interested in finding out more information regarding adult education please visit improve your English, maths and IT skills - GOV.UK 

For more on qualifications support see the section below.


The Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP)

This opportunity is aimed towards those who already hold a degree in any subject except for a degree in policing. It is a two-year programme which allows for a conversion of your degree to a graduate diploma in Professional Policing Practice.

These two years will also count as your probationary period as a student officer and after the two years you will graduate from both the diploma and your probation. You will also start on a competitive salary of £24,780 alongside an excellent range of employee benefits and support networks.

This opportunity is open to all who hold a degree and is not just limited to recent graduates.


Pre-join Degree

The Pre-join BSc (Hons) Professional Policing Degree is for those who choose to complete the degree at a Higher Education Institution of their choosing, at their own cost. 

Candidates recruited via this route will also undertake academic and practice-based training to develop specific skills, assessed against national assessment criteria and operational competence. To be successful you will need to meet our minimum entry requirements and demonstrate a passion and commitment to providing a first-class policing service to our communities.

If you are interested in these routes to policing and would like to be the first to hear when applications are open please complete this form and email to


Qualifications Support

If you do not hold the relevant qualifications or experience, do not let this deter you in becoming a police officer. Please find some guidance below to support you in obtaining the qualifications or support you need.

Level 2 Qualifications

It is a requirement for all apprenticeship applicants to have ESFA (Education and Skills Funding Agency) approved Level 2 maths and English qualifications before the start of the course.

Level 2 Functional Skills qualifications are recognised as a GCSE equivalent, and are accepted by the ESFA to meet degree apprenticeship requirements. Functional Skills in English and/or maths are available through some further education colleges or adult education providers and can be researched locally.

Alternatively, they can be taken with online providers, such as

Depending on the Level 2 provider, you may be required to undertake a diagnostic test to determine your current level and whether you need to follow a course of learning, or if you are already at the right level to take the exam. There may be a cost involved for the course and/or the exam.

It is important that you ensure the qualification is Functional Skills Level 2.

Level 3 Qualifications

It is a requirement for apprenticeship applicants to have approved Level 3 qualifications, which equate to 64 or more UCAS points.  You may find it useful to follow this link to the UCAS tariff point calculator. If your equivalency is a Level 3 not listed within the calculator then Anglia Ruskin will be able to determine your points.

Points can be accrued through various Level 3 qualification types which include; A Levels, NVQ Level 3 and BTECs. If you are unsure on which qualifications equate to which level please consult the following government site: GOV.UK - what different qualifications mean

Should you wish to undertake Level 3 qualifications there are a number of providers including:

Or you can research your further education local colleges who are likely to provide the courses you require.  All courses you embark on will be at your own expense.

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