The Metropolitan Police is the largest police force in the UK, and one of the most respected law enforcement organisations in the world. If you are familiar with the Met, then you’ll be aware that they operate under a highly organised and structured rank system. One of these ranks, is Detective Constable. In this blog, we’ll give you some information on how you can apply to become a Detective Constable, through the Detective Constable Direct Entry programme.
What is Detective Constable Direct Entry?
Direct Entry is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a way of directly entering the police as a detective constable. Usually, you would need to gain a few years of experience with the police in order to progress up to this rank. However, now the police are offering talented candidates the chance to enter the force at this rank, and then progress from there.
If you are successful in applying for Direct Entry, you’ll start out as a trainee detective constable, under a two-year probationary period. The training will be suitably intense, with visits to operational police facilities and working within Criminal Investigation units. During your two-year period, you’ll need to complete the National Investigators Exam, and a Detective training course. Once the two-year period is up, you will be granted the rank of Detective Constable, and assigned the rank of Detective Constable.
Whilst working as a trainee, you’ll be assigned cases such as burglary, hate crime, sexual assault and fraud. Initially you’ll start with smaller crimes, before working your way up to serious issues.
Now, let’s look at the application process a little more closely.
Stage 1: Application Form
The first stage of the process is to fill in an online application form. In this form, you’ll need to fill in a series of personal questions, as well filling in eligibility style questions – based on factors such as your age, past work history, education and any previous convictions. This is pretty simple to fill out. At the end of the form you will be asked 4 competency based questions – and you’ll be given 200 words to answer each. When answering these questions, you need to be concise and focused. Make sure you clearly explain the situation, using the STAR method, and explain how your actions resolved it.
Stage 2: Online Verbal Reasoning Test
The second stage is for candidates to complete an online verbal reasoning assessment. In this assessment, you will need to read a passage, which will be followed by a number of statements. Your job is to decide whether each statement is True, False or Impossible To Say based on the information given in the passage. When answering the questions, you must focus ONLY on what is given in the passage. You cannot use real-world information when answering. There will be several passages in this assessment, and you will need to pass in order to move onto the next stage.
Stage 3: Regular Police Constable Assessment Centre
The third stage in the process is the Regular Police Assessment Centre. All Detective Constables have to go through this, as it’s just another part of the intense filtering process for Direct Entry. Remember, the police are looking for the elite candidates for Direct Entry. The regular police constable assessment centre consists of the following:
- A verbal reasoning test
- A numerical reasoning test
- Written exercises
- A competency-based interview
The regular police assessment uses the normal police constable core competencies, and not the Detective Constable Direct Entry competencies, so you’ll need to revise the former carefully before the centre!
Stage 4: Detective Constable Direct Entry Assessment Centre – Day 1
The next stage is the Detective Constable Assessment Centre. Here you’ll be seriously tested, and will need to pass a total of three assessments. The assessments are as follows:
The In-Tray Exercise will test your ability to prioritise information. You’ll be placed in the position of a new Detective Constable, and will be given a series of texts, emails and written reports regarding police-related matters. In the middle of the exercise, you’ll be given an extra set of information, which you will need to merge into your current report. At the end of the exercise, you will need to prioritise all of the issues that you’ve encountered – in the form of a written letter to your Chief Inspector.
Following the In-Tray, you’ll need to complete a Briefing Exercise. The Briefing exercise lasts for around 1 hour in total. You’ll likely be given 30 minutes before the exercise to prepare, and 30 minutes to complete the exercise itself. During the exercise, you will be asked to give a verbal presentation on the In-Tray exercise, to an inspector. Essentially, you will be physically describing all of the elements that you listed in your In-Tray report.
The presentation normally lasts for 30 minutes overall, with a period of 15 minutes dedicated to presenting and 15-minutes where you will be asked questions by your assessors (your “inspector”) based on what you’ve said. These questions will be focused around the topics that you’ve raised, and you’ll need to provide good quality answers to all of them in order to pass. You will be allowed to bring your report into the Briefing with you, but you’ll be judged based on how well you can present your ideas, so it’s essential that you can make the most of the planning stage.
Finally, you’ll finish Day 1 of the assessment centre with a competency-based interview. In this interview, you should expect to answer questions focused around the Detective Constable core competencies. This interview will be a little less rigid than the regular Police Constable interview, and you will have the opportunity to discuss things with the interviewers.
Stage 5: Detective Constable Direct Entry Assessment Centre – Day 2
Finally, you’ll be required to attend a day 2 assessment centre, where you will be required to take the bleep test, and be tested on medical elements such as eyesight, body fat, etc. Once you’ve passed this stage, the police will conduct further vetting – and after that you will join the Detective Constable Direct Entry course. Congratulations!