Metropolitan Police: Detective Constable Direct Entry

Working as a Detective Constable is rewarding but challenging

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.

Detective Constables have huge responsibility

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.

MET Police Recruitment UK Careers Seminar in London

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
  • Role-play
  • 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:

In-Tray Exercise

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.

Briefing Exercise

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.

Competency-Based Interview

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!

The Detective Constable Direct Entry process will test you to your limits

23 thoughts on “Metropolitan Police: Detective Constable Direct Entry

    • Joshua Brown says:

      Hi Sally,

      Thank you for your comment. We’d love to hear how your experience differed? We have guided a few applicants in the last month through the MET’s Detective Constable Direct Entry route and they have all had the process described in the blog. E.g.:

      1. Online Application Form
      2. Online Verbal Reasoning Tests
      3. Standard Police Constable ‘Day 1’ Assessment Centre
      4. Detective Constable Assessment Centre (In-Tray, Briefing Exercise, and Interview)

      The MET have started to use a new recruitment process for the standard police constable assessment centre now, which is currently being tweaked by them, so stay tuned for an update on that aspect.

      If your process did differ we’d love to hear more from you. Please feel free to contact us at: [email protected] or reply in the comments 🙂 If there is anything we can do to help you, please let us know!

  1. sally says:

    Day 1 – Verbal reasoning, maths. No other written exercises – which makes it differ from PC Day 1. 4 role-plays, interview, all the health assessments, drug testing etc. Day 2- bleep test, in-tray, briefing, further interview. The Met are not currently recruiting for this role, the application window finished last year.

    • Joshua Brown says:

      Hi Sally,

      Thanks for getting back and for your input, it’s always great to hear people’s experiences and it helps others. To our knowledge, the MET are actually removing the Verbal and Maths sections completely now and replacing them with the new PC assessment centre tests they have been piloting and also using updated core competencies, but the Day 2/DC Assessment days going forward will cover the same In-Tray, Briefing Exercise and Interview as outlined in this blog. As you experienced, the bleep test may also occur on this day. We will be updating this blog post with the new 2018 PC assessment process as well as launching a whole range of YouTube and blogs to assist soon! (It’s also probably worth noting for others applying to different services for DC direct entry that the process is likely to vary but remain similar (i.e. along the lines of PC Day 1 and DC assessment centre).

      Many thanks 🙂

  2. Jo says:

    Do you know if and when another round of recruitment is planned for this role. I’ve emailed to find out but haven’t received a reply.

    • Jacob Senior says:

      Hi Jo,

      We’ve had a lot of site visitors preparing for this role, and it seems as though recruitment is periodic. We recommend that you regularly check job posting boards for this role on the Met Police website to ensure that you spot it as soon as possible.

      Good luck with your application!

      The How2Become Team.

  3. Tom says:

    I’m currently going through the process and there is no online testing anymore after step one. So no step 2. After your initial application is successful you go to step 3 and choose a date for day 1 assessment which consists of: “Sit an interview; Participate in some interactive exercises; Complete two video-based exercises; Undertake a written exercise; and Work with another candidate in a scenario-based virtual reality exercise.”

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Tom,

      Thanks for your comment. This is a very recent change, that has come as a result of the Metropolitan police opening up their job availability to a wider national audience. We appreciate your helpful feedback, and would welcome any other comments that you have.


      The How2Become Team.

  4. Steve says:

    Are the competency based questions directly after the personal information sections? I completed all of the personal info/eligibility sections but was never asked any competency questions.

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Steve,

      What kind of questions were you asked? Let us know, and we’ll be able to assess whether these were competency questions or not!


      The How2Become Team

  5. Jeoul says:

    Currently going through the process myself (at the final stage of Day Three – Detective Assessment)

    Correct eligibility questions, however there was no competency questions at this stage, it was very straight forward asking for your personal details.

    Day One Assessment
    – x2 Video based exercises
    – Written exercise
    – x2 Role-plays
    – A competency-based interview
    – VR with a partner

    Online Verbal Reasoning Test

    Day Two – Medical Assessment – DNA samples, identity check, general check-up, bleep test

    Day Three – Detective Assessment
    You got the contents of the day spot on

    • Jacob Senior says:

      Hi Jeoul, thanks for your comment.

      That’s great to hear – we’re very appreciative of your input. We hope your assessment centre went well, and would love to hear more from you about it.

      Kind regards,
      The How2Become Team.

    • Amber says:

      Hi Jeoul,

      Congrats on getting to the Day 3 assessment!

      Have you completed this yet? If so, I just wondered how much time you get to complete the in-tray exercise?

      And whether the info about the time allowance for the briefing above was correct – 30mins prep, 15 briefing and 15 questions…

  6. Lily says:

    Hi, can I just check, when do they check your qualification certificates? Do I need to take them to the Day 1 assessment?

    • Jacob Senior says:

      Hi Lily,

      Thanks for your comment. We recommend that you have your certificates ready for presentation as early as possible since they could be checked at any time during the process.

      Good luck in your application!
      The How2Become Team.

  7. Lydia Halliwell says:


    I have just been invited for my fitness/health assessment day. Unfortunately I need to give 3 months in advance to take a day off from work. If I did my assessment day in July will I still have time to start this year? When does the training start if I got through?

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Lydia,

      This is really down to the Met Police, their vetting, and how long it takes to process candidates. The times for each recruitment drive can vary, and therefore the best thing to do would be to get in touch with the force directly – as they should be able to advise you further =].


      The How2Become Team

  8. Jack says:

    Any further information regarding stage 5?

    Day Three – Detective Assessment
    You got the contents of the day spot on

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