2. Detective Entry FAQs | Suffolk Constabulary

You are here

2. Detective Entry FAQs

This page aims to provide basic information in response to frequently asked questions.

These questions and answers will be updated throughout the course of the recruitment and application process.

Read our Detective Entry Recruitment Brochure

If you have a question which is not addressed, please direct your query to the following email address.

[email protected]

Thank you for your interest in this process

Eamonn Bridger

Detective Chief Superintendent

Head of Crime, Safeguarding & Incident Management

Suffolk Constabulary

Is there a shift allowance in addition to the salary listed?

There is an additional ‘unsocial hours allowance’. This applies where officers/detectives work 8pm to 6am (so a maximum entitlement of 10 hours).

This is paid at 10% of hourly rate.

Where will I have to work?

Detectives for Suffolk Constabulary work from a number of bases. The successful detective applicants will be posted to either Criminal Investigations Department (CID) or Safeguarding Investigations Unit (SIU) based in Ipswich, Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds.

Will I have to work shifts?

At this time Investigators work day and late shifts generally between the core hours of 0800 and 2300. However as a warranted officer, shifts and roles could be changed based on operational necessity. The force also operates a CID night car function which requires all Dc’s to participate on a very limited rotational basis.

How much will I get paid?

The starting salary for police officers is 24,177 with pay increments every 12 months to a maximum of £40,128 at seven years of service.

There is an additional ‘unsocial hours allowance’. This applies where officers/detectives work 8pm to 6am (so a maximum entitlement of 10 hours). This is paid at 10% of hourly rate.

When and how will I get paid?
You will get paid monthly by automatic credit to your bank or building society account.

Flexible working
If you are interested in working part-time or in a job share, please tell us on your application form and we will be happy to consider it.

Child care support
A child care voucher scheme providing tax benefits is available.

Pension scheme
Suffolk police participates in the National Police Pension Scheme.

Will I need to pass any exams?

Yes all candidates will need to pass basic knowledge checks during initial training

In addition candidates will need to pass the National Investigators Exam covering relevant legislation. There are regular opportunities to do this and a pass is required to achieve accreditation as a detective.

The pass mark for this exam is currently 55.7%

Support for this exam will be provided by way of 5 days paid study leave and the free provision of all of the approved study material.

Will I be wearing uniform?

Yes, during the first 32 weeks of training.

Following this period smart business attire will be required (provided at individual expense).

What does the training entail?

There will be an initial training phase as an introduction to policing equipping candidates with their basic policing skills (this will last 13 weeks)

This initial training will cover key legislation, police powers and procedures as well as personal safety, first aid and equipment training.

Following this foundation course there will be a 10 week period of being tutored in response policing to consolidate learning from basic training and provide you with an understanding of operational policing requirements and context.

You will then have 4 weeks dealing with detainees in the Custody Investigation Unit (CIU) followed by 2 weeks on a proactive team.

You will then be provided one to one tutorship with a trained Detective Constable either in an area CID or safeguarding department.

There are three additional requirements to achieve accreditation as a level 2 Investigator (Detective Constable)

  1. Maintain a portfolio of work (‘one file’) to show capability across relevant skill area
  2. Pass the National Investigators Exam (NIE a multiple choice knowledge test relating to the role of an investigator).
  3. Attend Initial Crime Investigators Development (Detective Constable’s) Course.

What about academic qualifications?

Level 3 qualification gained in England and Wales, within the meaning of the Education & Skills Act 2008 e.g. 'A' Level/ AS Level,

National Diploma, National Certificate, Level 3 NVQ or City & Guilds, Access to Higher Education Diploma or an academic or vocational qualification gained outside of England or Wales which is considered to be equivalent to a Level 3 qualification.

If you have gained a qualification and are unsure whether this equates to a Level 3 please check via UK NARIC - www.naric.org.uk/translate

Any age restriction?

The minimum age restriction is 18 and the maximum restriction is 57. All new recruits have to undertake a 2 year probationary period.

What reference or vetting checks will be carried out?

There a number of checks that are undertaken prior to coming into the organisation as a Police Officer. These include:

  • Vetting to RV (Recruitment Vetting) level. This process will also consider your immediate family and any unrelated co-residents
  • Satisfactory employment references for the last five years
  • Medical screening
  • Completion of the Force Fitness Test
  • Biometric Screening – this includes taking finger prints and a DNA sample.

What if I have a previous conviction?

Convictions/cautions/penalty notices will not automatically prevent you from appointment. However if the matter was within the last five years most forces will not accept your application. Individual circumstances will be considered depending on the circumstances and the nature of the offence.

What must you declare?

  • Any conviction (includes motoring offences such as speeding)
  • Any police caution/Penalty Notice for Disorder
  • Spent convictions
  • Any involvement in any criminal investigation that did not lead to prosecution
  • Applicants who have existing County Court Judgments (CCJs) outstanding against them should not be considered.

What sort of fitness requirements and physical attributes are needed?

Multi-stage Fitness Test

This element involves running along a 15 metre track to a series of audible beeps. The beeps, during the course of the test, get progressively faster. You will need to have reached each side of the track before the next beep sounds.
Pass: Run to level 5.4 (Approximately 3 1/2 minute)

Upon successful entry, you will be required to complete and pass personal safety training in order to fulfill the role, this will include physical confrontation training.

What sort of people are you looking for?

We are looking for highly motivated individuals with a strong investigative mind set, good communication skills and a positive desire to help the vulnerable.

Other key assets are enthusiasm and commitment, attention to detail, tenacity, confidence and the ability to complete tasks accurately and to tight deadlines.

There are numerous occupations both within and outside of the police service which offer transferable skills and qualifications relevant to the modern detective function. Examples of such professions would include

  • Accountancy and financial services
  • Information Technology
  • Health and social care services
  • Legal and criminal justice (CPS, probation)
  • Private sector investigations
  • Public sector investigations (HM Customs and Revenue, Trading Standards, security services)
  • Higher education (particularly criminal justice relevant courses)
  • Police staff investigators and special constables

Please note this list is not prescriptive and we are open to applications from all backgrounds.

How can I prepare for a possible assessment/interview?

There are a number of ways to prepare for the assessment process

  1. Speak to officers who have recently joined the organisation and seek their views as to the process and their experience of it.
  2. Speak to officers that currently work in the world of investigations as Detective Constables and seek their views on the role.
  3. Refer to the Suffolk Constabulary web site to gain an understanding of the organisation its structure and its aims.
  4. Be aware of current affairs, particularly those that would have relevance to or place demands on the Police service.

What does the job of detective entail / what will I be doing?

The role of Detective Constable is to protect the public by undertaking investigations into serious and often complex crimes. This involves all aspects of the investigative process including (but not exclusively), dealing with victims, dealing with witnesses, attending scenes, collecting and preserving evidence, identifying and arresting offenders, interviewing, creating case files and attending court.

Investigations Department (CID) – This department deals with residential burglaries, serious assaults, domestic abuse, robbery, fraud, theft, drug trafficking and stalking offences. In addition detectives are frequently engaged in unexplained death and high risk missing person enquiries.

Safeguarding Investigations Unit (SIU) – This department deals with serious sexual offences, rape, honour based abuse, offences against children and human trafficking.

All staff will be supported through these investigations in the initial stages moving towards independence and more complex cases (multi offender crimes, organised crime groups and conspiracy offences as experience grows).

Additional opportunities to apply to specialise in areas such as for example major investigation, surveillance, intelligence and counter terrorism will arise after satisfactory completion of a 2 year probationary period.

To obtain more information or discuss the role in more detail with serving officers, please contact [email protected] 

What is the initial selection process to enter the service under this scheme?

Download and read through the information in the Detective Entry Overview brochure. To download this as a PDF please click here.

Questions and answers from the June 2020 Web Chat

Are DCs paid for overtime or allowed TOIL if they need to work extra hours to work within deadlines etc?

Dc’s are often required to work overtime to deal with operational and workload requirements. These extra hours are paid or alternatively can be taken as TOIL. 
Hi, how 'practical' is the detective role in comparison with a constable? Is the majority office based?

By comparison with uniform response the role of the Detective is more office based. However, they are frequently called upon to attend crime scenes, conduct relevant enquiries, speak to witnesses, conduct searches and arrest suspects. In other words they are definitely not office bound.
How and when is it decided whether a detective constable will take the CID or Safeguarding pathway?

This decision is taken as soon as possible after successful selection to enter the scheme. This will entail head of department making an assessment based on relevant skills/ qualifications, current vacancies in both departments as well as the views of the student.
How does the selection and training differ for entrants on this scheme compared to experienced PCs who then change pathway to move into detective work?

There are no significant differences in training. Experienced Pc’s will have previously completed the same initial 10 week training programme as persons who join on the detective entry scheme. On selection to enter onto the DC programme, experienced Pc’s also have to pass the National Investigators Exam, complete the ‘one-file’ evidence based portfolio of work whilst being mentored by an experienced Dc. Both routes also require candidates to complete the Initial Crime Investigators Development Programme (Dc training course). I anticipate the main difference will be the need for Dc entrants to complete additional attachments to relevant departments to ensure they have sufficient contextual grounding to perform in the role.
What are your expectations of DCs after a a few months? i.e. how long will it be before you expect new DCs to take on complex work with little Police experience?

Your basic training and supported uniform patrol duties will last a few months (20 weeks) before you start detective training.

Officers coming into the force via the detective entry scheme will progress at different rates. Some candidates may have relevant policing or criminal justice experience already – for example police staff investigators, Special Constables. Candidates will be coached individually and we will ensure mentoring support is given to build experience and confidence to deal with more serious and complex cases. 
Does the Force provide accommodation to recruits who need it temporarily?

We provide free accommodation for the initial 10 week training programme, however, beyond this no police accommodation is available.

If you could offer one piece of advice to a new recruit what would it be?

To listen, and learn from those around you who are our most talented and successful staff. Be enthusiastic, professional, committed and strive to make a positive difference to victims and those affected by crime. Enjoy what you do.

If during the process an individual fails to get a DC post, will they then be considered for a Police Officer role or would they have to reapply?

If you are assessed as suitable for a PC role then yes. 
Hello, I wonder if you could tell me how you decide where people will be placed in Suffolk, and where most of the training will take place?

Most of your initial training will take place at force headquarters Martlesham Heath. Decisions as to where officers are posted are made taking account of vacancies, demand and where the officer resides.

Hi, with regards to promotion and career progression, will there be dependencies on higher ranked positions being vacant or will eligibility be based solely on performance?

Eligibility is based on passing national promotion exams at Sergeant and Inspector level. Once you have passed these exams, you can apply for in-force promotion which is heavily evidence based on prior performance.

How long after starting do you expect new DCs to have finished the investigation training and passed exams and be in the flow of the job in a specialism?

Please see the training pathway document which is posted on our recruitment website.

My qualifications are mostly from abroad but are all post graduate. Would that be an issue as I can't show A level qualifications. Also our grades/degrees were not graded the same way as here so I can't complete that part of the form asking if I had a 1:2 or A*. as it's different.

We can accept qualifications that have been obtained outside of the UK provided we are able to see what the equivalent level of the qualification is in the UK.  We use a UCAS International qualifications conversion for this which can be easily found on the internet.  It would be down to you to demonstrate the equivalent level of qualification in the UK

I only have GCSEs and one year of a diploma can I still apply?

To apply to be a police officer you must have a level 3 qualification at the time of applying (A level 3 qualification is A ‘Levels / AS level or NVQ/BTEC at level 3)

If you have applied to another force and completed the assessment centre, can you still apply to Suffolk Police?

If you have completed the Assessment centre with another force and achieved a pass mark of 57% or over you could apply to transfer your SEARCH score to Suffolk, you would still have to attend and pass the additional DC assessment day

For those needing long commutes to go through the recruitment process, is it possible to combine medical/fitness/uniform fitting etc. to save commute costs and time to make things more efficient?

We will always try our best to combine as many appointments in one day as possible however this cannot be guaranteed

If successful on application; being a special constable already.would I have to go through the various stages such as training, medical, fitness, biometric and vetting process again? Thanks

Yes you would still be required to complete all the stages again

If you have recently taken (and passed) an assessment centre in respect of the PC application process can this score be transferred across in respect of your recruitment process?

Yes this  score can be transferred across as long as you have obtained our pass mark which is 57% or above