Detectives go by many names: suits, ‘tecs, occasionally Sherlock Holmes or some other famous fictional character with a cool hat or coat.
Our detectives are real people – they investigate our most serious crimes and protect some of our most vulnerable victims. If you want to be that support to a grieving family, get justice for the victims of sexual abuse, or track the trickiest of cyber criminals – this path could be for you.
If you’re already a detective with another force and want to find out more about transferring to the Essex Police family, you can read more on our transfer and promotion opportunities page.
If you’re just starting on your journey to being a detective, read more about Investigate First below.
About Investigate First
We are offering an exciting opportunity to enter our Investigate First programme to become a Detective with Essex Police. This is a 2 year development programme with an expectation that full detective accreditation will be achieved following a work based assessment in year 3.
The first year of the programme requires successful candidates to develop core policing knowledge and skills in a uniform role before embarking on enhanced investigative training and specialist attachments to develop the investigative mindset.
After 12 months candidates move into the detective arena where they will develop enhanced investigative and safeguarding skills in more serious and complex investigations.
Throughout this period candidates will receive the highest level of training and support.
To succeed as a detective you will need to be inquisitive, determined, committed and tenacious. Detectives tackle the most serious levels of offending which demands the highest level of integrity and personal responsibility to be effective. Detective departments are enriched by officers from a range of different backgrounds to form a team.
Our detectives are driven by the motivation to keep people safe, act with integrity and honesty and they are guided by a high moral compass.
Our detectives fit the bill, could you?
Starting salary £25,908 with the potential to rise to £43,130 within your first 7 years (these figures include a yearly £3,000 South East allowance).
Please note that a new Police entry framework and Detective scheme will be introduced in March 2022, in line with new national programmes and guidance. We will be in contact in due course to let you know of any changes that could potentially affect your application or entry route.
Detectives are police officers who have achieved a national qualification and are responsible for investigating serious and complex crimes. They are responsible for managing a range of investigations which might include robbery, drugs, residential burglary, domestic violence, public and child protection, human trafficking and modern day slavery, fraud, cyber-crime, criminal use of firearms, homicide, threat to life or counter-terrorism and more.
Twelve months after appointment on this program you will be posted to an entry level detective post based in one of the following areas:
Criminal Investigations Department (CID)
Our Criminal Investigation Department handles incidents such as serious assaults, robbery, burglary and major property thefts. They deal with serious incidents passed to them from the Local Policing Teams and progress investigations to their conclusion.
Domestic Abuse Investigating Team (DAIT)
Our DAIT teams investigate high and medium risk domestic abuse incidents, forced marriage, honour-based abuse investigations and ensure that they protect vulnerable people at risk of domestic abuse.
Child Abuse Investigation Teams (CAIT)
Our CAIT teams deal with offences against children and work jointly with partner agencies. They protect and safeguard children who have been the victims of sexual and physical abuse, as well as unexpected or unexplained child death.
Adult Sexual Assault Investigation Team (ASAIT)
Our ASAIT teams investigate serious sexual offences including rape against adults.
On successful conclusion of this program you will be eligible to apply for a specialist detective post. The following are some of those teams:
Police Online Investigation Team
Our Police Online Investigation Team (POLIT) investigates offences involving indecent images of children and other online based offences.
Major Investigations Team
Our detectives from the Murder Investigation Team investigate suspicious death, murder, kidnap and extortion offences by investigating and convicting suspects to secure the best outcome for our victims’ families.
Serious and Organised Crime Unit
Our Serious Crime Department proactively investigates Organised Crime Groups (OCGs), gang activity, drug supply, weapons and human trafficking.
With the advances in technology, the need for fraud detectives is increasing. Our fraud teams work hard to get justice for those victims who have been unwittingly scammed by offenders. They investigate serious and complex fraud cases using their investigative mind-set and advanced online policing systems.
Operation Raptor are responsible for tackling urban street gangs who deal drugs, exploit children and take advantage of vulnerable people. This involves tracking down Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) and safeguarded victims.
Further professional training is required when starting to work in any of these specialist units. It is possible to transfer to different units over the course of your career.
Could you compassionately support someone who has just been assaulted, lost a family member or robbed at knifepoint? How do you think you would cope when required to question a potential sex offender? How would you react when faced with a murderer who wants to tell you what they’ve done? Do you have mind-set to investigate serious crimes or locate the county’s most violent offenders? Could you investigate gang culture, drug supply, fraud or corruption?
As a detective you will be responsible for upholding the law, responding to live incidents and protecting people from harm using a range of sworn powers in line with organisational standards.
To be successful you will meet our minimum entry requirements, together with demonstrating a passion and commitment to providing a first class policing service to the people of Essex.
Please be aware that on appointment and during your service you may be posted to any location in Essex based on operational need.
Who we are looking for
To meet the minimum personal eligibility criteria, all of the 5 statements below must apply to you.
I hold a UK Passport or can provide proof of 'settled' status in the UK
I have lived in the UK continuously for the last three years
I am 17 years old (or older) at the point of application. If you are 17, you can go through the recruitment and selection process, but will not receive an offer of employment until you have turned 18
I hold a full UK Category B manual driving licence (with six points or less on it)
I have not been unsuccessful in an application for the same role with any home office force in the last six months
if you’re due to obtain your licence soon, you can still apply now and mark this as pending on your application
Commonwealth citizens and foreign nationals can also apply if you have leave to enter or remain in the UK indefinitely and you're free of restrictions
three years residency in the UK does not apply to those serving abroad with the British Armed Forces
there are no height restrictions for those wishing to join us
We want to ensure our new officers are prepared for the demands and challenges of modern day policing and have moved to a new educational route into policing - Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF).
As a new officer you will now gain a degree apprenticeship or graduate diploma whilst you complete your probation period with us.
There are two routes to join us depending on your qualifications, further information can be found in entry routes.
If you are interested in a career with us, we are currently accepting transfer of successful SEARCH, National online assessment or day one results if obtained within the last 24 months.
If you meet this criteria, please attach your detailed results to your application (you can request these from the force you originally passed with) and declare this on your application form. If acceptable, we will transfer these results and you will not be required to undertake our online assessment stage.
Please note: This option is not applicable if your original application was unsuccessful within the past six months (not including voluntary withdrawal).
Policing is not easy. Not only do you need determination and drive but you also need to be as healthy as possible and have a good level of fitness.
Some medical conditions can prevent you from being able to cope with the physical and mental demands of the job.
In relation to your fitness if you undertake some form of regular exercise, there should be no issue with meeting the physical requirements in the fitness test. This means achieving level 5.4 on the 'bleep test'.
Visible tattoos are deemed unacceptable if they could reasonably be interpreted as:
indicate of attitudes or views which are inconsistent with the College of Policing's Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Behaviour.
Tattoos meeting any of the above criteria will prevent you from being able to join us.
Careful consideration will be given to any tattoo located on the neck, face or hands in deciding if this is acceptable. This includes consideration of the size, nature and prominence of the tattoo.
Such tattoos are unlikely to present a professional image such that they will, more often than not, also be a bar to joining us.
If you have a tattoo on your face, neck (above your collar line) and hands we'll need to see it so we can make a decision on whether or not you can continue with your application.
If you have a body piercing or other body modification you still may be considered eligible to apply.
We'll check it to make sure it doesn't breach the Standard of Professional Behaviour for serving police officers or constitute a risk to health and safety.
Ideally, you shouldn't have a criminal conviction or cautions record. If you do have one, eligibility will depend on the age and nature of the offence.
We're unable to confirm whether your convictions record will affect your application before you apply but will determine this from information provided during the recruitment and selection process.
If you don't tell us about any cautions, investigations or criminal convictions that may be linked to you at an early stage, your application could be refused simply because you weren't open and up front, whereas it might have been accepted if you were.
It's important that you're not under pressure from un-discharged debts or liabilities and that you can manage loans and debts sensibly.
You will not qualify for vetting clearance if you:
have existing county court judgments (CCJs) outstanding
have been registered bankrupt and have not discharged your bankruptcy. Applicants will not be considered until three years after the discharge of the debt. Debt Relief Orders (DRO) are treated in the same way as bankruptcy
if you refuse to discuss a relevant matter or engage with the vetting process
You will be required to undertake a substance misuse test as a part of the pre-employment checks in the recruitment process.
If you are using illegal drugs you will be ruled out of the recruitment process automatically.
Before you apply
Detectives receive a range of benefits including:
A work based pension scheme
Ability to apply for a flexible working pattern
Part-time working options
Minimum of 22 days annual leave plus statutory holidays (increasing with service)
Paid sick leave
Occupational Health support
Child care schemes
Maternity / Parental leave
Access to the Police Federation (union)
Access to sports and social facilities
Access to peer support groups including Senior Women’s Leadership Forum, Black Police Association, as well as disability and faith groups.
Visit police benefits and lifestyle information to find out more about the benefits of being a detective.
As a detective, you’ll be embarking on a new and exciting career that can take you anywhere.
During your first two years with the force, you’ll be working alongside experienced officers and putting your training into practice – dealing with everything from robbery and burglary to missing people and domestic incidents.
After completing your probationary period and becoming a full detective constable, we offer a range of training and continuing professional development opportunities to help make the most of the skills you have developed.
Providing you have achieved detective accreditation you will be eligible to apply for a specialist detective role after completing 36 months of service. The availability of these roles will be dependent on which units have vacancies but there are many potential career opportunities.
To find out more about the various departments you can work in with Essex Police, visit our job profiles.
Applying to be a detective
To join the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP), you must:
have, or be working towards obtaining, an Honours degree (level 6) qualification or above, in any subject (apart from the pre-join degree : Degree in Professional Policing), from a recognised higher education establishment. Candidates who apply Pending completion their Qualification must receive formal confirmation of their official Grade by the end of the current Academic Year.
you will also need to meet the eligibility criteria for becoming a police officer and pass the online assessment. See the College of Policing website for more information
All qualifications will have to be evidenced before a formal offer is issued.
To join the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA), you will need to meet the eligibility criteria for becoming a police officer and pass the online assessment. See the College of Policing website for more information. You must also:-
have a GCSE in Maths and English Grade C or level 4 or above and
achieved, or be working towards obtaining, two level 3 qualifications minimum grade C or above (two A-levels or equivalent to UCAS points of 64+). Use the register of regulated qualifications website to check your qualification is recognised as being 'level 3'. Candidates applying Pending completion of these qualifications must be due to complete the full qualification by the end of the current Academic Year.
If you do not hold these required qualifications, you can still apply if you possess one of the following qualifications and/or have the required experience. In this instance, you will be required to undergo additional assessments as part of our recruitment procedure. View further information about the support available in study skills assessment and education support.
Entry requirements PCDA
32-63 UCAS points from 2 A-Levels or equivalent
GCSE Grade C or level 4 in Maths and English and under 32 UCAS points or no evidence of a level 3 qualification
you are an Essex member of police staff, a PCSO or special constable who have passed their probationary period
you have a minimum of 4 years’ service with the armed forces and have achieved an exemplary reference on discharge.
no evidence of Maths and English at GCSE and under 32 UCAS points or no evidence of a level 3 qualification and you have a minimum of four years’ service with the armed forces
All qualifications will have to be evidenced before a formal offer is issued.
When applying to be a detective with Essex Police, our applicants progress through seven stages. We have listed them below to help you understand the process you are about to embark on.
Step 1 - Your application
Read our top tips before moving on to complete your online application form.
Step 2 – Eligibility
During the eligibility process we must check you meet all the criteria before continuing your application; this includes all of the below:
Qualifications (Entry Route specific)
If you do not meet the eligibility requirements your application will not continue.
Step 3 – National Sift
The national sift consists of two exercises which reflect the competencies and values relevant to the role of a police constable. These two exercises are as follows:
The Situational Judgement Test (SJT) is designed to assess your judgement and decision-making in work-relevant situations against the Competencies Value Framework (CVF). The situations are presented to reflect the types of scenarios and actions police constables may face in their role.
The Behavioural Styles questionnaire is designed to explore your typical behaviour and preferences at work.
Step 4 – Attend a mandatory briefing session
All briefings will be conducted virtually for the time being. We will explain the remaining recruitment process and provide you insights in what to expect.
You will be required to complete an online assessment process hosted by the College of Policing. We will invite you to attend a mandatory workshop to provide you with full details of this assessment process.
This bespoke detective assessment will consists of the following:
Each candidate will be asked to complete a written exercise based on a task that would be regularly expected of a Detective Constable. All materials will be provided and the exercise will be timed with spelling and grammar assessed throughout.
Applicants will take part in an interview panel comprising senior officers and HR professionals. The interview is expected to last 30-45 minutes with questions relating to the qualities outlined on the job description and the Competency Values Framework. The panel will be assessing answers which demonstrate competency at Level 1.
The pre-employment checks require applicants to attend the following:
We will also process the following checks:
Please note that we undertake random drug testing as part of our pre-employment checks. You may be asked to provide us with a sample - we will only undertake this after you have given your written consent.
Once we have received all of their pre-employment checks back and they are satisfactory to us, we will send applicants a final offer of employment.
The candidate will receive a number of forms with their final offer letter which need to be processed before starting their course. The applicant will be placed on the next available training course which will be based at Essex Police Headquarters in Chelmsford.
Applicants will attend a rigorous and thorough training process to give them the best head start in their career with us.
Begin your application
We in Essex Police are looking for committed and talented individuals to become detective constables.
Applications for both the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) and the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) are now open.