Applications for this role have now closed

Please register your interest for our Investigate First programme and a member of our recruitment team will provide further details once these are available. 

Register your interest

Find out more about the Investigate First programme below.

Thank you to all those that previously expressed their interest in the programme and good luck with the ongoing application and assessment process.

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 £25,658 with the potential to rise to £43,130 within your first 7 years (these figures include a yearly £2,000 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.

  • Fraud Teams

    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

    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.

To be eligible applicants must meet at least one of the following entry qualification criteria:

  • Have reached an educational standard of 2 x A levels (or above) or an equivalent ‘Level 3’ qualification. Note: individuals with qualifications higher than the minimum educational requirement will also be eligible to apply.

  • Have achieved an academic or vocational qualification gained outside England and Wales which is considered by the UK National Recognition Information Centre to be a level 3 qualification (see our guide: ‘Becoming a Police Constable in Essex').

  • Have previously served, such as in the military or armed forces, or similar law enforcement agency, where the applicant has successfully completed the minimum term of service (usually 5 years) and has achieved an exemplary reference on discharge.

  • Have completed and passed the Level 3 Certificate in Knowledge of Policing.

  • Be a serving Special Constable* with Essex Police who has attained independent patrol status at the time of application.

  • Be a serving Police Community Support Officer* with Essex Police who has successfully completed a professional development plan and passed their probationary period at the time of application.

  • Be a serving member of Essex Police staff and have successfully passed probationary period and has the existing command team support to confirm that they are suitable for consideration to be appointed as a police constable.

Important note: *Candidates who are not relying on being a Special Constable or Police Community Support Officer as part of the qualification requirements, but who are existing Special Constables or a Police Community Support Officers may not progress to appointment until they have attained independent patrol status as a Special Constable or completed their probationary period as a Police Community Support Officer.

In addition to meeting at least one of the above 'Education and experience' entry qualification criteria at the time of application candidates must also:

  • Be a European Economic Area (EEA) National or a Swiss National. Commonwealth citizens and Foreign Nationals are also eligible to apply but are required to have leave to enter or leave to remain in the UK for an indefinite period.

  • Have resided in the UK for three continuous years immediately prior to application.

  • Be over the age of 18. However you can make an application at the age of 17 and progress through the recruitment and selection process, you will not however receive a formal offer of employment until you have turned 18.

  • Possess a full UK manual driving license with no more than 6 points
    • I do not yet hold a full UK manual driving licence but am working towards this – apply here.

  • Not have applied to become a police constable and been unsuccessful at any stage of the Police National SEARCH Assessment process in the last six months with any force.

  • Not have tattoos which cause offence, are excessive or considered unprofessional. (See Appendix C of our guide Becoming a Police Constable in Essex).

  • Ideally not have a criminal record. Any previous criminal convictions or cautions (including those spent), fixed penalty notices, traffic offences or any involvement with the police must be declared.

  • Not be registered bankrupt, subject to County Court Judgements or Independent Voluntary Agreements

  • Meet the basic eligibility criteria to become a police constable (see our guide: Becoming a Police Constable in Essex).

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

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.

The application form will require you to fill in your personal details and will give you the option to submit ethnic and disability details. 

In addition we will ask you what your motivations are to become a detective  in addition we will be asking you competency based questions, these will be relating to the Competency Values Framework (CVF).

In this section, we expect you to provide a detailed response including your reason and motives for applying. We will also looking at you to demonstrate your understanding of the CVF and how you have demonstrated these competencies and values previously.

Your spelling, punctuation and grammar will also be assessed.

During the eligibility process we must check you meet all the criteria before continuing your application; this includes all of the below:

  • Tattoos

  • Qualifications

  • Driving licence

If you do not meet the eligibility requirements your application will not continue.

If you pass the previous stages, you will be invited to a briefing which provides you with more information about the process of becoming a police officer. There will be the opportunity to speak with our recruitment team and raise any questions you might have.

This is a mandatory event that is designed to support you through the recruitment process and answer any questions regarding the recruitment and on boarding process. Applicant’s identification and eligibility documents will be verified at this event too.

The assessment consists of five elements; interactive role play, written exam, verbal and logical reasoning exam, numerical exam and an interview.

Applicants must get 50% across these exams to pass. This is a national process that all police forces carry out.

This bespoke detective assessment will consists of the following:

Group Exercise

Applicants will be split into small groups and asked to discuss a topic that is designed to assimilate a day in the life of a detective.  No policing experience is required as trained assessors will be looking for you to display skills relating to the Competency Values Framework.

Written exercise

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:

  • Medical appointment

  • Fitness test

  • Pre-employment weekend

  • Uniform fitting

We will also process the following checks:

  • Vetting checks

  • Biometrics clearance (DNA and finger prints are taken at their senior interview)

  • References

  • Professional standards questionnaire (completed at senior interview)

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.