How Do You Become a Police Detective in the U.K.?

To become a police detective in the United Kingdom, you must first work for two years as a regular police officer. After this probationary period, you must apply to be in the Criminal Investigation Department, which is the section of British police forces that employs detectives.

  1. Become a police officer

    There are no formal education requirements to become a police officer in the United Kingdom. Applicants must be 18 years or older. Applicants must be a citizen of Britain, the Commonwealth, the European Union or other European Economic Area or be a foreign national with the right to stay and work in the United Kingdom for an indefinite period. Applicants must pass background and security checks as well as a series of assessment tests.

  2. Work two years as a police officer

    Once you have been accepted to work on a police force, you must spend two years working as a student police officer. After completing two years, you are awarded the rank of police constable.

  3. Apply to join the Criminal Investigation Department

    Next, you must apply to join the Criminal Investigation Department of the police force. Each force has its own application process for specialist units like the Criminal Investigation Department, and there is usually strong competition for places, which means you are not guaranteed a spot. There are usually tests and interviews before being accepted into the Criminal Investigation Department.

  4. Move up the ranks

    Once accepted into the Criminal Investigation Department, you have the title of detective added to your rank. For example, your rank could be “detective sergeant” or “detective chief inspector” once you move up the ranks.