There are no specific recommended prior qualifications for candidates seeking to become a police officer.
The new, optional police community support officer (PCSO) award will be introduced from April 2010 and will be a helpful qualification, capable of offering prior accreditation. There are also a number of useful pre-join courses on offer in higher education and further education. These include a 14-week diploma from Portsmouth University and a foundation degree at the University of Lancashire.
From April 2010, the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) working with Skills for Justice (the sector skills council) will provide guidance to police forces on appropriate pre-join routes. However, none of these courses will offer a guarantee of recruitment as a student police officer.
From April 2010, a new qualification will be introduced to all police officers, to be achieved during their initial training. This qualification is a diploma in policing, which is a level 3 vocational qualification on the new qualification and credit framework.