This new entry route represents a fantastic opportunity for talented and skilled individuals to join the police force and then move onto a detective pathway.

As a Degree Holder we are offering an exciting opportunity to enter our Fast Track to Detective Program. After initial Police training and after reaching key milestones you will take up a Trainee Investigator role before embarking on enhanced investigative training and specialist attachments to develop the investigative mindset.

Detectives are responsible for investigating serious and complex crimes and manage a range of investigations through to their conclusion.

It's true, the role can be challenging and you will need to be resilient, but it is one of the most rewarding jobs out there. Throughout this period, candidates will receive the highest level of training and support.

We are currently closed for applications

We are looking for a diverse group of applicants to join South Wales Police; people who have the attributes and dedication to become a detective.

We have a strong commitment to equality and diversity both within the organisation and in the service we provide. Our aim is to promote and achieve a fully inclusive workforce to reflect the communities we serve. South Wales Police particularly welcomes applicants from under-represented groups.

SWP is proud to work under a positive action initiative to support those from under-represented groups. If you are from a diverse background and have an interest in joining us please contact our Representative Workforce Team.

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

South Wales Police is the largest police force in Wales and although geographically small, covering around 812 square miles and equating to just 10% of the geographical area of Wales, South Wales Police provides a policing service to 1.3 million people (42% of the country’s population).


South Wales is a diverse region, boasting urban, rural and coastal areas and featuring the two largest cities in Wales – Swansea and the capital city, Cardiff. The force also serves 63 of the 100 most deprived communities in Wales.


The force has almost 3000 police officers and over 2200 police staff, including Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and a team of dedicated volunteers that includes over 200 Special Constables and around 200 Police Youth Volunteers. We are committed to developing our staff and providing them with the best support and resources to enable them to effectively support our local communities.


As a force we are investing heavily in the latest technology and the welfare of staff and officers. South Wales Police have been at the heart of many major events - the Champion’s League, NATO and the Olympics are just some of the events that we’ve hosted here in South Wales in recent times.


Join and help us be the best at understanding and responding to our communities’ needs.


When the time for promotion or specialisation is right; you will find SWP a supportive employer and we will provide the opportunity for your aspirations and ability to be recognised.


Our unique Talent Management Programme was launched in 2020, offering additional development routes for exceptional officers.

Cautions and Convictions

You may still be eligible to join the police service if you have minor convictions/cautions, but there are certain offences and conditions that will make you ineligible. You MUST declare all convictions for past offences, formal cautions (including as a juvenile) and any bind-over imposed by the courts. You should also include all traffic convictions. Due to the nature of policing, it’s essential that we conduct rigorous vetting checks on successful applicants before they can join the program.



You must be a British Citizen, citizen from the European Economic Area (EEA), Commonwealth citizen or foreign national with no restrictions on your stay in the United Kingdom. You must also have been continually resident in the UK for the three year period immediately before an application is made. This is to satisfy the requirement to vet all applicants in an equitable manner and the UK Police service does not currently have any means of facilitating vetting checks overseas, to the extent required of those who have been resident in the UK. Applicants who cannot be vetted, cannot be appointed.


Financial Status

All applicants will have their financial status checked. These checks are carried out because Police Constables have access to privileged information, which may make them vulnerable to corruption. Any applicants with outstanding County Court judgements, who have been registered bankrupt with outstanding debts, will be rejected. If you have discharged bankruptcy debts then you will need to provide a Certificate of Satisfaction with your application. Applicants who are the subject of a current Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) will not be considered.



Applicants must be in good health mentally and physically to deal with the pressures and demands of the role. Successful applicants who receive a conditional offer of appointment will then be asked prior to appointment to fill in a medical questionnaire and undertake a medical examination which will also include an eyesight test and BMI check (Body Mass Index).

The current Home Office circular 59/2004 outlines this as between 18 and 30. Applicants who do not meet this standard may find their application delayed and / or will not be appointed.

Police Officer applicants with a BMI over 32 will not be considered fit unless their body fat percentage is less than 30% for men or 36% for women. If you have a disability, we will make adjustments where it is reasonable to do so.


Physical fitness

You must be physically fit in order to effectively complete the duties required of a Police Constable. All applicants must pass a basic fitness test before appointment. For the endurance test you will be asked to run back and forth a 15 metre track in time with a series of bleeps, in time the bleeps become increasingly faster. You must achieve level 5.4.

You will also be required to attend a pre-appointment fitness test approximately 6 weeks prior to the anticipated appointment date and you must pass this to progress your application.


Political Affiliation

South Wales Police has a policy of prohibiting any of our officers or staff from being members of the BNP, or a similar organisation whose aims, objectives or pronouncements may contradict the duty to promote race equality. If you are, or have previously been a member of the BNP or a similar organisation, your application will be rejected.



Candidates with visible tattoos may be eligible for appointment. Each case will be considered on its own merits, taking into account the number, nature, size, prominence, appearance and location of the tattoos. Tattoos must not be offensive to colleagues or members of the public or undermine the dignity of your role within the Force. Tattoos on the neck, face or hands are still deemed to be unacceptable but consideration may be given in some circumstances considering the size, nature and prominence of the tattoo. If candidates choose to have any additional tattoos during the recruitment process, after passing eligibility checks, the onus is on them to advise HR and provide appropriate photographs which will need to be checked.


Pay Point 0


Starting salary

Pay Point 1


Gateway 1 (12 months)

Pay Point 3


End of probation (2 years)


What can South Wales Police offer you:

  • Annual Leave of 22 days (increasing with length of service), plus bank holidays or time in lieu.
  • Police pension.
  • Childcare Vouchers scheme – which can be used to pay for approved childcare providers.
  • Enhanced Maternity, Paternity and Adoption pay.
  • Assistance in gaining professional policing qualifications.
  • Support and advice from Occupational Health and access to a range of wellbeing services.
  • Support and advice from our Staff Associations and Support Networks which include: Female Police Association, LGBT Network, Black Police Association, Christian Police Association, Ability Support Network, Police Federation, Unison, GMB.
  • Access to subsidised gyms – throughout force area.
  • Cycle to work scheme.
  • Training, development and promotion opportunities within an organisation, which values continued professional development.
  • Lifestyle and organisational discounts, which include travel, financial products, an eye care scheme and many more.


Benefits of working for South Wales Police.

The person

You will require the competencies and values needed to be a detective; but you will also need to demonstrate the following attributes:

  • Resilience
  • Methodical/inquisitive mind-set
  • Tenacity /Determination
  • Attention to detail
  • Ownership
  • Ethical decision making

The role

As a detective you will work on a wide variety of crime including serious and complex cases and support the most vulnerable in society. A detective’s career is varied and the challenges of the role are matched only by the rewards; namely detecting crime and supporting the people of South Wales.

Areas of work include:

Our Criminal Investigation Department handles incidents such as serious assaults, serious sexual assaults, robbery, burglary and major property thefts. They deal with serious incidents and progress investigations to their conclusion.


On successful conclusion of this program, you will be eligible to apply for a specialist detective post and it is possible to transfer to different units over the course of your career.

Public Protection Investigators investigate Child Sexual Exploitation, Child abuse and vulnerable adults who are at risk.

Our Organised Crime Unit proactively investigates Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) residing both inside and outside the South Wales Police Force area, which impacts upon the communities of South Wales.

The Police Online Investigation Team (POLIT) are a centrally based team who investigate individuals in South Wales who use the internet with the intention of accessing, possessing and distributing indecent images of children.

The Major Crime Investigation Team are responsible for the management and investigation of the most serious and complex crimes including Suspicious Deaths, Murder, Kidnap and Extortion.

The Cyber Crime Unit are responsible for the investigation of all cyber dependent crime within the South Wales Police force area.

The Economic Crime Unit investigates the most complex, significant and high profile cases of fraud within South Wales, working in partnership with local, national and international forces, counter fraud agencies and public and private sector bodies.

This programme fast tracks new joiners through core policing modules before embarking on enhanced investigative training and moving into a Trainee Investigator role.

This is a work-based programme, supported by on and off the job learning.

Candidates will be required to undertake the National PIP 2 programme that requires Trainee Investigators to pass the National Investigators Exam which is an exam designed to ensure individuals have the right knowledge, understanding and application of relevant law and procedure to perform effectively as a detective.

Once candidates have passed this exam, they will complete PIP 2 Training Course/s and continue to work towards becoming a substantive accredited Detective Constable.

This programme results in a Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice.

The application process

We appreciate that the application process can be lengthy and will take several months. However, it’s this rigorous approach which ensures we select people who will make great detectives.

You can complete the exercises on any internet-enabled device with a camera (laptop, tablet or phone), but to ensure full compatibility with the online platform, the following should be set up:


  • Your operating system should be Windows 7 (or higher) or Mac OS 10.11 (or higher).
  • Your browser should be the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari (Apple products only).
  • You should have the latest version of Adobe Flash installed, and you require a webcam and microphone to record responses.


It is advisable to complete the whole application process on the same device as the IP addresses will conflict if you decide to swap devices once you have commenced and this could prevent you continuing with your application. It is therefore not advisable to complete your application in work.


It is not advisable to use hand held devices such as tablets or mobile phones as they are not compatible with the on-line tests that have to be completed. We are only able to re-set tests on one occasion per candidate.


Applicants are also advised to check their “junk” box for email updates from the system.

The first step will be an online application process which includes some eligibility ‘killer questions’. If you pass this stage you will be required to complete several online tests and an application form. There are 2 tests that every applicant must complete (regardless of qualifications), these are a Situational Judgement Test and a Behavioural Style Questionnaire. Both of these must be passed in order to continue in the application process.


Applicants are required to have a degree.


Proof of Qualification

You will be required to upload and attach your relevant Degree or Level 3 or equivalent Certificate before you submit your application. If you do not have a copy of this you will need to obtain one from the appropriate educational establishment.

If your Degree (or Level 3 qualification) was achieved outside of the UK, you must achieve ratification from a Higher Education Establishment within the UK to evidence your qualification is recognised at Degree standard (or level 3 standard).

Due to COVID 19 an online assessment process will be used until further notice. Read information on this assessment process.


The new process will enable rapid recruitment without face-to-face contact while social distancing measures are required. It will also enable secure online assessment to be part of an efficient and user-friendly candidate journey in the future.


The online assessment process

The online assessment process consists of a three-stage approach designed for the efficient assessment and recruitment of police constables. The three stages are:


Stage 1 – Situational judgement test (SJT)

This test measures your ability to choose the appropriate action in situations similar to those you are likely to face as a police constable. This test will measure your judgement and ability to make effective decisions against the Competency and Values Framework for Policing.

South Wales Police uses our own shortlisting tools so if you are invited to take part in the online assessment centre you will start the process at STAGE 2.


Stage 2 – Competency-based interview

You will be asked a series of questions about how you have dealt with specific situations in the past. This is your opportunity to provide some examples of the key competencies and values that are important for police constables. You can use examples from both your work and your personal life. If you have completed stage 1, you will be required to take stage 2 immediately upon completion.


Stage 3 – Written assessment and briefing exercise


Stage 3a – Written assessment

In this exercise, you will assume the role of a police constable and will have to complete an urgent written task for your line manager. You will receive four items of information to help you with this task.


Stage 3b – Briefing exercise

In this exercise, you will assume the role of a police constable and will have responsibility for dealing with some issues presented to you. You will be tasked with providing a response to a number of questions in relation to this issue. You will be provided with preparation materials to consider your answer.


Please note that you will receive and be able to take stages 3a and 3b separately.


Transferring Police National Assessment Centre (SEARCH) scores to South Wales Police

You are able to request to transfer your Assessment Centre score but only when we are advertising a recruitment campaign.

As part of the national recruitment process, South Wales Police consider applications from individuals who achieve an overall pass mark of 50% across each competency at the national assessment process (SEARCH). Please note that when you request to transfer your score you are still required to complete and submit an application form and complete any other sections of the recruitment process that you are guided to. You will not receive confirmation on whether your AC score has been accepted or not until after the campaign has closed.

The application process mirrors that of the Degree Holder Entry Programme PC process with the addition of an assessment focused on Detective competencies.

Fitness test

Policing can occasionally be physically demanding, so you will need to be in fairly good physical condition to pass the fitness test. The test will basically measure whether your fitness levels are high enough. For the endurance test, you will be asked to run back and forth a 15 metre track in time with a series of bleeps. As the test goes on, the bleeps become increasingly faster to level 5.4.
You will also be required to attend a pre-appointment fitness test approximately prior to the anticipated appointment date and you must pass this to progress your application.


Medical assessment

Due to the nature of police work, good health and fitness is paramount. However, applications are welcome from people with disabilities and every effort will be made to make reasonable adjustments if required. If you are successful at the interview stage you will undertake a medical examination.

There are certain medical conditions and disorders that may have a detrimental effect on your ability to conduct the role effectively; each case will be considered carefully as part of the medical process.


Body Mass Index (BMI)

Your weight range will be assessed during your medical assessment. The healthy weight range is based on a measurement known as your body mass index (BMI). This can be determined if you know your weight and your height. The actual calculation is your weight (in kilograms) divided by your height (in metres squared). Guidance and easy to use charts on how to calculate your BMI can be found on the NHS website.

The NHS advises that a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 suggests a normal healthy weight. This means your body is not at risk of weight-related disease.

The Home Office sets BMI standards for police officers. The current Home Office circular 59/2004 outlines this as between 18 and 30. Applicants who do not meet this standard may find their application delayed and / or will not be appointed.

Police Officer applicants with a BMI over 32 will not be considered fit unless their body fat percentage is less than 30% for men or 36% for women.


Vetting and references

The importance of honesty and integrity is made clear throughout our application process. Officers are subject to the Standards of Professional Behaviour, which clearly set out what communities can expect from their officers.

References are required to cover a minimum of 3 years of continuous employment history. If you have not been in employment for 3 years we will look to obtain education and personal references.


Drugs test and biometric vetting

You will also be asked to undertake a drugs test and provide information about any medication you may be taking. Legislation has been introduced that requires applicants to undergo biometric vetting.

If you should fail the drugs test you will not be offered a position with South Wales Police. Any internal candidates who fail a drugs test will have their offer withdrawn and the results from the drugs test may be used in accordance with the South Wales Police Staff Discipline Police and Police Staff Code of Conduct.

On the day we will be asking you to sign a consent form to take your fingerprints and a sample of your DNA for the purposes of a speculative search and for your fingerprints and DNA profile to be retained on the Police Elimination Database (PEDb).

The purpose of obtaining fingerprints and DNA samples is to allow for a speculative search to be made against the local and national databases prior to your appointment to the police force. This is to ensure that you have not previously come to adverse police attention, which you have not informed us of, and also that you are not linked to any outstanding crime scenes.

There is no doubt that this is a demanding and rewarding programme. You will undergo an intense 2 year training programme, during which time you will complete mandatory training such as personal safety and first aid training alongside academic learning via a Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing in conjunction with University of Wales Trinity St David.


You will have up to 26 weeks in initial police learning before a response policing attachment where you will be required to achieve independent patrol status. You will be expected to sit the National Investigators Examination at or around the 9 month point when you will be deployed into an investigative role within the South Wales area.


You will complete your more specialised investigative training in year 2 and are required to complete and submit a portfolio of evidence to achieve detective accreditation.