Last week we had a post on Training to be a police officer, the week before that, Training to be a Detective and it got me to thinking about how long it would take your officer to become the DI, DCI they were (you may well be writing from the point of view of a lower rank DC or a higher rank superintendent – this post will help you as well.) Because, you have to stay in certain positions for allocated periods of time before you can move on/apply for the next rank/next role. This will have a bearing on the age of your protagonist. How old they were when they joined and how old they are now they are a specific rank.
So, let’s look at the process of rising through the police to be a DCI.
Go back to last weeks post to learn more. But basically, you join the police and have to do two years in uniform. It’s called being in your probation and you can not move onto anything else before this time is up. You can take your sergeants exam before the two years ends, but you can’t do anything with it. It gives you a head start though.
Look at the previous week’s post for more in-depth information. You usually apply for a post on a CID department and once in post you then start the process of training to become a fully qualified DC. You are given study material three months before you sit an exam, which runs four times a year. Once you have passed the exam you do the six-week course before going back to your department to continue working and completing a portfolio that will evidence your skills as a detective. Completion of the portfolio takes about a year but you have longer if needs be. On a busy department, even though you are regularly evidencing the skill set, you can sometimes get behind on completing the paperwork needed to pass.
Notice I put taking your detective exams before going for promotion. That’s because your protagonist is most likely in a CID department and needs to be a qualified detective. It’s a more circuitous route to go for promotion then train to be a detective. It does mean that you spend the least amount of time in uniform though. (But, your character may not have. They may have taken a while to get where they are.)
To be promoted to the rank of sergeant you need to;
- Prove competence in current rank.
- Sit an examination. (The pass is valid for 5 years.)
- Have an assessment against rank specific competencies.
- Temporary promotion for 12 months for further assessment in role.
So, you’ve been a substantive sergeant and want to go for promotion again. You have to have been in the role of substantive sergeant for two years before you can apply to be an inspector. Then wash and rinse the above process again to apply for promotion for inspector. Though the temporary promotion section is a fairly new model and your protagonist may have missed that. But you still had to have been a sergeant for two years before you could apply for inspector. And don’t forget to factor in going through the process itself.
Detective Chief Inspector.
Needs to have been in role for two years as an inspector as well as multiple other criteria.
Fast Track Promotion (previously Accelerated promotion)
Helps officers who want to rise through the ranks to inspector do so as quickly as possible. You have to apply to the scheme and only a few are put through it. More information can be found on this at the College of Policing website.
As you see, it takes time to progress. With the examinations, and evidencing you’re capable of the role. It is possible to get through the process rapidly, but you have to be very focused and determined and you’d need to show your character as that kind of person.
Rebecca Bradley is a retired UK police detective and now a crime writer.
She writes the DI Hannah Robbins series.
When catching a killer isn’t enough…
The naked, battered body of an unidentified teenager is found dumped in an alleyway and post-mortem finds evidence of a harrowing series of events.
Another teenage death with the same MO pushes DI Hannah Robbins and her team in the Nottingham City division Major Crimes Unit, to their limits, and across county borders. In a race against the clock, they attempt to unpick a thick web of lies and deceit to uncover the truth behind the deaths.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Just how far are the team willing to push themselves to save the next girl?