Changes have been made to the level of qualifications needed to become a police officer with Derbyshire Constabulary.
Previously, anyone applying to become an officer would have needed an educational qualification of NVQ level three or the equivalent.
Anyone who did not have that would not have been able to progress through the process.
However, the entry requirements have now been changed to allow people with relevant experience – not necessarily educational – to go for it.
That may include work or training experience that people have gained, which is considered to be of an equivalent standard to an NVQ level three.
The change has been made in time for the next police officer recruitment window, which opens up for applications on Tuesday, September 20.
Deputy Chief Constable Peter Goodman, who is the force’s lead on recruitment, said: "We recognise the value that can be brought by people who have gained their skills and experience from a whole range of routes and by either working or training in many different areas.
"Formal education at higher levels can certainly help to prepare individuals to perform the role of constable, but so can experience gained though working, training and volunteering in the community.
"I am delighted to be making this announcement and I am confident that by changing our recruitment criteria in this way we will attract applicants from a more diverse range of backgrounds.
"This in turn will help the Derbyshire Constabulary to more accurately reflect the communities it serves and to increase the quality of the policing service we provide."
The new entry requirements are:
- An NVQ level three qualification
- An academic or vocational qualification gained outside England and Wales which is considered by the UK National Recognition Information Centre to be the equivalent of an NVQ level three
- A policing qualification approved by the Sector Skills Council for the Justice Sector
- Training or work experience, whether undertaken in or outside England and Wales, which is considered by the Chief Officer to be equivalent to a level three qualification
Further information on the various entry routes can be found on the Derbyshire police website at www.derbyshire.police.uk/PoliceOfficerRecruitment.
Positive action officer Charlotte Hurst is leading campaigns to encourage people from under-represented groups to apply.
She said: "The force is striving to be the best reflection of the community it serves and to achieve that, we are urging people from all backgrounds to apply.
"There are a number of communities in Derbyshire who are under-represented – or not represented at all – in the police.
"The shift in the entry requirements means that those who don’t have qualifications in England and Wales but who do have the right skills and attitude can now apply and pursue a career in policing.
"We are therefore urging people from those communities to join our policing family."
Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Hardyal Dhindsa, welcomed the announcement and said he was pleased to see such proactive work to recruit people from different and diverse backgrounds.
He added: "The constabulary is opening new pathways to enable people to apply to join the force that do not necessarily require specific academic qualifications, which I feel is really positive progress.
"I've been clear since I was elected that I wished to see Derbyshire Constabulary with a workforce representative of the diverse community it serves and I think this move will help. It fits well with the strategic priorities in my Police and Crime Plan and meets the Home Affairs Select Committee’s recommendations on promoting diversity in police forces."
Anyone who wants to apply needs to fill in an application form on the force website.
The window to do so opens at 9.30am on Tuesday, September 20 and closes at 11.59pm on Thursday, September 22. You will not be able to apply once the window closes.
Further information on what happens next can be found at www.derbyshire.police.uk.