How to become a Detective



estimated salary
What do they do?

Considering becoming a Detective? Good thinking Sherlock…

For fans of Inspectors Frost, Morse, Gadget et al, it’s easy to imagine the world of detectives being all about stakeouts and high profile crime cases. However, there’s much more to the profession than fast cars and fancy hats.

Detectives are plain-clothed police officers, specialising in investigating serious crimes, such as murder, manslaughter and fraud. They usually work within the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), but could also work within specific units depending on the type of crime they are investigating.

Cases are allocated on a rotating basis, but typical responsibilities may include:

  • Investigating crimes and visiting crime scenes
  • Interviewing witnesses and suspects connected to the crime
  • Monitoring suspects and carrying out undercover surveillance work
  • Examining records, preparing case files, and completing any other paperwork
  • Liaising with other members of the police force to help close their cases
Is it right for me?

Becoming a Detective takes dedication and a tremendous amount of hard work, especially when you’re just starting out. It really isn’t your typical nine-to-five job.

You will be working on your own for vast lengths of time, meaning the profession is best-suited to those who enjoy their own company and can take their own initiative. A strong constitution will also be similarly essential, as some crimes may be particularly violent or upsetting.

Other key skills include:

    • Honesty and integrity
    • Excellent judgement and observational skills
    • Alertness
    • Objectivity
    • Problem-solving skills
    • A cool head in times of crisis
    • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
Career Progression?


Up to 35,000

Detective Sergeant

Up to 45,000

Detective Inspector

Up to 50,000

What's it really like?

Primarily, it’s nothing like you see on TV. For a start, I don’t even like lollipops (sorry Kojak fans). Being a Detective is much more about doing everything in your power to make sure justice is done. It can be harrowing at times, and it’s not all action-packed either. There’s a lot of paperwork to be done, and red tape to manoeuvre. However, all that work is worth it when you help solve a case.

Get qualified

To become a Detective, you must have worked for at least two years in a uniformed position within the police force, and also pass specific entry examinations.

Private Investigating Course

The course has been designed for someone without any prior knowledge of the subject and will allow the student to study the course at their own pace in their own home, emailed directly to your inbox.

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Private Investigator Course - Offer

This course gives the learner the information and training to understand the art of the Private Investigator and the buggist via E-Learning, Comprehensive images and additional content.

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