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Return to investigative practice

We're working with the Government Equalities Office and police forces across England and Wales to encourage people who have left policing for care-giving reasons to come back to work in detective or police staff investigator roles in the police service.

The Return to Investigative Practice (RTIP) pilot project will run between April 2019 and March 2020. Alongside our project partners, we aim to equip those who have left the police for care-giving reasons – to start a family, care for a relative or friend or for other reasons – with the necessary skills, training and confidence to return to work in policing. We'll explore the best ways to support rejoiners to the police and establish an evidence base for police forces to build on in the future.

Many police forces in England and Wales face an investigative shortfall and are adopting different initiatives to address this deficit. We'll support the participating forces to build up their investigative capacity over time.

The Government Equalities Office funds returner programmes across the public and private sectors. By working together with them on the RTIP project, we'll be able to provide further evidence of the best ways to support those rejoining the workforce, the public sector and policing.

The forces participating in the project are:

  • Hampshire
  • Surrey
  • Sussex
  • Kent
  • Essex
  • Thames Valley
  • City of London
  • Greater Manchester

This is an exciting time to consider rejoining policing, and the RTIP project will lay the groundwork to enable us to support rejoiners across the country in the future.

Changes to regulations

Changes to police regulations now allow those who have left policing to return at any point and at the same, lower or higher rank, subject to suitability and force need. Previously, officers had to return to policing within five years, or else start police constable training again. This is no longer required.

We have produced guidance on the changes to regulations. Find out more and download the guidance.

Am I eligible?

If you completed your initial probation when you joined as a police constable, left policing for care-giving reasons and are now contemplating rejoining the police, then you should consider applying through the RTIP project. Subject to business need, the nine participating forces will be offering detective and police staff investigator roles. You'll also need to be living within one of the force's recruitment areas to be eligible.

What do I need to do?

If you're interested in participating or just want to know more about the project, please fill out the Expression of Interest form.

We'll collect information on the force and rank at which you would be interested in rejoining, as well as some information on your background in policing. All the information on the form is anonymous, and will be used to help us gauge the level of demand for different rejoiner roles in different forces. Please see our privacy notice for further details on how we'll use your information.

At the end of the online form, you will be asked to email your name and contact details to We'll use these details to contact you when rejoiner vacancies are made available by our forces, and to make you aware of the support and guidance available through the RTIP project. You won't receive any other forms of information from us – again, please see the privacy notice for further details.