One step ahead of the criminals is where we need to be, so we recruit people from virtually every walk of life.
Want to join our fight to tackle serious and organised crime? Learn more about our entry routes.
Ways to join the NCA
Our officers come from all walks of life, so there are several different ways to join the NCA, including:
- Direct entry (Initial Operational Training Programme)
- Internships and student placements
- Applying for an open vacancy
Some of our roles require particular qualifications - for example, a vacancy for an experienced investigator may require you to have PIP2. Where that's the case the advert will make it clear. For many roles however we're looking for the right skills and qualities you may have developed from life experience as much as your professional background.
We welcome applications to join us from police forces and other government departments on secondment, as this helps us grow as an agency and gives us a greater diversity of thought and backgrounds. All of which helps us be in the best possible position to fight serious and organised crime. Secondments are normally for a period of 2-5 years – your release on secondment would need to be agreed with your home force or department.
Most of our officers work in investigative or intelligence roles.
As an NCA Investigator you could be working against any one or more of the serious and organised crime threats we combat, from child sexual exploitation to illegal firearms, cyber crime, money laundering and more. You might be a firearms officer, use behavioural insights to disrupt criminal operations, track and arrest wanted fugitives, be deployed overseas as an International Liaison Officer or anything in between.
As an NCA Intelligence Officer you likewise may be working against any of the serious and organised crime threats we lead the fight against. You might work in an intelligence gathering or analytical role, building our picture of organised crime groups impacting on the UK. As an intelligence officer you may also be deployed overseas as an international liaison officer.
While most of our officers work in intelligence or investigations it takes a team to combat serious and organised crime. Other roles we recruit for include:
- Serious crime analysis
- Child protection
- Human Resources
- Project and programme management
- Technology roles
- Finance and commercial
Whatever your role, as an NCA officer you'll play a vital part in the success of our mission.
Read more about NCA roles.
Age and nationality requirements
Any essential requirements for specific NCA posts will be listed in the job specification and advert.
There is no upper age limit to becoming an NCA officer, but you must be at least 18 years old. As long as you're fit enough and have the skills and experience we're looking for then age isn't a barrier. All new starters have a health screening as part of pre-employment checks to ensure that you're fit enough to perform in the role.
You must meet Civil Service nationality standards to join the NCA. We’ll normally only appoint nationals from the UK, Republic of Ireland, the Commonwealth and the European Economic Area. It is important that you have not spent a significant time abroad immediately prior to your application.
Wounded, injured and sick Armed Forces personnel
We offer placements for Armed Forces personnel facing medical discharge under our Wounded, Injured and Sick Service Personnel programme. The scheme provides placements to troops on rehabilitation programmes.
This helps veterans in the transition from military to civilian life, and provides us with a valuable source of highly trained personnel with vast life experience.
If this suits your situation, please speak with your Career Transition Partnership Manager or Commanding Officer.
At the NCA we've been inspired by the success of the Special Constabulary in policing. Building on this success, we too enhance our workforce through the use of volunteer crime-fighters, which we call ‘NCA Specials.
Whilst police Special Constables traditionally provide general support to their Force, NCA Specials are recruited because of their specialist, niche expertise and skills that are rarely available within law enforcement, but that are of huge value in the fight against serious and organised crime.