How to Become a Police Officer in Nigeria – 3 Different Ways

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The Nigerian Police Force (NPF) is one of the respected parastatals in Nigeria. As a result, it has made many young and mature individuals develop an interest in becoming police officers in Nigeria.

However, becoming a police officer is no child’s play in Nigeria. The police, when on duty, risk their lives. They constantly put themselves in harm’s way just to protect the citizens of Nigeria. When a crime occurs anywhere in the country, the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) officers are always the first on the scene. They do their best to restore law and order, as well as peace and serenity. I would say it is the noblest and most selfless service a person can render to people who are mostly strangers.

Different Ways to Become a Police Officer in Nigeria

Joining the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) is not a one-way channel; people use different means.

Here are some of the ways to become a police officer in Nigeria:

  • through the Nigeria Police Academy (POLAC)
  • though Nigerian ASP Recruitment Program
  • through the Nigeria Police Recruitment Service
640px A police officer coordinating traffic
A police officer on traffic duty

Becoming a Police Officer Through the Nigeria Police Academy (POLAC)

The Nigeria Police Academy (POLAC) is the best way to join the Force, especially for people with only WAEC or O’level certificates. POLAC is a Federal University in Wudil, Kano State, Nigeria, founded mainly for individuals interested in a Police career. In the past, the Academy only admitted police recruits or students and trained them for 18 months. Only police courses throughout.

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Nigerian police officers in Somalia

But in 2012, this changed. Now, any interested individual can attend POLAC to become a police officer in Nigeria and have a standard bachelor’s degree. Giving such individuals two choices of career. Through their course of study (five years), the students will move through ranks and graduate as Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP). I will discuss more police ranks in Nigeria later in the article; stay tuned.

Requirements to Join the Nigeria Police Academy (POLAC)

Here is a list of entry requirements to join the Police Academy:

  • You must have an O’level result (WAEC, NECO) with at least five credits, including English Language and General Mathematics, in no more than two sittings.
  • You must score at least 180 marks in UTME.
  • You must be at least 18 years old and not above 24 years.
  • You must be physically fit.
  • You must be mentally stable.
  • Female applicants must not be pregnant.
  • As a male, you must be at least 5 ft 6″ (1.67 m) and 5 ft 4″ (1.62 m) for a female.
  • Your expanded chest measurement must be at least 36 inches or 91.44 cm.
  • You must possess Nigerian citizenship.
  • You must have a valid Nigerian means of identification (Permanent Voter’s Card, National ID Card or NIN Slip, International Passport)
  • You must not be an ex-convict.
  • You must have good conduct.

How to Apply to POLAC

Applying to POLAC is just like any other tertiary institution in Nigeria.

  • You must write WAEC or NECO and have at least five credits, including your English and Mathematics.
  • Afterward, register for UTME and choose POLAC as the first choice of your institution.
  • Make sure you have chosen the right subject combination in UTME for the ordinary course you’d like to study in POLAC.
  • Then, you must sit for UTME and score at least 180 out of 400. Always aim for higher scores because admission into POLAC is highly competitive. Lower scores can prolong your journey to becoming a police officer in Nigeria by one year or more.
  • Once you have your results (WAEC and UTME) and meet the minimum requirements, you must buy the Nigeria Police Academy form. The form costs ₦3000 and can be procured from the POLAC website. 
  • After payment, you will register for the Computer-Based Test and provide accurate information as required.
  • Then, the Academy will set a date for your CBT exam.
  • Once you are done with the application, don’t forget to print your Examination Card and Acknowledgement Form. You will need them for screening together with your JAMB result slip and two passport photographs.
  • On the day of your CBT exam, get to your assigned center at least one hour before your exam time. Make sure you go prepared and conduct yourself appropriately.
  • The CBT exam for every candidate is general. It comprises General Mathematics, English, Current Affairs, and Aptitude or General Knowledge.
  • After the exam, submit your answers on time, log out and gently exit the center.

How to know your Admission Status into POLAC

The two stages involved in your admission process into POLAC are the shortlisting and the screening stages.

Shortlisting is done using the combination of your UTME, O’level, and CBT results. Naturally, the highest-scoring applicants will gain the top positions on the shortlist.

If you are lucky to find yourself in the shortlisted candidates, you are one step closer to becoming a police officer in Nigeria. Now, you should start packing your bags to do your physical screening at the Nigeria Police Academy in Kano State when they set the date.

At the physical screening, the examiners will screen you for all of the entry requirements such as height, age, physical agility, medicals, etc. You may need to spend several days at POLAC for the screening process. You will get to make new friends and build new relationships.

If you pass the screening, you will gain admission into the Nigeria Police Academy and have to start immediately. At that moment, you’re less than five years away from becoming a commissioned Nigerian Police Officer.
One thing about POLAC is that the Academy is entirely tuition-free, and the government will still pay you your salary every year till you graduate. You will start from the lowest rank of a police officer, Constable, and get your promotion as the years go by. By graduating, you will be a Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police with one star.

Becoming a Police OfficerThrough the ASP Recruitment Program

The ASP Recruitment Program is designed to train and recruit graduates with the desire to join the Nigerian Police Force. This is because the minimum qualification for the position of ASP is HND or BSC. However, unlike Police Academy, which takes in new cadets every year, the ASP Program is only available when the Police Service Commission is short of ASPs.

The exercise is made available to the public through news and press releases for prospects to apply. Interested graduates who meet the qualifications then apply through the means provided by the Commission. The lucky or most qualified applicants get invitations to attend a police training college for about 9 to 12 months. Once they complete their training, the Police Recruitment Department recruits them as Cadet ASP.

Requirements to Join the ASP Recruitment Program

  •  must have an O’level result (WAEC, NECO) with at least five credits, including English Language and General Mathematics, in no more than two sittings.
  • You must be a graduate.
  • You must hold an HND or Bachelor’s Degree from a recognized Nigerian tertiary institution.
  • You must be at least 18 years old and not above 28 years.
  • You must be physically fit.
  • You must be mentally stable.
  • The female applicant must not be pregnant.
  • As a male, you must be at least 5 ft 6″ (1.67 m) and 5 ft 4″ (1.62 m) for a female.
  • Your expanded chest measurement must be at least 36 inches or 91.44 cm.
  • You must possess Nigerian citizenship.
  • You must have a valid Nigerian means of identification (Permanent Voter’s Card, National ID Card or NIN Slip, International Passport)
  • You must not be an ex-convict.
  • You must have good conduct.

Becoming a Police Officer Through the Nigerian Police Recruitment Service

This is usually characterized by mass recruitment orders into the Nigerian Police Force (NPF). When writing this article, the Police Service Commission is recruiting 10,000 people to become police officers in Nigeria as Constables.


The requirements for this method of joining the Force are quite the same as the ASP Program. However, the minimum qualifications go as low as O’level, to A’level, OND, and then HND, BSc.

The Registration

Interested candidates can apply through the means indicated by the Commission in the news, press release, or flyer. Most of the time, the means of application is through the recruitment portal https://www.policerecruitment.gov.ng/.

You need to do the following to complete your registration:

  • Navigate to the registration button
  • Check the application guidelines and understand them so you can prevent mistakes
  • Provide your contact details
  • Input your NIN and tap verify afterward

After you have completed the application, wait for a few weeks after the deadline. If you receive an email or text message from the Commission, you have been shortlisted for medical exams and screening.

During the medical exams and screening exercises, they check that you meet all the requirements for the job position and your physical fitness. If you pass the benchmark or cut off for the screening, your name will make the Merit List. To know your status, you can check the Recruitment Portal frequently by looking for the Merit List for the year you applied.

Once you pass your medical exams, the next step is to print your Invitation Slip from the Portal. You will use this as proof of enrollment in the police training schools when they open. It is what the training college will request from you during documentation. To print the Slip, have your NIN ready and go to the Portal. Input your NIN in the field and hit Print Slip.

Items to be Taken to the Training College

Here are some of the items you must take with you to your training school or college:

  • Two (2) pairs of white round-neck T-shirts and short knickers.
  • Two (2) pairs of white Trainers’ shoes and white socks.
  • Two (2) pairs of white sportswear.
  • Two (2) pairs of white bed sheets.
  • Two (2) pairs of white pillowcases.
  • Face mask and hand sanitizer.
  • Small food flask with two flat plates and a set of cutlery.
  • A hoe, cutlass, and a broom.
  • Bucket and toiletries.
  • Hard cover notebook and pen.
  • Original copy of Identity Card/Slip.
  • Original copies of credentials.
  • A printout of the BVN slip with a clear picture of the applicant.
  • Four (4) copies of Passport photographs with white background.

Ranks of Police Officers in Nigeria

The ranks of police officers in Nigeria fall under the Command Structure of the Nigerian Police Force Structure. There are 15 ranks in the Force for officers to move through. Some people may get promotions faster if they achieve more success in their cases as time goes on or have better academic qualifications. The lowest rank is a Constable, while the highest is the Inspector-General of Police (IGP). The IGP controls the entire Police Force in the country.

Police applicants with only an SSCE certificate start from the Constable position and move up the rank slowly. Those with OND or NCE start their career in the Force as Inspector of Police, while graduates with BSC or HND and NYSC certificates become Assistant Superintendent from day one.

Here are the fifteen (15) ranks of Police Officers in Nigeria, from the highest to the lowest:

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP)

The IGP is the highest ranking police officer in the entire Federation. He gives orders to the Deputy Inspector-Generals of Police (DIGs), who then pass them through the chain of commands till it reaches every officer. Before a person can be appointed as IGP, he must be at least an Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) and possess the highest qualifications and experience among eligible AIGs and DIGs.

640px Nigerian Police Force OF 9b Inspector General
Inspector-General distinctions

The Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG)

As many police officers can head the DIG position as possible according to Section 5 of the Police Act. Presently, there are eight (8) DIGs in the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) heading various Departments.

The DIGs can only give instructions to the entire Force in the absence of the IGP. Otherwise, they take orders from the IGP directly. However, the DIGs function based on their specific Department. The minimum qualification for the position is AIG.

The Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG)

The AIGs work directly under the DIGs as right-hand men. They are heads of different zonal police offices in Nigeria. Each zone comprises about three (3) states, all in the same geo-political zone. There are presently 15 Police Zonal Headquarters in Nigeria. This means that Nigeria currently has 15 AIGs. AIGs, by the Constitution, have the power to act as the DIG in his absence.

The Commissioner of Police (CP)

The Commissioner of Police controls the activities in his state. They are usually appointed by the IGP and receive orders only from him or anyone representing the IGP.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP)

DCPs serve directly under the CP of their state. They receive direct instructions from him and oversee the activities in their assigned areas. DCPs give orders to their ACPs and also act as the CP in his absence.

The Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP)

The ACP is a figurehead under the DCP and CP. He takes orders from his superiors and can only act as the DCP in his absence. When the time comes, they are usually considered for the post of CP if they meet the required qualifications.

The Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP)

Just like the DIG heads a Police Department at the Federal level, the CSP does so at the State level. He has a secretary just like the DIG and works in-hand with the Superintendent of Police (SP).

The Superintendent of Police (SP) and His Deputy (DSP)

The Superintendent of Police gets orders from the CSP and carries them out with the help of the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP). The SP has the power to act as the CSP in his absence.

The Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP)

The ASP is the second lowest-ranked commissioned police officer in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF). This is the entry-level rank for most graduates with first degrees and cadets from the Police Academy (POLAC).

The Inspector of Police

The Inspector of Police is the lowest-ranked commissioned police officer in the NPF. To get this position, you need to have at least OND as a qualification. The Inspector is in charge of all the non-commissioned police officers in the Force and is directly.

Non-commissioned Police Officers

The non-commissioned police officers’ ranks in Nigeria, from the highest to the lowest, are:

  • Sergeant Major (highest-ranked)
  • Sergeant
  • Corporal
  • Constable (lowest-ranked)

Departments in the Nigerian Police Force (NPF)

There are presently eight (8) departments in the Nigeria Police Force for you to consider if you want to become a police officer. The ones you qualify for would be based on your skills or first degree.

  • Department of Finance and Administration
  • Department of Operations
  • Department of Logistics and Supply
  • Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID)
  • Department of Training and Development
  • Department of Research and Planning
  • Department of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
  • Force Intelligence Bureau
  • Force Secretary* (for only the IG)
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Nigerian police officers

Police Officers’ Salary in Nigeria

The salary structure of the Nigeria Police Force, according to Wikipedia, is shown in the table below:

SNRANKSMonthly SalaryYearly Salary
1Police Recruit₦9,019.42₦108,233.04
2aPolice Constable Grade Level 03₦43,293.83₦519,525.60
BPolice Constable Grade Level 10₦49,113.59₦613,363.08
3aPolice Corporal on Grade Level 04 (1)₦44,715.53₦536,586.36
BPolice Corporal on Grade Level 04 (10)₦51,113.59₦613,363.08
4aPolice Sergeant on Grade Level 05 (1)₦48,540.88₦582,490.56
BPolice Sergeant on Grade Level 05 (10)₦55,973.84₦671,686.08
5aSergeant Major on Grade Level 06 (1)₦55,144.81₦661,737.72
BSergeant Major on Grade Level 06 (10)₦62,204.88₦746,458.56
6aCadet Inspector on Grade Level 07 (1)₦73,231.51₦878,778.12
bCadet Inspector on Grade Level 07 (10)₦87,135.70₦1,045,628.40
7aAssistant Superintendent of Police on Grade Level 08 (1)₦127,604.68₦1,531,256.16
bAssistant Superintendent of Police on Grade Level 08 (10)₦144,152.07₦1,729,824.84
8aAssistant Superintendent of Police on Grade Level 09 (1)₦136,616.06₦1,639,392.72
bAssistant Superintendent of Police on Grade Level 09 (10)₦156,318.39₦1,875,820.68
9aDeputy Superintendent of Police on Grade Level 10 (1)₦148,733.29₦1,784,799.48
bDeputy Superintendent of Police on Grade Level 10 (10)₦170,399.69₦2,044,796.28
10aSuperintendent of Police on Level 11 (1)₦161,478.29₦1,937,739.49
bSuperintendent of Police on Grade Level 11 (10)₦187,616₦2,251,400.28
11aChief Superintendent of Police on Grade Level 12 (1)₦172,089.06₦2,065,068.72
bChief Superintendent of Police on Grade Level 12 (08)₦199,723.96₦2,396,687.52
12aAssistant Commissioner of Police on Grade Level 13 (1)₦183,185.73₦2,198,228.76
bAssistant Commissioner of Police on Grade Level 13 (10)₦212,938.96₦2,555,257.92
13aDeputy Commissioner of Police on Grade Level 14 (1)₦242,715.65₦2,912,587.80
bDeputy Commissioner of Police on Grade Level 14 (07)₦278,852.79₦3,346,233.48
14aCommissioner of Police on Grade Level 15 (1)₦266,777.79₦3,201,333.48
bCommissioner for Police on Grade Level 15 (06)₦302,970.47₦3,635,645.64
15Assistant Inspector General of Police₦499,751.87₦5,997,022.44
16Deputy Inspector General of Police₦546,572.73₦6,558,872.76
17Inspector General of Police₦711,498₦8,537,976

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