Here we’ve done a line up of the most frequently asked questions by people wanting to join the police force, or just wanting to know a little more about the role of a police officer.
Check out our FAQ’s here;
Although no formal qualifications are needed to become a police officer, you will have to undergo a series of assessments in order to secure the role. These will test your basic understanding of maths, English, communication and decision making skills.
Generally, you will have needed to be a resident in the UK for three years prior to applying to join the police. However, all forces are different, please check with individual forces.
You have to be a minimum of 18.5 years old in order to join the police. Some forces will let you start the application process prior to turning 18.5, as long as you will be 18.5 years on commencement of the role. You can be a Police Cadet from the age of 16, however, this is not a paid role.
Currently, you do not have to be a Special Constable in order to apply for a role as a Police Officer. The role of a Special Constable is a voluntary one.
No, being a Special Constable does not guarantee you a role as a police officer, however, it will provide you with an invaluable insight into policing, which is likely to assist your understanding of the role and therefore the interview process.
There is no height restriction for people wanting to become a Police Officer. Historically, there was a separate height restriction for men and women wanting to join the police.
A Special Constable is a voluntary police officer. They have all of the same powers as a Police Officer.
Police Officers work an average of a 40 hour work week. There is the option for additional hours to be worked as overtime when the need arises. In different forces officers will work different shift patterns.
PCSOs are an integral part of the policing family. They share some of the same powers of police officers, but not all; for example to power to arrest. Their primary role should be engaging with the community and offering community reassurance, opposed to apprehending offenders.
There is no easy answer to this question, it depends on what the conviction is for and when it occurred. People working in the police are vulnerable to targeting from criminals due to the information that they have access to. Having a criminal record may make you even more vulnerable. All applicants will go through a vetting process whereby any previous convictions will be considered.
This has recently changed. Previously, you did need a full driving license in order to apply to be a police officer. Now you need to have obtained a full driving license BEFORE you have completed your initial training in order to be confirmed in post as a police officer.
There is no requirement for PCSOs to have a UK driving license in order to apply for a role. However, it would be beneficial for PCSOs to be able to drive.
There is no requirement for Special Constables to have a full UK driving license in order to apply.
Officers receive a full salary during their training phase.
This will depend on the issues you have and how they affect you on a day to day basis. Before you apply it may be worth speaking with your GP to seek their opinion as to whether your conditions would make you suitable for the role of a Police officer, and indeed, whether the role is suitable for you. If you have already applied, have this conversation with your GP and the Forces Occupational Health department.
You may still be able to join the police if you are on medications. This would be best discussed with your GP prior to application to seek their views as to whether the role would be suitable for you.
You must hold a full manual UK driving licence and must not have more than 6 penalty points from within the last 5 years.
If you have outstanding County Court Judgments (CCJs) or been registered bankrupt with outstanding debts, it is highly likely that you will be rejected. If you have discharged bankruptcy debts, you will need to provide a Certificate of Satisfaction with your application. This will be assessed as part of the vetting process.
No! Simply put, if you lie on your police application and you are found out (regardless of how long you have held the post) you may be dismissed from the force.
If you are going to be a police officer, PCSO or Special Constable, you will need a level of fitness in order to join the police. You may find yourself in confrontational situations where you need to defend yourself, therefore some fitness if required. If you can do a gently jog for around 10 minutes, you should be able to pass the police fitness test.
There is no longer an upper age limit for joining the police. However, you need to be mindful that you need to be able to pass the fitness test on an annual basis. Experience is certainly valued within policing which should encourage people with life experience to apply.
The application process can take up to a year from initially submitting the application, to going to an assessment centre, followed by an interview in force. After this there is a process for vetting candidates, once this has happened, you will then need to wait for an intake to begin.
Police officers should only bring home the uniform that needs washing; trousers, shirts and fleeces / jumpers. Kit such as asp, handcuffs etc should be left in their lockers and the station they work.
English does not have to be your first language in order to join the police. Speaking multiple languages is a desired skill in UK policing. and English test is part of the recruitment process for all prospective officers, there are mock tests you can do online in order to test your level of English.
Yes, you can still apply to become a Police Officer if you are dyslexic. If you require reasonable adjustments i.e. extra time during your assessment, you must submit a psychologist’s report which was undertaken when you were aged 16 or over in conjunction with your application.
Yes, you can become a police officer even if you are suffering some form of color vision deficiency. However, this may prevent you from taking up specialist roles, such as firearms, further into your career.
Yes, you can wear contact lenses and join the police. As part of the recruitment process, you will undergo an eye test.
Yes, if you consider yourslef to have a disibility, contact the force prior to application to see if resonable adjustments can be made during the recruitment process.
Yes, you can apply if you are ex-military. You just need to be retired or be working through your resettlement phase. The attributes of ex-military are often desirable to police forces.
Have a question that you can’t seen the answer to above? Ask us and we will see if we can find out the answer for you.