Can I Easily Transfer Between Police Forces In The UK?

  • Time to Read: 7 min.

Feeling unfulfilled in your current role as a police officer? Are you looking for a change of scenery and an opportunity to join another force? Or even just wanting to move closer to family? Then the great news is that transferring between police forces in the UK is made simple. It allows officers to move around the country while still staying part of the same family, providing not only job security but also a sense of belonging with other like-minded individuals. In this article we will answer the question, ‘Can I Easily Transfer Between Police Forces In The UK?’

In this article, we’ll not only explore how easy it is to transfer between police forces in the UK and what steps need to be taken in order to successfully make the transition.

We’ll look at how existing qualifications can help you find work within new departments and how long it takes from applying until completion.

Can I Easily Transfer Between Police Forces

With all this information under your belt, you’ll have everything you need to start planning your move.

So if you’re ready for something new and want to take advantage of the opportunities on offer by transferring between police forces across the UK, then read on!

Overview Of Police Transfer Process

If you’re looking to transfer between police forces in the UK, then it’s important to understand the process involved. Here we’ll provide a brief overview of what that entails – so read on if this is something you’re interested in.

STEP ONE: Identify Vacancies

The first step is to get in touch with your current force and express an interest in transferring. It’s essential to check whether they will accept applications from outside officers, as some may only allow internal transfers.

Most forces will advertise this on their force vacancies site, however, it never hurts to call the force and make contact too. It will show that you are keen.

STEP TWO: Application Process

Then, you’ll need to fill out an application form detailing why you would like to move and send it off for consideration.

These application forms are normally online, and again, available via the individual force’s vacancies page.

STEP THREE: Interview

Interview. None of us like these. However, it is likely that you will have to travel to your chosen force for a face to face interview. This is a great opportunity for you to go an visit the force and see whether it is for you, as well as asking any lingering questions you may have.

STEP FOUR: Vetting & Medical

Once your request has been accepted, the next stage is completing various vetting checks before being cleared for transfer. This includes providing references. This will include undergoing medical assessments.

STEP FIVE: Fitness Test

You will likely have to complete a fitness test before formally being offered a post in the new force. This is no different from your annual fitness test.

STEP SIX: Formal Offer

Once all these have been completed successfully, your name will be added to a list of available candidates seeking transfer and sent through to other police forces who are recruiting at the time. If successful, the new force will contact you directly with details about their requirements and start dates.
It can take several weeks or months for the entire process to be completed depending on how quickly each individual department acts upon your application – but if everything goes smoothly then soon enough you could be part of another police force.

Eligibility Requirements For Transferring Between Police Forces

There are several eligibility requirements you must meet if you want to transfer from one force to another.

You’ll need to have at least two years of service with your current police force before being eligible for transfer.

That said, some forces may require more than two years of experience depending on which department you’re coming from or going into.

A prime example of this is that a force I was recently doing work with was short of detectives within their core CID and PVP. As such, they were only accepting transferees who were already accredited detectives.

The same is often true for trained firearms officers.

It’s important to do your research beforehand so that you know exactly what each individual force requires of its officers when it comes to transfers.

Making sure you fulfill all these criteria will ensure that your transition between forces goes smoothly – giving you access to exciting new opportunities while remaining part of an organisation dedicated to keeping communities safe around the country.

Benefits Of Transferring To A Different Force

Transferring to a different police force can be incredibly beneficial for many reasons. It offers the opportunity to expand your horizons and gain valuable experience in a whole new environment.

Career Advancement

There are endless possibilities when it comes to advancing your career and increasing the scope of your expertise, so it’s worth considering if you feel like you could use a change from your current role.

Not only can transferring give you an exciting challenge, but it also provides the chance to meet new people and build relationships with colleagues outside of what you’re used to. Also, if you’re planning on moving forces again in the future, potentially for promotion, you’re building your network of colleagues, which will support you in the future.

Some forces prefer those that they select to be part of their Chief Officer Group (COG), to have worked at different forces. This is because people who have worked at different forces are likely to bring different ideas and experiences to the table.

Check out this article for more on abbreviations.

Personal Development

Interacting with others is essential for personal development, and taking on this kind of project could open up lots of opportunities that were previously unavailable.

You may even discover something totally unexpected about yourself or find out how much more capable you really are than you realised.

This is often true for those that work in smaller forces, where opportunities for lateral and vertical development may be limited.

It’s clear that transferring between police forces can offer numerous advantages both professionally and personally.

Whether it’s developing skills, exploring new pathways or just getting out of your comfort zone; there are plenty of benefits to making such an important move.

Challenges Involved In Transferring Police Forces

Making the decision to switch police forces can be a difficult one. It could mean leaving behind friends and colleagues, or even uprooting your whole family if you’re moving away from where you live now. For some, moving force isn’t a choice as family circumstances may dictate that they need to move.

But it also brings with it new opportunities for learning, development, and potentially more rewarding career paths.

However, transferring between different UK police forces isn’t always easy.

There are certain challenges that must be taken into consideration before making such a big move.

Recruitment Process

Firstly, recruitment processes vary from force to force so applicants should ensure they meet all of the criteria required by their chosen organisation. And finally, there will likely be considerable costs associated with the process such as relocation expenses and training fees – both of which need to be factored into any decisions made.

Some forces will offer to pay relocation fees, while others will not. This is something to ask before you even start the process.

Getting Used To New Ways Of Working

Secondly, there may be differences in policies and procedures which could take some getting used to. However, this can be a great opportunity for you to get to know your new colleagues. You will have an idea of what policies and procedures you use in your current force, so you can ask around to find the experts in this in your new force.

A general example of this may be how your new force deals with missing people. You can ask to go and spend some time with the unit that deals with this. You will get to meet new people and build your new network.

Custody is another great example of this, arrange to spend some time shadowing in your local custody suite, you’ll soon meet some of the regular faces you will deal with, it’s a great opportunity to build some fantastic relationships from day one.

Top Tips For Making A Successful Transfer

Transferring between police forces in the UK can be a daunting task. To make it as successful as possible, there are some tips to keep in mind.

Firstly, ensure you have all of your paperwork up-to-date and organised – this includes qualifications, references, and any other documentation required by the new force.

Secondly, it’s important to research thoroughly into the region and community that the new force is based in; knowing how they work will help you adjust more easily when relocating.

Additionally, try to get feedback from people who already know about the culture of the new police force – such as current officers or those who may have transferred previously – which could give you an insight into what life would be like with them.

Most forces will let you go and speak with people already in the force, this can be great to get a sense of the culture and challenges you may face.

Finally, don’t forget to speak openly with your future colleagues about expectations for yourself so that everyone is on the same page throughout your transition process.

By following these steps, transferring between police forces should become a much smoother experience.


In conclusion, transferring between police forces in the UK can be a complicated process. However, if you meet all of the eligibility requirements and understand the potential challenges involved, it is possible to make a successful transition. To ensure that your transfer goes smoothly, remember to familiarize yourself with the new force you are joining and its procedures, as well as contact relevant personnel within your current force for advice on how best to go about making the switch. With some careful planning and research, I’m sure you will find success in transitioning to a new police force.

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