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Police recruitment


To join the police force you need to fill in an application form supplied to you by your choice of force. The stages are carousel (a test of how you would deal with different situations), medical examination, physical assessment and interview (not necessarily in that order).

The police will carry out background checks and request references and if all these are satisfactory and you have successfully completed all the stages then you will be accepted as police constable.

Each police force recruits individually and for details on any recruitment drive you need to contact the force you are interested in joining.

For further advice on how to become a police constable see related website .


You must be a police officer and have two years of service in the police in order to apply to become a dog handler. Your home is checked to see if it is suitable for a police dog, namely off road parking and enough space in the garden to house two kennels. You will then have to successfully complete a suitability course to determine whether you could handle a police dog.

The role of dog trainer within police forces has recently opened to non-police officers in some police forces. However, for the present time the majority of the trainers will be police officers. To become a dog trainer for the police service you must have considerable experience in training working dogs and possess either the Home Office Instructors certificate or the ability to gain the certificate. You would ideally possess some type of teaching certificate and have a proven record of teaching.

For more information on becoming a dog trainer, please contact your local police force.


You can apply to join the police as an officer or special constable at the age of 17, although you will not be appointed until aged 18. The recommendation from the Home Secretary and the Association of Chief Police Officers is a minimum 18 years for police community support officers. There is no upper age limit. 

See websites in related information for more details on joining the police.


You will be required to have obtained certain qualifications and/or experience before you can apply to become a police officer. Some forces will ask that you hold a level 3 (or higher) qualification, a Certificate in Knowledge of Policing and/or experience in a relevant policing or policing related role.

For specific recruitment queries, you will need to contact your chosen force directly via their 101 number or online contact form. Also, see the websites in related information for more details on recruitment eligibility and the application process.


Having a criminal record is not automatically a bar to joining the police. It would depend on what you were convicted of, what sentence you received, how old you were and how long ago it was.

However, you would have to declare any convictions and each case would be considered individually.


There are many varied roles within the police. Below are a few examples:

Administrative Support
Call Handler
Crime Researcher
Detention Officer
Front Counter Personnel
Intelligence Analyst
Police Officer
Scenes of Crimes Officer

For  further details on careers in the police service, please see the link in Related Information to a site called  or contact the Recruitment Department of your local force via 101.


If you are aged between 16 and 18 years old and want to see what life is like as a police officer then you could join the Volunteer Police Cadets Scheme. This scheme is the nationally recognised police uniformed youth group throughout the UK, it inspires the spirit of adventure and good citizenship and encourages young people from all backgrounds to join.

Most police forces offer the scheme. 

For more details see the links in related information and contact your local police force.


The standard requirement for interpreters in Criminal proceedings is that those working in courts and police stations should be registered with one of the recommended registers i.e. the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) for non-English spoken languages, or with the National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD) for communicating with deaf and deafblind people.
For more information on qualifications needed to become an interpreter see Related Information 


Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) work within the community and were introduced to increase a police presence on the streets. The role of a PCSO is varied but will primarily involve interaction with the public and assisting police officers at scenes of crimes and incidents.

PCSOs play a vital role in the community as many people feel more comfortable talking to a PCSOs rather than police officers and they can offer crime prevention advice and play an important role in preventing anti-social behaviour.

PCSOs do not have the same powers as police officers but depending on which force they work in there are various powers that can be given to them, dealing with offences such as parking, littering and confiscation of alcohol, amongst others.


There are websites that will help, such as All Police Jobs

We cannot speak for every site, of course, but this one has about 15,000 jobs for sworn officers, police staff and PCSOs. It would also be of interest to anyone thinking of a PCSO or police staff job for the first time.

See Related Information for a link to the site, but don't forget that there are others as well.


Basic eligibility requirements are the same for Special Constables as they are for Police Officers; you must be 18 and there is no upper age limit, although you will need to be reasonably fit and in good health. In addition to this:

  • there are no minimum or maximum height requirements.
  • there is no formal educational requirement, but you will have to pass various written tests which include scenarios.
  • only applications from member states of the European Economic Area (EEA), or other nationals who have leave to enter or remain in the UK for an indefinite period, will be accepted.
  • convictions or cautions may make you ineligible, but this will depend on the nature and circumstances of the offence and how long ago the offence was committed.
  • you will serve a two year probationary period in which you will need to gain the relevant experience and knowledge to be confirmed as special constable.

Further information can be obtained from the website of your local police force, or you can contact the relevant recruitment department of your police force via the non-emergency number: 101.

Please see the website under Related Information for further advice and guidance. 


Applications can be accepted from the age of 18. There is no upper age limit for applying to the police service, but bear in mind that the normal retirement age is 60 years and that new constable recruits are required to undertake a two-year probationary period.

For specific recruitment queries, you will need to contact your chosen force directly via their 101 number. Please also see the websites in Related Information for more details on eligibility and the application process.


The whole process, from completing the application to a confirmed appointment date, usually takes around 6 months.

After you've sent in your application to be a police officer, a three-step process begins:

Step 1
On receiving your application form, the force that you have applied to will check your eligibility and mark your responses to competency questions (if these are used by the force). If your application is successful, you will be invited to attend an assessment centre (step 2).

Step 2
If you pass the assessment centre, you will then take a fitness test.

Step 3
Next, your references will be checked, you'll undergo a background, security, medical and eyesight checks.

Some forces may choose to run additional assessment stages, such as a second interview.

If you wish to discuss any aspects of recruitment prior to submitting an application form, then you can contact the recruitment department of your local police force online (via the link in Related Information). Alternatively, you can call your local police force via their non-emergency number, 101, and ask the operator to connect you to their recruitment department. 


Your application can be completed by computer or handwritten. If handwritten, it must be legible. We would prefer your application to be completed and submitted electronically.

For specific recruitment queries, you will need to contact the recruitment department of your chosen force directly via the link in Related Information.


Police officers must be able to run for a reasonable distance so as part of your assessment, you will be tested to ensure your fitness levels are high enough.

For specific recruitment you will need to contact the recruitment department of your chosen force directly via the link in Related Information. Also see the links in Related Information for more details on the fitness test and other eligibility requirements.


You will be asked to complete a medical and fitness test. The exact application process can vary between police forces, so this is something you should query with your chosen force by calling 101.

See the links in Related Information for details on the application process and eligibility criteria.

Contact your local police force

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