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Applicant help

Thank you for your interest in applying for a position with us. Due to the nature of policing, our recruitment process may be more comprehensive than others you have experienced.

Police officer application tips

Ensure you complete all mandatory fields on the application form or you will be unable to submit your application. Please ensure you complete the supporting statements section, these vary depending on the role and will be explained on the advert and role profile. Please provide evidence of where you demonstrated the competency behaviours as per the role profile. Please note there is a word count limit on the applications and you should ensure your evidence fits within this limit.


Candidates are shortlisted by assessing the information on the application form against the personal qualities and minimum entry requirements. It is important that you complete the application form fully and carefully, ensuring you demonstrate with examples how you meet the various criteria.

Application and selection process

If invited to interview you will be notified by telephone and email, usually at least seven days before the interview date. You will be required to produce valid identification at the interview (a list of suitable ID will be emailed to you). If your recruitment process includes attendance at an assessment centre all information will be provided via email, for example certain roles may require you to complete a Police Initial Recruitment Test (PIRT) or computer test. Police officer candidates will need to attend a Police online assessment centre.

Fitness test

Officers, detectives and PCSOs need to be able to run after an offender, to help a victim or to a colleague in need. Which is why they need to reach a certain level on the job-related fitness test at the start and throughout their time with us.

To pass the fitness test you will need to reach level 5.4 on the 15m bleep test which is just under 6 minutes of running.  Watch our video about the test and our hints and tips to help you prepare.

Conditional offer

If you are successful following the selection process you will receive a conditional offer and we will start progressing your pre-employment checks, including: vetting, medical, references and for some roles, a fitness test. Until these checks are complete you should not hand in your notice with your current employer. For some roles if you are successful at the interview/selection stage you will be advised that you will be placed on a waiting list until the next available intake.

Vetting and what the things we check

Regardless of which role you are interested in, including regulars, specials, PCSO, staff, agency, volunteers, cadet leaders, cadets, interns, apprentices and those working for us indirectly, like contractors, everyone is required to go through a police vetting process and in some cases, an additional national security vetting process. These processes continue at regular intervals throughout your career.

View further in-depth detail about vetting (opens in new window)

Vetting by its nature is intrusive into your personal life and varies depending on your role.  There are different levels of vetting and/or national security vetting. But vetting is about how we can include you in the workforce, and not about trying to exclude you, unless it’s necessary of course. 

If you have not lived in the UK all your life, you (and in some cases your associates) will need to have what is known as a ‘checkable history’, this generally means that you / they must have been resident in the UK for at least the last three years.  In some cases this will need to be a longer period and in others it may be a shorter period.

There are four main areas in police vetting;

  • your criminality / offending (if any) including allegations of criminality / offending.  This includes a criminal record check but also, for example, if you were arrested but released with No Further Action.  Also a variety of other disposals; Fixed Penalty Notice, Police Information Notice, Penalty Notice for Disorder, etc.  Having a criminal record per se, may not be a reason for us to refuse your vetting clearance. 
  • your personal finances.  This includes a credit reference check, particularly for county court judgements, individual voluntary arrangement, defaults, arrears, financial association, etc.  For your own peace of mind, we suggest you obtain a copy of your credit file from one of the three main credit reference agencies in the UK, so you can understand your own personal financial position. 
  • your online and social media presence, including Facebook, Twitter, etc. Is anything that might reasonably be considered as discriminatory, abusive, oppressive, harassing, bullying, victimising, offensive or otherwise incompatible with policing principles?  And any material published online or elsewhere, or offered for publication, that might undermine your own reputation or that of the policing profession or might run the risk of damaging public confidence in the police service?
  • your association to those involved in offending or past offending (if any) including allegations of criminality / offending.  By association we mean the people you live with, your family (parents, children, brothers / sisters, etc) and your friends / acquaintances.

The background checks that we conduct far exceed those conducted for the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) [formally Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)].  We search many national and local information databases, so it is essential that you are open, honest and transparent with us when completing the initial application form and also the vetting questionnaire form.

This may sound daunting, but we look at each person on a case by case basis.  An average 95% of applicants pass our vetting process.

If do not initially pass our vetting process, there is an appeals process.  Whilst the success rate varies, on average about 30% - 40% of appeals are successful.

The vetting questionnaire form is fairly lengthy so take your time and allow sufficient time to complete it.  You may need to partly save it so you can find specific information and come back to it another time.   You must provide complete and accurate information in response to all vetting enquiries. If you fail to tell us about requested information, it is likely to be regarded as evidence of unreliability and will be taken into account in assessing your suitability for clearance.

The questionnaire may be online via a secure weblink that will be sent to you by email, with username and password protection, or via an interactive PDF sent by email.  Look out for emails in your Inbox and Spam.

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