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Eligibility criteria

We welcome applications from people of all different backgrounds, cultures, religions, ages, gender and sexual orientation. However, there are some eligibility conditions that all applicants need to meet, so please check that you meet our requirements before submitting an application.

You need to be 17 or over to apply, if you are aged 17 you must be 18 or over by start date. 

To be eligible for appointment, you must be a British citizen or a citizen of a country that is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. Commonwealth citizens and foreign nationals are also eligible but only if they are resident in the UK free of restrictions.

If you are a Commonwealth citizen or other foreign national, you must provide proof that you have no restrictions on your stay in the UK. You should therefore send a copy of your passport showing that your stay is free of restrictions.

If you have a criminal record, this doesn’t mean you’re automatically ineligible; it depends on the nature of your conviction. Please declare cautions or convictions on your application form. If you have any questions on this, you can contact for advice.

Tattoos on your face, neck, arms or hands need to be reviewed on an individual basis. Please supply photos and measurements of any tattoos along with your application.

If you are struggling with debt, you may still be able to apply. You just need to supply us with evidence of your ability to manage your debts successfully. However, if you have any outstanding county court judgments or you are an undischarged bankrupt, then you are automatically ineligible.

Minimum entry requirements

You must hold a full manual driving licence.

Pre-appointment checks

If you are successful in the selection process, you will receive a conditional offer, and we will start progressing your pre-appointment checks, which include: vetting, references, medical checks, drugs test and a fitness test.

You must be in good health with a body mass index (BMI) between 18 and 30.  Your eyesight must be good and will be tested by distance, near sight and colour vision. You can apply if you wear spectacles or contact lenses.

You must have good fitness levels: you will need to achieve 5.4 on a bleep test.

  • for more information on pre-appointment checks, please see the applicant help section


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

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, see 4, below] 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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