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Application and Recruitment Process

Citizen in PolicingThe interview and selection process is designed to test the following seven core competencies, deemed suitable for the role of a Police Officer which is constantly assessed through the full assessment process.

The seven competencies are:

  • Problem Solving
  • Respect for Race and Diversity
  • Resilience
  • Effective Communication
  • Team Working
  • Customer and Community Focus
  • Personal Responsibility

Stage One – Competency Based Application

You must complete the initial competency based application form online. You may also be subject to preliminary vetting checks at this stage.

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

You need to be 18 or over to apply, and you should be able to cope in a busy environment, and have some regular time to spare.

Applicants need to be British Citizens, or passport holders from a full EU Member State. You can also apply if you’re a Commonwealth citizen or foreign national who is resident in the UK with indefinite leave to remain. All applicants must have a minimum of three years UK residency.

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

Tattoos which are offensive, garish, prominent or numerous are not acceptable. 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 not discharged from bankruptcy, then you are automatically ineligible.

If your application is successful and you are shortlisted, you will be sent a ‘how to prepare guide’ containing guidance on the different aspects at the assessment centre.

Stage Two – Assessment Centre

You will be invited to attend an Assessment Centre at Police Headquarters in Kempston. The Assessment Centre will last for approx. 3 hours consisting of the following assessments:

  • Competency based interview (45 mins)
  • Written and Maths Test (45 mins)
  • Fitness Test (1 hour)

You must pass all elements to successfully pass the Assessment Centre, and on successful completion of all three you will be sent information about the 8-week and 2-week training courses.

The two elements of the fitness test are dynamic strength and endurance fitness.



View advice and tips about how to improve your fitness in preparation for the Assessment Centre tests.

Stage Three - Pre-employment and Medical checks

If you have been successful at the Assessment Centre you will be required to undertake a full vetting check which checks not only you but your immediate family and any other individuals residing at your address.

You will be invited to attend a Medical Assessment with our Occupational Health Team at Police Headquarters in Kempston.

The Recruitment Team will do their final checks which includes 5 years of work references and your nominated two educational or personal references.

Once all checks are complete, you will be sent a final offer, confirmation of your training course dates and times, and information on how to book in for a uniform fitting.


The Initial Learning for Special Constables is a training programme consisting of training in criminal law, legal powers, traffic offences, policies, procedures, communication and radio use, practical policing skills, IT systems, self-defence and first-aid.

Prior to undertaking any police patrol duties, you will undergo an initial training course. The course is over an eight week period which will consist of classroom and computer based learning which cover many aspects of law and procedure.  This will take place on a Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

Attendance at a regional training centre is required for four consecutive weeks where you will attend on both Friday and Saturday all day for personal safety and First Aid Training.

There is an attestation at the end of training to mark the successful completion of the course.

After initial training and attestation you will have a further 8 training sessions as well as being out on patrol as a Special Constable. During your first 2 years you will be working towards the completion of your Police Action Checklist (PAC). The checklist consists of 6 units which relate to arresting, searching and responding to incidents and needs to be completed before you can patrol independently.

Policing never stands still, so you are expected to keep yourself abreast of changing law, policy and procedure. There will be various duties and continued training events to assist with the ongoing changes.

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