Age requirements

Applicants must be a minimum of 18 years at the time of registration. There's 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 recruits are required to undertake a two-year probationary period.

Nationality requirements

You must be a British citizen, an EC/EEA national or a Commonwealth citizen or foreign national with no restrictions on your stay in the United Kingdom and must have been resident in the UK for the last 3 years.


Entry qualifications

One of the following is a requirement:

  • 2 A-Levels (grade A-E) or a level 3 qualification (minimum pass) at the time of application.
  • An alternative academic/ vocational qualification which is considered to be equivalent of a level 3 qualification (minimum pass).
  • Training or work experience which is considered to be the equivalent of a level 3 qualification.
  • A recognised policing qualification.
  • Relevant service as a Special Constable or PCSO.

Able to pass a police vetting process as well as a fitness and medical check.


Police officers encounter stressful situations, trauma, physical confrontation and work long hours on shifts. They need to be resilient enough to cope with the demands and pressures of police work. Applicants must therefore be in good health mentally and physically to undertake police duties. If you pass the recruitment stages, you will be required to complete a medical questionnaire and get it signed by your doctor. You will then undergo a medical examination to ensure you meet the BMI and health standards required. Your BMI must be between 18 and 30. You will also be required to provide a urine sample whilst at your appointment, this will be tested for any illegal substances.

Biometric Vetting

During your medical, we will take your fingerprints and a DNA sample (mouth swab) to carry out checks against the national police database.


Applicants must have corrected distance vision of 6/12 or better with either the right eye or left eye. You must have 6/6 with both eyes together with spectacles or contact lenses if worn. Corrected near visual acuity must be 6/9 or better, with both eyes. You will be required to go to an optician at the medical stage to have your eyes tested to ensure the standards are met, this will be checked at your medical assessment. Failure to pass this test will lead to rejection. Please note that these are minimum standards and do not guarantee entry into specialist roles.

Eye Surgery

Forms of refractive surgery such as LASIK, LASEK, PRK, ICRS and epiflap are all acceptable provided that six weeks have elapsed since surgery, there are no residual side effects and the other eyesight standards are met.
However, Radial keratotomy, arcuate keratotomy or corneal grafts are not acceptable.


In accordance with the College of Policing Vetting Code of Practice and associated Authorised Professional Practice (APP) candidates must meet the 3 year minimum UK residency criteria which applies to the period immediately before an application is made, and not any other time period or accumulation of time spent in the UK. 

The need for the residency rule arises from the requirement to vet all applicants in an equitable manner and to ensure applicants have a checkable history in the UK, so that meaningful vetting enquiries can be undertaken.  Applicants who cannot be vetted cannot be appointed. 

If an individual resides permanently in the UK, they are considered to be a UK resident.

An individual who has moved overseas and severed major ties to the UK (e.g. closed bank accounts and sold property) is considered to have surrendered their residency in the UK.  This would apply to people who maintain bank accounts purely for the purpose of receiving regular payments, e.g. a UK pension.

An individual who has spent a significant period of time overseas without returning to the UK but with the intention of returning in the future or who has taken a gap year before or following University or has travelled for a year or spent time overseas visiting family may be able to be considered.  Full details including dates will be required and each case considered on it’s merits.  This list is not exhaustive and is a guide only. 

An individual who has been posted overseas as part of their service with HMG or the armed forces is considered to have been resident in the UK for the period that they were abroad. 

Where an individual has been overseas as the spouse, partner or dependent of a member of the armed forces posted overseas can be considered to have been resident in the UK if their place of residence was within the confines of the establishment, e.g. a military base.  If they were residing outside this, they are considered to have been resident overseas.