We will make thorough background checks.

All applicants will have to complete detailed vetting forms to enable these checks to be made.

Our enquiries will reveal incidents from long ago, and applicants who fail to disclose relevant known matters will have their application declined. 

We will not recruit people with cautions or convictions which may call into question the integrity of the applicant or the Police Service.

Criminal Convictions Guidance

Public confidence may be affected if an officer has a previous conviction, caution or other recordable sanction (including reprimands, formal warnings, final warnings, fixed penalty notices and restorative justice sanctions).

The College of Policing Vetting Code of Practice and associated Authorised Professional Practice (APP) advise that applications for a position as a police officer are to be rejected in all cases where:

  • offences were committed as an adult or juvenile which resulted in a prison sentence (including custodial, suspended or deferred sentence and sentences served at a young offenders’ institution or community home); or
  • the applicant is a registered sex offender or is subject to a registration requirement in respect of any other conviction.

For all other convictions or cautions there is a rebuttable presumption that they should be rejected.  In particular, the following should result in rejection: 

  • offences where vulnerable people were targeted
  • offences motivated by hate or discrimination
  • offences of domestic abuse.

Forces are advised to take particular care where an individual has been convicted of (or cautioned for) offences of dishonesty, corrupt practice or violence.

Each case will be considered on it’s merits and, whilst the rebuttable presumption is that convictions, cautions or other sanctions should lead to rejection, there may be cases where this may be disproportionate in the circumstances. 

Financial status

Financial checks are used to assess whether applicants have been, are currently, or are likely to be in financial difficulty, or show signs of financial irresponsibility to the extent that they could become vulnerable to financial inducement.

Paragraph 4 of Schedule 1 to the Police regulations 2003 states that a member of a police force shall not wilfully refuse or neglect to discharge any lawful debt. 

Applicants who can show they have and are adhering to debt management arrangements may be considered.  Documentary evidence will be required to demonstrate their commitment and adherence to any such debt management arrangements.

Applicants will not be considered if they:

  • have existing county court judgements outstanding against them
  • have been registered bankrupt and have not discharged their bankruptcy.

Careful consideration is given where a credit reference check reveals that an applicant has a current individual voluntary arrangement (IVA).  Clearance decisions will not be considered until there is evidence that the applicant has maintained regular IVA repayments over a number of months and then each case will be considered on it’s merits.  The same principle applies where there are defaulted accounts. 

Applicants who have been registered as bankrupt and have discharged their bankruptcy debts will not be considered until three years after the discharge of the debt.  Debt Relief Orders (DROs) are treated in the same way as a bankruptcy.

Former Directors of insolvent limited companies who apply will be treated as if they were bankrupt even though the debts are in the company name.

Vetting Decisions and Appeals

When vetting clearance is granted the Vetting Unit will notify the Recruiting Department and not the applicant direct. 

When vetting clearance is declined we will inform the applicant of the reason, unless there is a valid reason not to, for example if doing so would:

  • damage national security
  • result in the force breaking any law
  • frustrate the prevention or detection of crime
  • impede the apprehension or prosecution of offenders
  • result in the disclosure of sensitive information
  • breach the confidentiality of any information provided in confidence

Where vetting clearance is declined applicants will have the right of appeal when one or more of the following factors apply:

  • further information is available that was not considered by the decision maker
  • the vetting rejection was disproportionate considering the circumstances or details of the case
  • the decision was perverse or unreasonable
  • no explanation has been given for the decision

The appeal decision is final.


Tattoos are not acceptable if they are particularly prominent, garish, offensive or undermine the dignity and authority of a police officer.

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