Get ready to apply

Whatever entry route you go through, there are a number of stages in the application process. So it’s good to be prepared and find out what’s involved.

The exact application process varies slightly between forces, so check on your chosen force’s website. But you'll typically go through the following steps:

Step 1

Eligibility check

Before you start filling in the application form, it’s worth checking you meet the basic eligibility criteria.

Check your eligibility

Check your eligibility

Use our quick eligibility checker to see if you can apply.

Step 2

Application form

You’ll need to apply via your preferred force – you’ll find details on their website. Once you’ve submitted your completed form, they’ll do their own eligibility check.

Step 3

The sift

The number of exercises you complete in this process depends on the force you apply to and their sifting process. The purpose of the sift is to test you on decision-making and behaviours you’ll need as a police officer.

Step 4

Online assessment

If you make it through the initial sift, you’ll be invited to complete the online assessment. This involves three exercises that test key values and competencies that every police officer should have:

Preparing for the online assessment

This short video gives you an overview of what’s involved in the online assessment and how you can prepare to perform at your very best.

Step 5

Medical and fitness tests

Before joining, you’ll have to complete a medical and fitness test to make sure you’ve got the strength and endurance needed to be a police officer. 

Step 6

Pre-employment and vetting checks

The last stage is vetting. Vetting is a very thorough process – and with good reason. It involves detailed background and security checks on you and certain people you know. You’ll also be asked to give your consent to finger-printing and DNA checks.

This short video gives you an overview of what’s involved in the vetting process.

Step 7


Congratulations! Once you’ve successfully completed all of the stages in the application process, your force will now be in a position to send you a formal job offer. This will likely come to you via the post (and/or email) and will detail everything you need to know about your potential start date and next steps.

Recruitment process checklist

pdf 241kb

You can use this checklist to help you prepare the information you’ll need for the application and recruitment process.

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