As a police officer, you’re working in a position of trust. That’s why every potential police officer recruit goes through a thorough vetting stage as part of their application process. This includes disclosing the behaviour of your family and friends to ensure that you aren’t vulnerable to extortion or blackmail. The vetting process also measures you against the College of Policing's Code of Ethics, which considers a number of other factors. If you're in doubt about whether you need to disclose something or not, it’s best to include it. Your chosen force can then discuss with you whether it affects your application or not.
Here's a bit more detail:
Criminal convictions and cautions
All convictions, cautions (including any received as a juvenile), involvement in any criminal investigation and bind-overs imposed by a court must be declared. They don’t automatically mean you’ll be rejected from joining the police service. Each case is looked at on an individual basis. Factors taken into account include:
- Age at the time of the offence
- How long ago the offence was committed
- The nature of the offence
It’s important to be honest. Failure to disclose this information will result in your application being rejected.
Convictions for minor motoring offences won’t necessarily be a barrier to joining the police service, unless you’re a persistent offender. Each case is considered individually.
However, serious motoring offences do result in mandatory rejection. These include death by dangerous driving, hit and run, dangerous or drink driving offences within the last 10 years, or being found guilty of more than one drink driving offence.
HM Forces offences
Convictions received whilst serving in HM Forces aren’t treated any differently from civilian convictions. All criminal offences convicted by a military tribunal are recorded on the Police National Computer so make sure you disclose them – again, honesty is the best policy.
If you have an outstanding charge or court summons that could result in a conviction, your application will be postponed until after the outcome of the case. Once that is known, your application will then be considered.
Family and friends
All cautions, investigations or convictions that could be linked to a family member or someone you know must be declared. This won’t automatically hinder your chances of becoming a police officer – each case is reviewed individually. Many factors are taken into account, including:
- The nature of your relationship with the offender
- The number and severity of offences
- Could your role in the police be negatively affected?
- Could it cause damage to the authority or reputation of the police service?
- Could your credibility be impacted?
- Is there a risk of an information breach?