Do I need a degree before I apply?
No, you don’t need to have a degree before you apply, though once you’ve successfully completed your training, you’ll end up with a degree in Professional Policing Practice.
The police constable degree apprenticeship (PCDA) is an apprenticeship route for people who do not already have a degree. This is a 3-year course, with vocational on- and off-the-job learning.
What qualifications do I need to become a police officer?
The minimum education requirement for joining the police is a Level 3 Qualification. This is defined as two A levels, but there are other qualifications that are equivalent especially if you have a qualification that was awarded outside of England or Wales, you can find more information on this here.
Some forces may have additional entry requirements, depending on the entry route you take to join the police, and you should always check the recruitment pages on your preferred force’s website for full details.
Is the eligibility criteria the same across all police forces?
There are some nationally consistent eligibility criteria you’ll need to fulfil in order to apply (mostly related to age, nationality, criminal records and finances, as well as the process for medical, vetting and fitness testing). You can explore the national criteria here: Basic eligibility check However, police forces are also allowed to apply their own local criteria in addition to the national eligibility aspects, so make sure you check your chosen force’s website for a full list of the role criteria.
I have a criminal conviction on my record. Does this prevent me from applying?
There are a number of factors to consider here (for example, the severity of the conviction, and how long ago) so there is not a blanket answer to this. Our best guidance is to speak to the force(s) you wish to apply to, to get their advice. The more you can be open and honest about any history you might have, the better and more accurate the advice from the force will be.
Do I need a driving licence?
Whether this is essential or desirable will vary by force. Check with the force(s) you are applying to if you don’t currently hold a licence.
I am an EU or EEA citizen (EU, Norway, Liechtenstein and Norway) or an individual outside the EU wishing to apply. Am I able to do so?
Currently yes, providing you have no restrictions on your right to live and work in the UK. Candidates who have lived abroad may be required to have resided in the UK for three years. This is due to the challenges often faced with obtaining adequate vetting checks from abroad and we need to ensure all applicants have to be vetted to the same standard before appointment. If in doubt, please check with your chosen force(s).
I have lived abroad / travelled recently. Will this impact my ability to apply?
This will depend upon individual circumstances and should be discussed with the chosen force(s). Generally, an individual travelling overseas on a gap year or similar is considered to be on an extended holiday and has therefore maintained residency in the UK. Additionally, if the vetting applicant has been living outside the UK while serving with the armed forces or on government service, they are classed as being resident in the UK.
What's the minimum age I can apply?
You can now apply to join the police service at age 17, though you'll need to wait until you're 18 before you can officially become a police officer. Check out the other basic eligibility criteria you need to meet.