Am I Eligible?

How To Apply

Are you eligible to apply?

To become a Police Now officer, you must meet our eligibility criteria. These follow national standards. Take a look at the section below to make sure you are eligible.

You must be between the ages of 18 and 57 at the time of your application. The compulsory retirement age for a police officer is 60 years old, which would still allow for two years of probation and at least a full years’ service.

As this is a graduate programme you must have, or be predicted, a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree from a university in the UK – or an equivalent from a non-UK university. All educational certificates will need to be provided in due course. A full translation must be provided for certificates that are not in English. We do not screen candidates on A-Level grades or UCAS points and you do not need to complete the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing (CKP).

The importance of honesty and integrity is made clear throughout our application process. Police officers are subject to the Standards of Professional Behaviour, which clearly set out what communities can expect from their officers.

You MUST declare all convictions for past offences, formal cautions (including as a juvenile) and any bind-over imposed by the courts. You should also include all traffic convictions.

Due to the nature of policing, it’s essential that we conduct rigorous vetting checks on successful applicants before they can join the programme. These checks will include personal details taken from yourself as well as from close family members and significant others.

If any of the above relates to you, please review this document for further advice regarding our vetting process, and listen to the audio file at the bottom of this page.

Tattoos and piercings are not a total bar to appointment. However, some tattoos could potentially offend members of the public or colleagues, or could be considered lewd, garish or provocative depending on their size, nature and location, and these will not be accepted. You also need to be prepared to take out any facial piercings and/or any piercings located in a position that would cause a health and safety issue.

You will need to have lived in the UK continuously for the past three years. If you have been abroad during the last three years while serving in the UK Armed Forces, working for the UK government or as part of your university degree, your application will still be considered.

You will need a GCSE in English Language at a grade C or above, or Key Skills level 2, and you must be fluent in both spoken and written English.

Police officers are in a privileged position with regards to access to information and could be considered potentially vulnerable to corruption. As a result, you must not be under pressure from undischarged debts or liabilities, and you should be able to manage loans and debts sensibly.

Most applicants have debts, such as mortgages, undischarged student or other loans, and credit/store card debts. Debts that are within your means and manageable are not a bar to appointment.

However, you may be ineligible to apply if you have an existing County Court Judgement outstanding, have been registered as bankrupt or are the subject of a current Individual Voluntary Arrangement.

If you are currently using any illegal drugs this will rule you out of the recruitment process automatically. To be eligible you must agree to have a test for substance misuse, as well as having a DNA sample and fingerprints taken for the purpose of conducting a speculative search against the national database.

You can be of any nationality to apply, providing you have the status of indefinite leave to remain and work in the UK. If you are a UK citizen or citizen of a member state of the EEA, you will have this status. If you are a citizen of a non-EEA state, you must be able to provide evidence of your passport and residency documentation.

If your application is successful, you will be required to provide various references. These must cover any recently-left education, current and previous employment (including any police or armed forces experience regardless of length of time or how long ago it was). If there are any gaps in employment or work history, you must provide a personal reference which cannot be from a family member.

The Police Service strictly prohibits any of their officers or staff from becoming members of organisations whose aims and objectives may contradict the duty to promote race equality, e.g. the BNP. If you are, or have been, a member of such an organisation you are not eligible to apply.

You must also declare any active role in politics so that this can be reviewed to ensure no conflict of interest with the police.

Please review the following document which indicates standards for distance vision, near vision, colour vision and eye surgery.

For more details, click here.

There are some eligibility criteria that are specific to the force you will join. For example, the Metropolitan Police Service requires its recruits to have lived in London for three out of the last six years, or to currently be studying at university in London.

You will be unable to apply to Police Now if you are currently or have previously been a serving police officer, or have been attested and started training. Police Now is not a way for officers to transfer between police services or return to the police service.

However, you are still eligible if you are currently or have previously been a Police Cadet, Special Constable, PCSO or a member of police staff for any force.

As Police Now is an independent charity it does not matter if you are applying to another police service at the same time or have recently applied and been unsuccessful.

You must declare any other employment or business interest you intend to maintain so that this can be reviewed to ensure no conflict of interest with the police.

If you, your spouse or any relative living with you, holds or has a financial interest in any licence or permit relating to liquor licensing, refreshment houses or betting and gaming, or the regulations of places of entertainment, you may not be eligible for appointment.

You must be able to cope with the physical and mental demands of the role as a police officer. This does not require extreme athleticism, but you will need to pass a fitness test. If you take regular exercise such as walking, swimming or jogging then you should have no problem with the fitness test at all.

There are also certain medical conditions and disorders that may have a detrimental effect on your ability to conduct the role effectively. If you are aware of having any medical conditions or disorders, please consult the table in the document below, and note the likelihood of your condition becoming a barrier to your application.

For more details, click here. To view the recommended Medical Standards, click here.

An Audio Guide to Vetting For Police Now

* Names were changed to protect identity

View Audio Transcript


Hello everyone, my name is Kev and I’m a Chief Inspector from West Midlands Police. Over the next few minutes I’m going to give you some tips and pointers to make sure you’re in the know about vetting before you send in your application to Police Now.

Sometimes vetting checks do take a long time. But trust me, they’re important. We check identity, nationality, employment eligibility and residency, as well as for criminal convictions and associations and this is why you may find yourself waiting for a few months for the result. Don’t worry though – if you’re successful, it will all have been worth it.

When applying to become a Police Officer, you must declare any cautions, convictions, investigations and criminal associations that may be linked to you, to a family member or someone you know well. If you don’t tell us at this stage, your application could be refused simply because you weren’t being open and transparent – the application might have been accepted if you were open with us, so if in any doubt, disclose.

When some candidates apply to the Police, they don’t declare information that they believe is no longer held in record. However, the vetting process will reveal all incidents no matter how minor or how historic. Failure to disclose something important and relevant will result in an application being terminated.

We also need to know whether any of your close family or associates are involved in criminal activity, and the Vetting Unit will therefore search for information regarding them as well – you must make them aware these enquires are taking place and this will give an opportunity for them to disclose to you anything you may not have been aware of.

I will now give you two quick examples of the applications I have come across in my experience that had to be refused, simply due to candidates not being forthcoming on their application form.

Taylor had been thinking about joining the Police for some time. When he came to fill in the online application form, he hesitated for a moment when he got to cautions and convictions. Taylor remembered his school days and the time he was cautioned for a minor offence. It was a long time ago and not very serious, so he didn’t refer to it. In the weeks after completing his application, Taylor got a refusal letter. If he’d been honest his past mistake may not have counted against him.

And then Michelle.

When Michelle was filling in her application form for Police Now she didn’t pay much attention to the previous offences section. She’s never been in trouble in her life and neither had her parents or friends. Her brother Arthur – he was found to have a conviction and had served a prison sentence for supplying drugs. Michelle knew about the conviction but didn’t declare it on the application form – that’s why she received a refusal letter.

I hope this reinforces the importance of honesty, transparency and integrity. You’d be surprised at how many cases are approved when the candidate is just up front during the application stage. Always remember, if in doubt, disclose.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.


Police Now was started inside the Metropolitan Police Service in 2015. In 2016, we became independent and expanded to work with seven partner police forces. Officers from our 2017 cohort have been posted to one of 19 partner police forces.

Our 2018 partners are:

  • Bedfordshire Police
  • Cambridgeshire Constabulary
  • Devon and Cornwall Police
  • Dorset Police
  • Essex Police
  • Greater Manchester Police
  • Hertfordshire Constabulary
  • Humberside Police
  • Lancashire Constabulary
  • Merseyside Police
  • Metropolitan Police Service
  • Northumbria Police
  • Staffordshire Police
  • Thames Valley Police
  • West Midlands Police
  • West Yorkshire Police