Check your eligibility

Completing our eligibility checker takes a few minutes and will give you a good indication of whether you may or may not be eligible for the intakes below, without you having to register your interest or apply to find out. 

The start dates for our new programme intakes are:

National Detective Programme – March 2023

National Graduate Leadership Programme – July 2023

Detailed eligibility criteria

Our criteria for entry to the programme follow national standards for new police officers. Take a look at the details below to make sure you are eligible.


You must be over the age of 17 years at the time of your application.


You’ll need to have resided in the UK continuously for the past three years, at least. If you’ve been abroad during the last three to five years while serving in the UK Armed Forces, working for the UK government, as part of your university degree or on an extended holiday your application will still be considered.


Different people bring different perspectives which help us develop better understanding and learning, leading to new ideas and solutions to the challenging social issues that we face on a daily basis. 

You can be of any nationality to apply, providing you have the status of indefinite leave to remain and work in the UK.

Academic qualifications

You must have, or be predicted to achieve, a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree from a university in the UK, or an equivalent from a non-UK university.

Previous policing experience

You cannot apply if you have previously attested and served as a police officer. 

Police Now is funded in two ways, by grants from the Home Office and contractual partnerships with police forces. To ensure we are investing public funds appropriately, you cannot have a live, concurrent application to a police force for a police constable role, as well as an application with Police Now, as this will lead to duplication of public money being invested in both your applications. 
If you believe this will mean you are ineligible for our programme and would like to speak to one of our team please contact the team here.

Financial position

Police officers are in a privileged position 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 barrier to appointment. However, you may be ineligible to apply if you have an existing County Court Judgement outstanding, have been registered as bankrupt within the last three years or are the subject of a current Individual Voluntary Arrangement.

Membership to political organisations

Police officers must be impartial and objective when performing their duties with the public. This does not prevent you from being a member of political parties in general. If you’re a member of or have previously been a member of a proscribed terrorist organisation or group, you won’t be eligible to apply.

Taking an active role in politics

The Home Office does not allow serving police officers to take an active role in politics. An active role in politics would include running as a candidate in an election but would not include basic membership of a non extreme political group or party as an example. You are not eligible for the programme if you plan to take an active role in politics whilst on the programme and serving as a police officer.

Business interests

You must declare any other employment or business interest you intend to maintain so that this can be reviewed to make sure there is 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.

Substance misuse

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.

Eyesight requirements

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

Health and fitness

You must be able to cope with the physical and mental demands of the role. This doesn’t mean 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. There are 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 this document and note the likelihood of your condition becoming a barrier to your application. You can review the recommended Medical Standards here.

Tattoos and piercings

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.
Tattoos which would not be accepted may include:

  • Firearms or weapons including blades/daggers.
  • Figures of anger or violence or well-known crime figures.
  • Images of death, including skulls of any kind (including animal skulls).
  • Symbols of extreme organisations.
  • Naked body/bodies or particular body parts which would normally be covered.
  • Any tattoo ridiculing a particular belief or religion.

Cautions, convictions, criminal associations and vetting

Honesty and integrity are of the utmost importance. 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 you, 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 below:

Force specific eligibility criteria

Eligibility criteria may differ per individual force, so please check the following force specific pages for more detail.

Current programmes

Police Now offer two national graduate programmes. Which one is right for you?  

Find out what each programme offers and what the role of a neighbourhood police officer or police detective is like.

National Graduate Leadership Programme

As a neighbourhood police officer you will work within diverse communities, devise long term strategic solutions and work collaboratively in a multi agency approach to solve crimes and systemic problems.

National Detective Programme

As a detective you care, it’s a serious career choice. You act on instinct and grow your capacity to change communities by delivering excellence in policing.

Help and useful links


For more information about our national graduate programmes or Police Now.


We are dedicated to supporting you during the recruitment process and your career.


Interested in applying to one of our national graduate programmes that is not currently open?


Ready to start your career with one of our national graduate programmes? Find out how.

Devon & Cornwall Police

Police Now | Devon & Cornwall Constabulary

Shaun Sawyer

Chief Constable

National Graduate Leadership Programme

National Detective Programme

Case studies: