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. 

  • Age - You must be over 18 years old at the time of your application.
  • Residency - You’ll need to have resided in the UK continuously for the past three years If you’ve been abroad during the last three 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.
  • Nationality - 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.
  • Academic qualifications - You must hold a UK Level 3 Qualification in any subject, or an overseas equivalent. You must also have, or be predicted to achieve, a minimum 2:2 undergraduate degree from a university in the UK, or an equivalent from a non-UK university. All educational certificates will need to be provided. A full translation must be provided for certificates that are not in English. All academic study must be complete by the programme start date, including part-time and postgraduate degrees.
  • Previous policing experience - You can’t 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. 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 organisation it does not matter if you are applying to another police service at the same time or have recently applied and been unsuccessful.
  • 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 and radical organisations - The Police Service strictly prohibits any officers or staff from becoming members of organisations whose aims and objectives may contradict the duty to promote race equality, e.g. the British National Party. 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.
  • 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 & 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.

Devon & Cornwall Police

Police Now | Devon & Cornwall Constabulary

Shaun Sawyer

Chief Constable

National Graduate Leadership Programme

Cohorts: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
No. of police officers enrolled: 8

National Detective Programme

Cohorts: —— —— —— —— 2019 2020
No. of police officers enrolled:

Case studies: