Criteria For Joining the Police


The minimum age to apply for the position of Constable is 18. There is no upper age limit however applicants should remember that the normal retirement age for Constables and Sergeants is 60. All new recruits have to undertake a 2 year probationary period, it is normal for officers to spend their first two years as a Constable on a response team working a twenty four hour a day, 7 days a week shift pattern.


We do accept applications from people who wear glasses or contact lenses. However an optician's report is required from all applicants.

Unaided Vision

We cannot accept applicants whose unaided vision is worse than 6/36 in either eye (2nd line down on optician's chart) or whose binocular vision (both eyes) is worse than 6/6.

Aided Vision

When wearing lenses or spectacles your vision must be better than 6/12 in either eye or 6/6 when using both eyes.

Near Vision

Requirements are 6/9 with both eyes together (aided).

Colour Vision

Severe colour vision deficiencies (monochromats) are not acceptable. Other colour vision deficiencies are not a bar but you will need to be aware of the deficiencies and make appropriate adjustments. The use of colour correcting lenses is not acceptable.

Corrective Eye Treatment

We cannot accept applicants who have undergone Radial Keratotomy (RK), Arcuate Keratotomy (AK), corneal grafts or any other surgery which results in the weakening of the cornea. Applicants who have undergone PRK, LASIK, LASEK, ICRS or Cataract surgery would not be accepted until at least six weeks after surgery.

Educational Requirements

There are none! People can have every qualification under the sun or nothing at all. The police aren't interested in bits of paper, it is you as a person and your ability to be a police officer that they are interested in. All applicants have to complete the Police Initial Recruitment Test.


Convictions/cautions/penalty notices etc will not automatically prevent you from appointment. However if the matter was within the last five years most forces will not accept your application. Individual circumstances will be considered depending on the circumstances and the nature of the offence.

What must you declare?

  • Any conviction (includes motoring offences such as speeding)

  • Any police caution/Penalty Notice for Disorder

  • Spent convictions

  • Any involvement in any criminal investigation that did not lead to prosecution

Think they won't find out if you don't declare something? Think again! Failure to disclose any information will result in the immediate termination of your application!


Adverse financial history may prevent a successful application. This will entirely depend on the circumstances.


You must be a British Citizen, a EU national, Commonwealth Citizen or foreign national without restrictions on your stay in the UK


You will not be rejected because you do not hold a driving licence however you will be expected to pass a driving test if you are appointed.


You will not be rejected if you cannot swim. Very few forces now teach swimming as part of the initial training course.

Penalty Points

You should declare all penalty points you have or have had on your licence. Penalty points do not prevent you from joining the police however serious road offences will have to be taken into consideration on an individual basis. A simple rule is that you must not have more than 6 points on your licence at the time you apply.


Constables are subject to codes of conduct regarding their personal appearance so offensive tattoos will prevent appointment. You have to declare tattoos on your initial application form. Most forces will request you send images of the tattoos into them for their consideration.

Will I have to move house?

Police Regulations require the home address of all serving officers to be approved by the Chief Constable of their force. I have never heard of an officers house not being approved but I cannot say for definite that it never happens!