Am I eligible?

Applicants from all backgrounds and ethnic groups are encouraged to apply. Applicants are not limited to any particular age group - in fact, we welcome those who are looking for a career change. The minimum age to apply is 18, and there is no upper age limit, though you should bear in mind that the normal retirement age for police constables and sergeants is 60. You should also be aware that all new recruits, whatever their age, are required to undertake a two-year probationary period.

You may apply to more than one force at a time. Please see the 'Previous application' section below for more information.

Here are some of the basic eligibility requirements for new police constables:

Age requirements

Applications can be accepted at the age of 18.  There is no upper age limit for applying to the police service, but bear in mind that the normal retirement age is 60 years ad that new constable recruits are required to undertake a two year probationary period.

Nationality requirements

You must be a British citizen, an EC/EEA national or a commonwealth citizen or foreign national with no restrictions on your stay in the United Kingdom.  Candidates who have lived abroad may be required to have resided in the UK for three years due to difficulties often faced with obtaining adequate vetting checks from abroad.  All applicants have to be vetted to the same standard before appointment.

Qualifications and experience

Different forces will have different requirements so please check the force website to find out their specific requirements at that time.

Criminal record

A number of crimes will mean a likely rejection of your application.  If you are unsure, contact your chosen force for more information.


You should not have tattoos which could cause offence.  Tattoos are not acceptable if they are particularly prominent, garish, offensive or undermine the dignity and authority of your role.  Contact your chosen force if you have any particular concerns.

Financial status

Applicants will have their financial status checked.  These checks are carried out because police officers have access to privileged information, which may make them vulnerable to corruption.  Applicants with outstanding County Court Judgments, who have been registered bankrupt with outstanding debts will be rejected.  If you have any discharged bankruptcy debts then you will need to provide a Certificate of Satisfaction with your application.  If you have any concerns, contact your chosen force for more information.

Physical fitness

To ensure you are fit enough for the role, you will undertake a fitness test.  We are looking for no more than the minimum standard needed to enable you to work effectively as a police officer.  You will be given help to improve your fitness and if you prepare yourself properly, there is no reason for you to fail. 


Police officers encounter stressful situations, trauma, physical confrontation and work long hours on shifts.  They need to be resilient enough to cope with the demands and pressures of police work.  Applicants must therefore be in good health mentally and physically to undertake police duties.  Once you have received a conditional offer of employment you will undergo a medical examination to ensure you meet the health standards required. 


Applicants will have their eyesight tested at the medical assessment stage.  You may be asked to go to the optician to have your eyes tested and the eyesight form filled in. 

Previous applications

You may apply to more than one force at a time, however you can only sit the assessment centre once within a 6 month period, unless otherwise notified by the force you are continuing your application with. 

Do you qualify?

If you have any specific questions you can always contact your local force for more information.