How to Become a Police Officer in the UK

Updated March 23, 2017

Police officers serve as the enforcers of the law, and there will always be a need for new officers throughout the UK. If you want to become a UK police officer and meet the police force's requirements, the process of becoming an officer is fairly simple.

Check to make sure that you meet all of the requirements to become a UK police officer. This means that you are at least 18 1/2 years old, have basic literacy and mathematical skills, are a British citizen or are otherwise eligible to be considered a resident of the UK without restrictions, have a body mass index between 18 and 30, and have lived in the country you will be applying in for at least 3 years. You will also need to be able to pass a physical examination and assessment tests.

Locate a police force that is looking to recruit in the area of the UK that you live in. Request an application pack from them and fill it out according to the directions contained within. The force that you apply with will check your eligibility and then contact you to schedule further assessment.

You will receive assessment materials two weeks before you are scheduled to take your assessment tests; this will give you time to review them and prepare for your police assessments. The Police Initial Recruiting Test (better known as the PRIT) contains several portions which will test written and verbal English skills, reasoning, and mathematics. It's important to keep in mind that the PRIT is a competitive test, with only around 8% of the 60,000-80,000 applicants being accepted into the UK police force each year.

If you score well enough on the PRIT tests to be accepted into the UK police force, you will then need to undergo a medical and fitness test. The fitness test will be in 2 parts, designed to make sure that candidates exceed the level of fitness that will likely be needed in their daily work.

Once you have passed your medical examinations and both parts of the fitness test, all that's left is for you to receive an offer of appointment. This may take a little while, since the police force will need to check your references again and make sure that you pass all needed security and background checks. When you receive your offer of appointment, you need only accept it to be hired into the UK police force as a new police officer.


Though you must be 18 1/2 years old to join the police force, you can submit your application as soon as you turn 18; if accepted, your application will be held until you reach the correct age and you will be able to join then. If you are still in secondary school and wish to join the police force when you come of age, diversify your studies so that your transcript will have a number of different subjects on it. The UK police force looks favourably on applicants with a large and diverse knowledge base

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About the Author

Born in West Virginia, Jack Gerard now lives in Kentucky. A writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience, he has written both articles and poetry for publication in magazines and online. A former nationally ranked sport fencer, Gerard also spent several years as a fencing coach and trainer.