How to Become a Police Officer in the United Kingdom

Updated April 17, 2017

Becoming a police office in the United Kingdom requires commitment, an open mind and good communication skills. According to the UK's police recruitment website, applicants need to have the ability to understand human nature and what makes people act in certain ways. In the UK the police force is split into three territories, England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Even though the three territories make up the UK, they each have specific laws that apply within them. Police officer training will teach you the laws that apply to the territory you will be working in, along with other important skills.

Find out if you are eligible to apply. The UK police force does not have overly strict entrance requirements, but there are few eligibility specifics that you must meet in order to be accepted into the training program. The UK police recruitment website states that applicants must be at least 18 years old and not older than 57, be a citizen or national of the UK, EU, EEA or the Commonwealth, not have a serious criminal record, not have prominent or offensive tattoos, not been declared bankrupt with debts still outstanding, have good eyesight and be physically fit.

See if the force you want to join is recruiting. Vacancies for the United Kingdom's police force are posted on its recruitment website (see References). When a particular force is recruiting you will see a link under the "Apply" heading and the deadline for applications. Fill in the online application and submit it. If your application is successful, you will be notified and invited to go to the force's assessment centre, about two weeks before you are expected to arrive. You will be provided with the necessary information regarding your assessment. The assessment will include tests of your writing and maths skills and an interview. Don't let this part of the process scare you. The police recruitment website has sample tests on its website, along with documents you can download that are similar to those you will receive, if you are asked to go to an assessment. The police in the UK do not require any specific educational qualifications, nor do they have a height requirement.

Take the fitness, eye and medical tests. When you pass the assessment, you will be asked to take a fitness test and a medical exam, and get your eyes checked. Don't wait until this point to begin preparing for your fitness test. You should start working on your fitness as soon as you know you want to apply to be a police constable in the UK; this way you should be able to pass the test with ease. You will need to be able to run for a short period and demonstrate seated chest pulls and back pulls. Your physical strength will also be checked.

Wait for your background checks and security clearance. When you apply to be a police officer in the United Kingdom you will have to include references on your application. These, along with a background check will be investigated and verified.

Do your police officer training. You will have to do several months of paid training before you are a fully qualified police officer. This training involves a lot of study and dedication on your part. The specifics of your training course will vary, depending on the force that you join. For example, the London police force, known as the Metropolitan Police, states that its training includes, "policing for a diverse community" and "managing crime scenes and suspects."

Work your two years of probation. After training you will be able to start as a British police officer. For your first two years on the force, you will be on probation. When your probationary period finishes you can apply for what are called specialist roles. Roles that are included in the specialist category, according to the Metroplitan Police, are the CO19 Firearms Unit, Mounted Branch and the Dogs Section.

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About the Author

Siobhan Russell has been freelance writing for the Internet since 2003. She has written articles covering a variety of subjects for Travelwand, Yellow Pages and eHow. Siobhan has a particular interest in writing travel and equestrian articles. She has a BA Honors in History and Philosophy from National University Ireland, Maynooth.