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How to Become a Motorway Police Officer

Chasing criminals, dealing with serious traffic accidents, and catching and fining speeding motorists are among the many duties, responsibilities and challenges for police officers working in motorway patrol units. As with most police careers, competition for motorway police vacancies is fierce and only the very best candidates are selected to patrol major highways, dual carriageways and roads. While 52 different police forces provide law enforcement coverage for urban and rural areas throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the recruitment progress for each is similar.

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  1. Search the police vacancies section on websites like policecouldyou.co.uk. Also visit the online portal of the force you wish to apply to, and read the recruitment pages of regional and national newspapers.

  2. Identify which police force you would like to join and complete an online application.

  3. Wait to hear if you have been selected for an interview and assessment.

  4. Attend your interview and assessment session. They are normally held at the headquarters of the force you wish to join.

  5. Participate in a comprehensive fitness test aimed at testing athletic ability, dynamic strength and endurance. Potential recruits are expected to complete at least five seated chest pushes, five seated back pulls and a series of short sprints.

  6. Wait to hear if you have progressed to the next round of the application process.

  7. Take an eye test and then complete a comprehensive and confidential medical history questionnaire. You will need to ask your doctor to confirm the details are correct and have him sign the questionnaire.

  8. Provide at least two excellent references highlighting your professional history and personal background.

  9. Wait several weeks while the force vetting unit verifies your eligibility.

  10. Sign your initial police contract and begin your training course and two-year probation period. Following the successful completion of this period, you will receive the rank of constable. This is the first rang of the police career ladder and enables you to apply for a specialist role such as motorway police officer.

  11. Tip

    Ensure you are in good health and physically fit before applying. An applicant can only take the fitness test three times. Failure brings automatic rejection. Applicants must be British citizens or citizens of a country in the Commonwealth, European Union or European Economic Area. Foreign nationals with indefinite leave to remain in the UK are also eligible.


    Due to funding shortages and austerity measures the UK government announced in 2010, many police forces have frozen their recruitment process. Thus, candidates should check the latest situation on a regular basis. People with any type of criminal record are unlikely to pass the vetting stage. Applicants who have lived outside the UK for several months in the three years prior to their application may not pass the vetting stage unless they obtain a document showing they committed no crimes abroad.

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Things You'll Need

  • A clean driving license
  • A clean motorbike license, if you plan on becoming a police motorcyclist
  • At least two excellent references

About the Author

News, business and sports journalist James Andrews began writing professionally in 1996. His articles have appeared in the "Coventry Evening Telegraph," "Daily Mail," "Newcastle Evening Chronicle," "The Sun," "Herald Sun," "Football Business" magazine and online at just-style.com. He holds a National Certificate in newspaper journalism from the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

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