10 December 2018
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How to become a police officer

In the UK each police force has its own separate recruitment process and selection policy. Recruitment is managed at a local level by individual forces, however nationally agreed competency tests are applied across the board. It has been estimated that up to 65,000 people apply every year to become police officer, with only a small percentage being successful. Joining the police force can be very competitive.

  • Some constabularies have no height or formal education requirements.
  • Experience of working as a Special constable can be in your favour. 

The application process
First of all contact the local police authority and request a application pack. Go over this in detail, understand the questions and then fill it in and return it. Remember that the vast majority of applicants are rejected at this stage, so take time to complete it carefully.

If your application is accepted then you will be given a date to attend an assessment centre where you will take part in physical and mental tests. This assessment can take up to 5 hours.

You will have to undergo intense interviews, physical examinations, written exercises and numerical and verbal tests.



Police Initial Recruitment Test or 'PIRT'
This is a standard national test for police entrance, and although not difficult you are advised to prepare for it. It consists of checking your ability to write sentences, check information quickly and solve numerical problems accurately.

Significantly increase your chances of becoming a police officer
It has been estimated that roughly 75% of people who apply to become a police officer never get past the initial application stage. With those that do only 1 in 10 actually go on to become police officers. With statistics like this anyone serious about becoming a police officer needs all the help they can get.

We have written a comprehensive 20 page e-book called ‘How to become a police officer’ which is aimed at maximising an applicants chances of getting through the entire selection process. Our guide covers every part of the application process in detail, including;

  • How to fill in your application form correctly.
  • What questions to expect during an interview.
  • How to answer interview questions. 
  • How to stand out from other applicants.
  • Role play exercises to help you prepare for any assessment.

Medical and physical fitness tests
If you are successfully then at the latter stages of your application you will have to undergo a medical and fitness examination. The examination itself includes physical tests to ensure applicants are able to do what can be reasonably expected of then during the course of their duty. These tests are set to nationally agreed levels, although some forces may have higher and tougher standards. Therefore it is always worth checking the entry requirements first, so you can prepare for it thoroughly. If you fail the test then certain forces will allow you to retake it.

This process is also known as the as a Job Related Fitness Test or JRFT for short and consists of the following phases:

  • The endurance test – a candidate basically has to run between two lines of a 15 meter course. Each line has to be reached by a certain time, which is indicated by an audio bleep.
  • The Push / Pull test – candidates must sit on a special pulling machine and pull and push a bar to a required level, again within a certain time.

The recruitment process will focus on the following main areas:

  • Personal responsibility.
  • Able to solve problems.
  • Communicating effectively.
  • Being able to work as part of a team.
  • Awareness of diversity issues.
  • Able to focus on community issues.

Reference and security checks
Before you are offered any position certain checks will have to be carried out on you.

  • Your references will be verified.
  • Security clearance checks.
  • Financial vetting.
  • You will have to complete a medical vetting questionnaire.

Benefits of becoming a police officer:

  • Break out from the 9-5 routine.
  • Interesting work.
  • Opportunity to serve the community.
  • Excellent career prospects.
  • Job security.

Police pay
The starting salary can range between £22,000 to £26,000. For those working in the capital London weighing can increase their salary by up to £6000.


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