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Eligibility criteria

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We welcome applications from people of all different backgrounds, cultures, religions, ages, gender and sexual orientation. However, there are some eligibility conditions that all applicants will need to meet, so you need to check that you meet our requirements before submitting an application.

Recruitment update for police officers – coronavirus (COVID-19)

In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we wanted to update you on the current position for the continuation of our recruitment processes.

Welcoming future police officers is as important as ever and recruiting individuals that are passionate about making a difference to the communities we serve.

We are making some changes to some of the recruitment elements in our process to be able to do these virtually, some of which are already in place and some to get in place as quickly as we can. Local forces are now running virtual interviews and we are working with the College of Policing on a virtual national force assessment centre which we expect to be ready in the coming weeks. This means a change for the timeframe of the process and we will keep you up-to-date with the progress of your application.

Our recruitment team are committed to supporting you and appreciate current circumstances may mean more questions, so please drop us a note with any questions you have at:

We look forward to receiving your application and progressing the ones we have already received!

You need to be 18 or over to apply, and applicants should be British citizens, or passport holders from a full EU member state. You can also apply if you’re a commonwealth citizen or foreign national who is resident in the UK with indefinite leave to remain. All applicants must have been resident in the UK for the three years immediately preceding application.

If you have a criminal record, this doesn’t mean you’re automatically ineligible; it depends on the nature of your conviction. Please declare any caution or conviction on your application form.

If you have any questions on this, you can contact for advice.

Tattoos which are offensive, garish, prominent or numerous are not acceptable. Please supply photos and measurements of any tattoos along with your application. If you are struggling with debt, you may still be able to apply. You just need to supply us with evidence of your ability to manage your debts successfully. However, if you have any outstanding county court judgments or you are an undischarged bankrupt, then you are automatically ineligible.

Minimum entry requirements

You must hold a full manual driving licence.

Pre-appointment checks

If you are successful in the selection process, you will receive a conditional offer, and we will start progressing your pre-appointment checks, which include:

  • Vetting
  • Medical checks
  • Drugs test
  • References
  • A fitness test.

In your fitness and health checks, you’ll have to demonstrate the following:

  • You must be in good health and your BMI must be between 18 and 30.
  • You must have good eyesight: Your sight will be tested by distance, near sight and colour vision. You must have good fitness levels: you will need to achieve 5.4 on a bleep test.
  • For more information on pre-appointment checks, please see the applicant help section.


Regardless of which role you are interested in for within BCH policing, including regulars, specials, PCSO, staff, agency, volunteers, cadet leaders, cadets, interns, apprentices and those working for us indirectly, like contractors, everyone is required to go through a police vetting process and in some cases, an additional national security vetting process. These processes also continue at regular intervals throughout your time in policing.

Vetting by its nature is intrusive into your personal life, the extent of the intrusiveness will depend upon your exact role within policing.  There are also different levels of police vetting [RV/MV] and/or national security vetting [CTC/SC/DV].  But vetting is about how we can include you in the workforce, and not about trying to exclude you, unless it’s necessary of course.

If you have not lived in the UK all your life, you [and in some cases your associates-see 4 below] will need to have what is known as a checkable history, this generally means that you/they must have been resident in the UK for at least the last three years.  In some cases this will need to be a longer period and in others it may be a shorter period.  There are four main areas in police vetting;

  1. Your criminality/offending [if any] including allegations of criminality/offending.  This includes a criminal record check but also for example if you were arrested but released with no further action.  Also a variety of other disposals; fixed penalty notice, police information notice, penalty notice for disorder, etc.  Having a criminal record per se, may not be a reason for us to refuse your vetting clearance.
  2. Your personal finances.  This includes a Credit Reference check, particularly for county court judgements, individual voluntary arrangement, defaults, arrears, financial association, etc.  For your own peace of mind, we suggest you obtain a copy of your credit file from one of the three main credit reference agencies in the UK, so you can understand your own personal financial position.
  3. Your social media presence.  Facebook, Twitter, etc.   Is anything that might reasonably be considered as discriminatory, abusive, oppressive, harassing, bullying, victimising, offensive or otherwise incompatible with policing principles?  Or publish online or elsewhere, or offer for publication, any material that might undermine your own reputation or that of the policing profession or might run the risk of damaging public confidence in the police service.
  4. Your association to those involved in offending or past offending [if any] including allegations of criminality/offending.  By association we mean the people you live with, your family [parents, children, brothers/sisters, etc] and your friends/acquaintances. The background checks that we conduct far exceed those conducted for the DBS [formally CRB].  We search many national and local information databases.  So it is essential that you are open, honest and transparent with us when completing the initial recruitment application form and also the vetting questionnaire form towards the end of the process.

Whilst this may all sound daunting, we look at each person and circumstances on an individual case by case basis, and each case on its own merits.  Indeed, on average 95% of applicants pass the BCH police vetting process.

In the event that you do not initially pass our vetting process, there is an appeals process.  Whilst the success rate varies, on average about 30%-40% of appeals are successful.

The Vetting process is one part of the pre-employment checks that are instigated by the HR department.  The actual vetting part by the BCH Vetting Unit on average takes about one month but it can take much longer.

During the recruitment process, usually towards the end of it, you will need to complete a vetting questionnaire form.  It is a fairly lengthy questionnaire so take your time and allow sufficient time to complete it.  Please take it seriously and thoughtfully.  You may need to partly save it so you can find specific information and come back to it another time.   You must provide complete and accurate information in response to all vetting enquiries. If you fail to tell us about requested information, then this is likely to be regarded as evidence of unreliability and will be taken into account in assessing your suitability to hold vetting clearance.

The vetting questionnaire process will either be online via a secure web link that will be sent to you by email, it will also need a username and password protection.   Or it may be via an interactive PDF that is sent by email.  So look out for emails in your inbox and spam.

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