PCSOs walking through a town centre

Detailed eligibility requirements

Here are some of the detailied eligibility requirements for police officer candidates.

Eligibility requirements

Eligibility requirements for the police are fairly detailed, but we've provided a summary of some of the basic requirements. If you would like to know more, or have a specific query, please contact your chosen force.

  • age requirements
  • nationality requirements
  • criminal record
  • tattoos
  • financial status
  • physical fitness
  • health
  • eyesight
  • previous applications

Age requirements

Applications can be accepted at the age of 18. There's no upper age limit for applying to the police service, but bear in mind that the normal retirement age is 60 years and that new recruits are required to undertake a two-year probationary period.

Nationality requirements

You must be a British citizen, an EC/EEA national or a Commonwealth citizen or foreign national with no restrictions on your stay in the United Kingdom.

Foreign nationals and UK citizens who have lived abroad may have to wait some time for security and vetting clearance. All applicants have to be vetted to the same standard before appointment.

Criminal record

A number of crimes will mean a definite or likely rejection of your application, including anyone who has received a formal caution in the last five years, committed a violent crime or public order offence. If you are at all unsure, contact your chosen force contact your chosen force for more information.


You should not have tattoos which could cause offence. Tattoos are not acceptable if they are particularly prominent, garish, offensive or undermine the dignity and authority of your role. Contact your chosen force if you have any specific concerns.

Financial status

Applicants will have their financial status checked.

These checks are carried out because police officers have access to privileged information, which may make them vulnerable to corruption.

Applicants with outstanding County Court judgements, who have been registered bankrupt with outstanding debts, will be rejected. If you have discharged bankruptcy debts then you will need to provide a Certificate of Satisfaction with your application.

If you have any concerns, contact your chosen force for more information.

Physical fitness

To ensure you are fit enough for the role, you will undertake a fitness test. There are two elements to the test and you must pass both before you can be appointed.

We are looking for no more than the minimum standard needed to enable you to work effectively as a police officer. You will be given help to improve your fitness and if you prepare yourself properly, there is no reason for you to fail.

There are two elements to the test: dynamic strength and endurance fitness.


Police officers encounter stressful situations, trauma, physical confrontation and work long hours on shifts. They need to be resilient enough to cope with the demands and pressures of police work. Applicants must therefore be in good health mentally and physically to undertake police duties.

You will undergo a medical examination to ensure you meet the health standards required. Take a look at the medical standards for more information about some of the conditions that can exclude you.


Applicants will have their eyesight tested at the medical assessment stage. You may be asked to go to an optician to have your eyes tested and the eyesight form filled in. Failure to pass this test will lead to rejection.

Previous applications

You can only apply to one force at any one time.

If you have previously applied to join the police service and been unsuccessful, you must wait six months from your initial rejection before you can apply again.

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