2. Are you eligible to apply?

The eligibility requirements for becoming a police officer are laid out clearly below. 

To be able to apply you must meet the minimum criteria so please them carefully.

To meet the minimum personal eligibility criteria, all of the 5 statements below must apply to you.

  1. I am an EEA or Swiss National
  2. I have lived in the UK continuously for the last 3 years
  3. You must be 17 years old (or older) at the point of application. If you are 17, you can go through the recruitment and selection process, but will not receive an offer of employment until you have turned 18
  4. I hold a full UK manual driving licence (with 6 points or less on it)
  5. I have not been unsuccessful in an application for the same role with any home office force in the last six months

Additional notes

  • if you’re due to obtain your licence soon, you can still apply now and mark this as pending on your application
  • if you are not yet 18, you can still begin the application process. You will not receive an offer of employment until you are 18
  • Commonwealth citizens and foreign nationals can also apply if you have leave to enter or remain in the UK indefinitely and you're free of restrictions
  • 3 years residency in the UK does not apply to those serving abroad with the British Armed Forces
  • there are no height restrictions for those wishing to join us.

To meet the minimum education and experience requirements you must be able to say ‘yes’ to one of 6 points below or meet the serving special constable criteria.

Additional notes and explanations can be found below.

  1. I have 2 A-levels (or more) or a Level 3 equivalent qualification
  2. I have an academic or vocational qualification gained outside England and Wales which is considered by the UK National Recognition Information Centre to be equal to 2 A levels
  3. I've served in the military, armed forces or similar law enforcement agency, have successfully completed the minimum term of service (exceptional cases of shorter periods may be considered) and have achieved an exemplary reference on discharge
  4. I currently hold a valid Level 3 Certificate in Knowledge of Policing
  5. I am a serving Kent Police PCSO and have completed 2 years’ service
  6. I'm a serving Kent Police staff member and have passed my probationary period. I've also passed any specific contractual terms and have the support of my senior management team.

Serving special constables

If you are a serving special constable who joined after 1 January 2015, you are required to achieve independent patrol status, complete your Level 3 Diploma, knowledge and understanding elements and receive sign-off from your respective special constable co-ordinator before being eligible to apply, unless you hold the requisite qualifications.

If you are a serving special constable who joined prior to 1 January 2015, you must have obtained independent patrol status and have sign-off from your respective special constable co-ordinator.


Additional notes

If you are interested in a career with us, we are currently accepting transfer of successful SEARCH, National online assessment or day one results if obtained within the last 24 months.
If you meet this criteria, please attach your detailed results to your application (you can request these from the force you originally passed with) and declare this on your application form. If acceptable, we will transfer these results and you will not be required to undertake our online assessment stage.
Please note: This option is not applicable if your original application was unsuccessful within the past six months (not including voluntary withdrawal).

Policing is not easy. Not only do you need determination and drive but you also need to be as healthy as possible and have a good level of fitness.


Some medical conditions can prevent you from being able to cope with the physical and mental demands of the job. 

To find out more please view our health and fitness FAQs as well as the the HM Government medical standards information which provides full details on which illnesses, injuries and disorders will affect your ability to perform the role of a police officer.


In relation to your fitness if you undertake some form of regular exercise, there should be no issue with meeting the physical requirements in the fitness test.  This means achieving level 5.4 on the 'bleep test'.

Find out more on the College of Policing website.

If you answer 'yes' to having a tattoo during the 'eligibility' stage, you'll be asked to provide a brief and accurate description. 
Colour photographs will be requested (two digital photographs of each tattoo):
  • a distance photograph to clearly identify where on your body the tattoo is
  • a close photograph which clearly identifies the image/s in the tattoo.
Each photograph should not be more than 1MB in size. Please email them to the Business Services - recruitment team.

What won't be allowed

Visible tattoos are deemed unacceptable if they could reasonably be interpreted as:
  • discriminatory
  • offensive
  • indicate of attitudes or views which are inconsistent with the College of Policing's Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Behaviour.
Tattoos meeting any of the above criteria will prevent you from being able to join us.
Careful consideration will be given to any tattoo located on the neck, face or hands in deciding if this is acceptable. This includes consideration of the size, nature and prominence of the tattoo.
Such tattoos are unlikely to present a professional image such that they will, more often than not, also be a bar to joining us.
If you have a tattoo on your face, neck (above your collar line) and hands we'll need to see it so we can make a decision on whether or not you can continue with your application.

Body piercings

If you have a body piercing or other body modification you still may be considered eligible to apply.

We'll check it to make sure it doesn't breach the Standard of Professional Behaviour for serving police officers or constitute a risk to health and safety.

Ideally, you shouldn't have a criminal conviction or cautions record. If you do have one, eligibility will depend on the age and nature of the offence.

We're unable to confirm whether your convictions record will affect your application before you apply but will determine this from information provided during the recruitment and selection process.

If you don't tell us about any cautions, investigations or criminal convictions that may be linked to you at an early stage, your application could be refused simply because you weren't open and up front, whereas it might have been accepted if you were.

If in any doubt, disclose the information.

For more information please view our vetting guidance.

It's important that you're not under pressure from un-discharged debts or liabilities and that you can manage loans and debts sensibly.

You will not qualify for vetting clearance if you:

  • have existing county court judgments outstanding
  • have been registered bankrupt and have not discharged your bankruptcy. Applicants will not be considered until 3 years after the discharge of the debt. Debt Relief Orders (DRO) are treated in the same way as bankruptcy
  • if you refuse to discuss a relevant matter or engage with the vetting process.

For more information please view the vetting guidance.

You will be required to undertake a substance misuse test as a part of the pre-employment checks in the recruitment process.

If you are using illegal drugs you will be ruled out of the recruitment process automatically.