Q: How old must I be to join as a police constable (PC)?
A: 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.
Q: What qualifications do I need?
A: You need to have a minimum of 2 A-levels or a Level 3 equivalent qualification. If you are due to finish studies soon you may be eligible to apply now - view pending qualifications.
If you are unsure if your qualification is recognised as a Level 3 (or A-Level equivalent) you can use the Register of regulated qualifications website to check before applying.
Q: Do I need to have qualifications in policing?
A: No, qualifications can be in any subject as long as they are a pass, or are equivalent to 2 A-levels.
Q: Do I need to have a driving licence?
A: Yes, you must hold a full UK manual driving licence at the point of application.
Q: Are there height restrictions?
A: No, there are no height restrictions for those wishing to join us.
Q: I have a health and fitness concern
A: Please visit our health, fitness and recruitment process FAQs to take a look at common questions regarding health conditions and the recruitment process.
Q: How long does the recruitment process take?
A: This process differs for each candidate; usually it can take between 12 to 15 months (depending on circumstances).
Q: How long is the training and where does it take place?
A: Initial training is held at the Kent Police College in Maidstone for 19 weeks, followed by 10 weeks of tutoring on division.
Q: What is the training like?
A: The training will consist of a number of elements including
- classroom inputs
- drill practice
- fitness sessions and
It is hands on, challenging and intense but there is plenty of support in place to help you throughout the course.
Q: How fit do you need to be?
A: Our initial fitness test is 5.4 on the 15 metre bleep test. Higher levels of fitness are required for certain specialist roles.
Q: What if I have a criminal conviction?
A: This is dealt with by our vetting team, but it must be declared on your application.
Q: What happens if someone I know has a criminal conviction?
A: This is dealt with by our vetting team, but must be declared on paperwork when necessary.
Q: What is the process surrounding tattoos?
All tattoos must be declared on applications; photographs should be sent in and these are all reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Tattoos which are deemed offensive, or any tattoos on the face, neck or hands will result in an automatic rejection of an application. Find out more about tattoos and piercings.
Q: When can I specialise or get promoted?
A: After 2 years’ experience, and passing your probationary period, you can sit the Sergeant’s exam, or apply for a specialist role which could include armed policing, dog handler, detective or something else. We have 99 roles available as a police officer alone so there is certainly plenty of choice!
Q: What is the starting salary?
You will receive a starting salary of £26,158, rising to £43,630 within your first seven years (this includes £2,500 South East allowance).
Q: What are the shifts?
A: You will work a mix of early, late and night shifts – this will include working weekends.
Q: How much holiday will I get?
A: Officers start on 22 days annual leave per year.
Q: What other benefits will I receive?
A: We offer
- gym facilities
- recreational association
- development and career progression
- police pension.
Q: What happens in the recruitment process?
A: There are a number of stages to our recruitment process;
- online application
- briefing event
- College of Policing’s (CoP) Online Assessment Process (previously known as SEARCH assessment)
- Senior interview
- Fitness and medical testing
Q: What does the online assessment process comprise of?
A: College of Policing’s (CoP) Online Assessment Process
SEARCH Assessment has now been replaced with the College of Policing online assessment process. To prepare for the College of Policing’s (CoP) Online Assessment Process please take a look at the following:
- CoP assessment process candidate guide
- CoP assessment process overview
- CoP competency and values framework for policing. You will be assessed at Level 1 – practitioner.
Q: What is the senior interview?
A: The senior interview follows approximately 1 week after the online assessment process and is a competency based interview with a panel of 2 senior officers/staff (Inspector and above).
Q: Will I get to choose where I work?
A: During training, you are able to specify 3 posting preferences. Your preferences are not guaranteed but you will be matched with your choices as closely as possible. Postings are based on organisational/operational need.