5. Recruitment process/timetable

At the end of each stage of the recruitment process, you will be notified by email whether or not you have been successful and are therefore eligible to proceed to the next stage. You can also log in to view your application status. If you have not received an email, you should check your junk mail/filter settings in case the email/emails get filtered by your spam software.

  • Application form and eligibility checks
  • Telephone interview
  • Force interview and presentation
  • SEARCH assessment (we're accepting score transfers, see below)
  • Pre-employment checks and fitness assessment

Key dates and times

Below are some important dates setting out the time frames for this recruitment process:

Recruitment open: 1 April 9:30am
Recruitment close: 11 May 11:55pm
Telephone interview: April and May
Recruitment interview and presentation: May and June
SEARCH assessment centre: W/C 13 July & 17 August
Pre-employment checks: September

You must be available to complete all of the stages. If you are not available for any stages of the process for any reason, for example a pre-arranged holiday, we may not be able to process your application as alternative dates may not be available.

Stage 1 - Application form

You can complete the national police officer application form via the online e-recruitment portal between the following dates and times:

  • Open: 13 January 09:30am
  • Close: 31 March 11:55pm

If you have any tattoos, please ensure you enclose a photograph of them as per the application form guidelines.

Stage 2 - Telephone interview

Your telephone interview will last for approximately 30 minutes. The interview will focus on your motivation for becoming a police officer and your knowledge about the role/force.

It is advised that you conduct research into the role of a police officer and the force.

You will be provided with your result two weeks after your interview.

Stage 3 - Interview & presentation

If successful at the telephone interview stage, you will be invited to deliver a 10 minute presentation which will also include a 10 minute Questions & Answers session and a force interview with our senior managers. You will be provided with further details nearer the time so you are able to prepare.

You will need to bring with you original level 6 certificate or equivalent, exam slips or letters from the relevant educational establishment as proof of your qualification that you have successfully attained at the time of your application.

You will receive your results within 10 working days after your attendance.

Stage 4 - SEARCH Assessment

If successful at the force interview, you will be invited to attend a National SEARCH Assessment Centre. These are held at the National College of Policing at Ryton, near Coventry. The assessments lasts for half a day.

Candidates are required to undertake a variety of exercises, which will be based on the Policing Professional Framework.

  • competency based structure interview
  • two written tests
  • four interactive exercises
  • Police Initial Recruitment Test (Verbal logical reasoning and numerical reasoning)

You will be told in advance about what will happen on the day and be given details so that you have time to prepare.

The current national pass mark for applicants attending the SEARCH Assessment Centre is 50% and a pass in all areas. You will be provided with your result three weeks after your attendance.

You will not be able to submit an application if you have attended the SEARCH assessment centre within the previous three months from today's date.

Transferred scores - SEARCH Assessment Centre

We are able to accept transferred scores providing you meet the following requirements:

  • assessment centre – score a pass and mark of 50% or above, this must have been completed within the last six months from the date of submission of your application.
  • the transfer of scores can still apply if your application is in process with another force. However, in order to transfer your score to this process you must withdraw your application from the previous force.

You will need to provide proof of your score (either confirmation from another force or College of Policing) and submit it to us with your online application form.

If you have been declined at any other stage of the national process, for example national criteria, Competency Based Questionnaire (CBQ), assessment centre, medical, fitness and vetting you will not be able to transfer your score.

Applicants transferring scores should be aware of the following:

  • if you are transferring your assessment centre score you will be required to attend and pass the force interview
  • the national recruitment process does not allow applicants to take more than one SEARCH assessment Centre in any three month period
  • you can have only one live application with a force at any time

Stage 5 - Pre-employment checks

If you are successful at the SEARCH Assessment Centre you will receive a letter stating that you will be appointed, subject to satisfactorily passing vetting checks, media checks, finance checks, references, medical and fitness tests. Once you have successfully completed all pre-employment checks you will receive an offer of appointment, conditions of service, starter pack and joining instructions.

During the application and selection process we will be assessing your mental and physical fitness to undertake the role.

Fitness test

The Job Related Fitness Test (JRFT) looks to see whether you are fit for the job and are ready for Officer Safety Training, where you learn to protect yourself and others. You will be required to undertake:

  • a running test (known as a multi-stage shuttle run or bleep test) to level 5:4
  • test of dynamic or upper body fitness (the push/pull test) to 34kg and 35kg)

TO PASS - improve your fitness before your medical. For the bleep test, aim for a hard run for 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week.

Medical assessment

A medical assessment will generally be carried out by our Occupational Health Team. They will check the following:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • eye sight test
  • colour vision
  • lung function
  • hearing

You will be asked to complete a confidential medical history questionnaire. Depending on your medical history, we may have to contact your GP/specialist for further information.

Once you have been declared medically fit we will progress your application to the next stage.

Check your Body Mass Index at www.nhs.uk.

Find out more about healthy eating at www.nhs.uk/change4life


We send reference requests to your current employer and all previous employers in the last three years. If you haven't been employed for three years, we will ask for a character reference or an educational reference.

Attendance criteria

The fore has a strict absence policy set of criteria of no more than nine and/or more than three separate occasions of sickness absence in the previous 12 months.

Vetting checks

The vetting process is entirely confidential and the outcomes (other than pass/fail) are not shared with anyone else in the organisation (including traines, future line managers or fellow trainees) or anyone outside of the organisation (including family).

We will carry out security checks on you and your:

  • spouse/partner
  • father
  • stepfather/mother's partner
  • mother
  • stepmother/father's partner
  • brothers/sisters (full/half/step)
  • children/children of your partner (only those aged 10 years and over)
  • any other adult living at your address

Financial circumstance

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 (CCJs), Individual Voluntary Agreements (IVAs) or 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. At least three years will need to have passed since the date of discharge.

Applicants with cautions/convictions/reprimands, other than some motoring offences, may not be accepted.

Biometric vetting

We will need to take fingerprints and DNA samples to carry out some final vetting checks against the national police database.