Do you #FitTheBill

Police officers play a vital role in keeping our communities safe, whether they’re on the streets, working face to face with the general public, or behind the scenes, delivering a range of specialist services and improving how we police the county.

It’s not easy, but it is rewarding - packed with new and interesting experiences every day.

There are few careers that offer the variety of a police constable. Long term, you might wish to become a detective, a specialist dog handler or firearms officers. You may be a tech wiz and decide to become a cybercrime specialist or financial crime investigator. There are many specialised roles within the force, including supporting victims of child abuse, road traffic collisions, and counter terrorism. But whatever you choose, how far you go, is up to you.

Click on the links below to find out which roles are currently available, which routes into the police suit you best, the responsibilities, pay, benefits and training you’ll receive and how to apply.

Routes into policing

To become a police officer, you can follow one of these routes:

Student officer: This is the most direct route into policing as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. Once recruited, you will undergo extensive training as a student officer. You will be trained under the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP). Every force follows a national curriculum. At the end of a successful two-year period, your appointment in the office of police constable will be confirmed.

Apprenticeship: Join as a constable, and follow an apprenticeship in professional policing practice - you earn while you learn. This route normally takes three years with both on and off-the-job learning. On successfully finishing the programme, you complete your probation and achieve a degree. This if referred to as Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA)

Degree-holder entry: If you have a degree in any subject, you can join and follow a work-based programme, supported by off-the-job learning.  This route normally takes two years, and the learning you have undergone is recognised in a graduate diploma in professional policing practice when you complete your probation.

Policing degree: If you want to study first, you can do a three year degree in professional policing at your own expense, and then apply to a force and follow a shorter on-the-job training programme.


Am I eligible?

To find out if you #FitTheBill take a look at the eligibility requirements.


Academic qualifications and experience

You must have one of the following at the point of applying:

  • a UK level 3 qualification
  • an academic or vocational qualification gained outside of England and Wales which is considered by the UK National Recognition Information Centre to be equivalent to a level 3 qualification
  • experience as a Special Constable
  • experience as a Police Community Support Officer
  • experience as a Foundation Degree in Policing student
  • the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing or Foundation Degree in Policing.
  • experience of working with Chief Officer designated powers e.g. Community Warden.
  • experience of being a member of the Armed Forces
  • experience of being an officer of a non Home Office Force in the UK e.g. the Ministry of Defense (MOD), Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) and the British Transport Police (BTP)


You must be 17 or over to be eligible to apply but you must be 18 before a final offer can be made.

There is no upper age limit, however as the normal retirement age is 60, typically applicants may apply at 57. This takes into account the required two year probationary period and expectation of one year minimum service.

Business interest

You must declare any other employment or business interests you intend to maintain.

Cautions, convictions and vetting

Ideally, you shouldn't have a criminal conviction or cautions record. If you do have one, you may be rejected, although we may take into account your age at the time and nature of the offence.

Eyesight requirements

The standard you need to meet either with or without spectacles or contact lenses is:

Distance vision

  • 6/12 or better with either your right or left eye
  • 6/6 with both eyes together
  • if you wear spectacles or contact lenses you also need to reach 6/36 without your spectacles or lenses.

Near vision

  • 6/9 with both eyes together [aided].

Colour vision

The use of colour correcting lenses is not acceptable. Severe colour vision deficiencies (monochromacy) are not acceptable. Mild anomalous trichromacy is acceptable. Severe anomalous dichromacy or trichromacy is also acceptable but you will need to be aware of the deficiency and make appropriate adjustments.

Eye surgery

Radial keratotomy, arcuate keratotomy or corneal grafts are not acceptable. Other forms of refractive surgery such as LASIK, LASEK, PRK, ICRS and epiflap are all acceptable provided that six weeks have elapsed since surgery, there are no residual side effects and the other eyesight standards are met. You may be asked to provide a report from an optician.

Financial position

It's important that you're not under pressure from un-discharged debts or liabilities and that you can manage loans and debts sensibly. Your application will be rejected if you have:

  • existing County Court Judgement (CCJ)
  • current Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)
  • registered bankrupt and bankruptcy debts have not been discharged. You cannot apply until three years after the discharge of debt

Health and fitness

Successful applicants who receive a conditional offer of employment will be required to complete a medical health questionnaire and undertake a medical examination. Failure to meet the medical standards as determined by the Home Office will result in an applicant not being appointed.

Membership to BNP or similar groups

We won't accept applications from anyone who is, or has been, a member of the British National Party, Combat 18, National Front or similar organization.


You will be eligible if you are a British citizen, you are an European Economic Area (EEA) citizen, or a Swiss national.

If you're from outside the EEA, it's essential that you have leave to enter or to remain in the UK for an indefinite period.

You will also need a UK residence card or be able to prove your right to work in the UK as an EU citizen, for example, a valid UK National Insurance number, and are free from restrictions.

A minimum residency criteria of three years within the UK, applies before candidates can be considered for the Police.

Other force applications

You're only able to apply to one police force/service at a time. Your application will not be accepted if you have previously applied unsuccessfully, in the last six months, to another police force/service in England and Wales that requires candidates to undertake the Police SEARCH Recruit Assessment Centre.

Substance misuse

This contradicts everything the role of a police officer stands for - if you are currently using any illegal drugs, this will rule you out of the recruitment process automatically. Police Regulations state that you must be tested for substance misuse. Failure to provide a sample will result in your application being terminated.


Tattoos in keeping with a professional image may be appropriately exposed while wearing suitable uniform / clothing, e.g. short sleeves are permitted where a tattoo is on the arm or wrist. Anyone who has a tattoo that might be construed as discriminatory, violent, intimidating, political, lewd or offensive, to any religion or belief, will not be accepted to join Northamptonshire Police.

Facial studs, including tongue studs and pins cannot be worn. Any cultural or religious reasons for needing to wear facial jewellery should be brought to the attention of MFSS Resourcing at the application stage.

Driving licence

Applicants are required to hold a full driving licence at the point a final offer is made.

DNA and fingerprints

If appointed you must be prepared to have your DNA and fingerprints taken to be searched against the national databases and to be stored on the police elimination database. Police Regulations state that prior to appointment applicants must have their DNA and fingerprints taken for the purposes of a speculative search to ascertain if they have previously come to police attention or if the applicant is linked to any outstanding crime scenes or marks. Failure to consent to this will result in your appointment to the police service not being progressed.

Positive action workshops

Northamptonshire Police has a strong commitment to equality and diversity, striving to employ a workforce that reflects the diverse communities we serve.

To protect people, fight crime and bring offenders to justice, Northamptonshire Police seeks to attract, recruit, develop and retain the best talent from the widest pool of people.

Our application process is open to everyone, and we regularly run positive action workshops to help people make the most of their application to us.

Find out more about positive action workshops

Transferring your application to Northamptonshire Police

We are now accepting the transfer of Police SEARCH Assessment Centre PASS scores - find out if you're eligible to do so here.

If you are interested in transferring your assessment centre scores to Northamptonshire Police, please email

Current vacancies

We have regular recruitment windows for applications to become a police officer. Use the link below to see current vacancies.

View current vacancies

Find out more

If you have any questions about a career with Northamptonshire Police, or to express an interest outside of an application window, please email