We are now recruiting through our degree holder entry programme. Apply now.
Join as a police officer
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:
Apprenticeship entry: Join as a constable, and follow an professional programme in 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.
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.
Regular officer entry: This is the traditional entry route into policing where you don't need a degree. At the end of a successful two-year period – known as the probationary period - your appointment in the office of police constable will be confirmed.
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.
You must have one of the following at the point of applying:
two UK A-level or equivalent 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)
DHEP Entry Qualification Requirements:
Applicants for DHEP hold have a minimum of a UK bachelor’s degree qualification* (Level 6) or equivalent (or be in the final year of study). Official results would be required before an offer of appointment is made.
This is a level 6 degree qualification (as determined in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education)
OR an academic or vocational qualification gained outside England and Wales which is considered by the UK National Recognition Information Centre to be equivalent to a UK level 6 degree qualification.
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.
You must declare any other employment or business interests you intend to maintain.
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.
The standard you need to meet either with or without spectacles or contact lenses is:
• Corrected distance visual acuity must be 6/12 in either eye and 6/6 or better, binocularly. • Corrected near static visual acuity must be 6/9 or better, binocularly. [Applicants who do not reach the standard should not be rejected but should be invited for a further test after obtaining a stronger prescription]. • Corrected low contrast distance visual acuity must be 6/12 or better for a 10% contrast target, binocularly.
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
What does the fitness test consist of?
Candidates are required to complete a 15m multi-stage shuttle run (bleep test) to level 5.4 (3 minutes and 40 secs).
The bleep test includes a warm up to level 3 (1 min 30 secs), followed by stretching.
Candidates are entitled to three attempts to pass the test, after an agreed time period for training and improvement, depending upon level of fitness/strength. This will be agreed by the candidate and the trainer. If a candidate fails at the third attempt they are rejected from the recruitment process.
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.
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.
You may apply to more than one Force 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.
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.
Applicants are required to hold a full manual driving licence at the point a final offer is made.
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.