Special Constables are part-time, voluntary police officers with all the same powers as full-time regular police officers. They come from all walks of life and join us for a variety of reasons. Becoming a Special Constable really is one of the most exciting and rewarding voluntary opportunities available.

Special Constabularies are a vital part of all Police Forces across the country, supporting and enhancing the work of regular police officers. At Northamptonshire Police, we recognise the immense value that Special Constables add.

We want people to join us, help make a difference and make our county a safer place.

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Am I eligible?

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

There are no minimum academic qualifications required to become a Special Constable. However all Special Constables should have a good foundation in Maths and English Language, both written and spoken, due to the nature of policing and the legal requirements of the role.

You must be over the age of  18 at point of application to become a Special Constable. There is no upper age.  

Being a Special Constable is a volunteer role so we need to ensure that this does not cause a conflict of interest with your paid employment. People working in Security, have designated powers or require a license (such as alcohol or gambling) from the police are unable to become special constables along with anyone who’s business could be perceived as benefiting from you being a special constable. Please email the team for more specific information.

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.

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.

Applicants are not required to hold a full or provisional UK driving licence. However as you progress as a Special Constable you may find yourself limited in certain areas you can volunteer if you are unable to drive vehicles.

Applicants who are employed in the following roles will not be eligible for selection:

  • Armed Forces Personnel
  • Traffic Wardens, civil enforcement officers and school crossing patrols
  • Neighbourhood and Street Wardens
  • Highways Agency Traffic Officers employed in an ‘on-road’ capacity
  • PCSOs
  • Members of private constabularies
  • Ministry of Justice employees (Magistrates, Judges, Clerks, CPS)
  • Immigration Officers

Applicants in the following roles (marked with a *) may be eligible at the discretion of the Special Recruitment Manager or Chief Officer and will require written support from their respective employers, Chief Officer, Governor or local NHS Trust. Applicants may also be required to produce a copy of their job description for consideration by the recruitment manager:

  • Armed Forces Reserves*
  • Fire Service*
  • Medical or Health Professionals*
  • Serious Organised Crime Agency Staff (SOCA)*
  • Security Personnel (including door supervisors)*
  • Prison Officers*
  • Probation officers, youth and social workers*
  • Holders and their partners of premises licences and designated premises supervisors, licensees of betting/gaming premises*

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.

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 process.

Successful applicants 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.

All applicants must have been resident in the UK for the last five years without break to meet the residency criteria.

If your residency abroad involved work with The British Armed Forces or on UK Government Service then you would still be considered to have been resident in the UK.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. PCSOs are salaried uniformed civilian members of police support staff who are employed to work alongside Police Officers.

Special Constables are fully warranted Police Officers who give their time voluntarily to work for the police.

Yes. You must be 18 to become a Special Constable.

No. Providing you pass our recruitment process, which includes a medical and fitness check, you are eligible to become a Special Constable.

No. The role of Special Constable is voluntary, however we will cover your travel expenses when travelling to and from shifts (from within the county).

The only cost implication will be for travel to and from your training and duties but this will be reimbursed through expenses at 45p per mile (from within the County border). You will also be provided full training and uniform by the Force.

Aside from being one of the most exciting voluntary opportunities available, you will also enjoy benefits from being part of Northamptonshire Police including: thousands of pounds worth of training invested in you, ongoing training and development, full uniform and kit, a career-voluntary opportunity, the chance to specialise in specific areas of policing, and much more.

As a Special, you can of course conduct more than the 16 hours per month - many of our Special Constables enjoy their duties so much that they do well in excess of the minimum! However that is of course up to you.

No. This is a voluntary role and there is no minimum term. We’re confident that you will enjoy the role of Special Constable, however if you don’t, then you can resign at any time. So it really is worth giving it a go.

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.

To find out more about diversity, equality, inclusion and positive action, look here.

We also have a direct email contact where you can find out more: [email protected]

Special Constables come from all walks of life and join up for various different reasons. They include:

  • Giving back to their community
  • An exciting, dynamic opportunity
  • A progressive, career-voluntary opportunity
  • Joining the ‘police family’
  • Challenging yourself
  • Professional development
  • Personal development
  • Meeting new people

Whilst there are no guarantees, the experience and exposure of being a Special Constable will certainly give you great insight and understanding into what a career as a Police Officer might look like. Many of our Special Constables go on to become regular, fulltime officers.

Find out more

To get tailored careers advice, support and one-to-one guidance through the recruitment process, you can contact our Specials Recruitment Team via email [email protected] and telephone: 101, extension 341118.

Contact the team