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Devon & Cornwall Police
Police Officer FAQ’s

Age
Applications can be accepted at the age of 17 but any appointment is from the age of 18.

There is no upper age limit for applying to the police service, but bear in mind that the normal retirement age is 60 years and that new constable recruits are required to undertake a two year probationary period forthe DHEP or 3 years for the PCDA.
UK Qualifications

Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA)

You must hold a Level 2 qualification in Math’s and English language, at grade C and above. Should you not have the level 2 qualifications, please read the Attaining Maths & English document on our useful documents page about how to obtain this.

You must meet one of the following:

Hold a level 3 qualification in any subject or equivalent or award such as:
  • A Level
  • AS Level
  • Advanced Diploma
  • National Diploma
  • National Certificate
  • National Award
  • Level 3 Diploma
  • Level 3 Certificate
  • Level 3 Award
  • Level 3 International Certificate in Computer Studies
  • (ICCS) NCC Education UK
  • Level 3 NVQ
  • City & Guilds, Level 3
  • NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety Access to Higher Education Diploma
  • A serving PCSO, who has been in post for at least 18 months at the time of application and been assessed by line manager as fully competent.
  • A serving Special Constable who has attained accompanied patrol status at the time of application, who are consistently completing 16 hours per month and are up to date with all mandatory training.

Please check with your examining body if you are unsure of the level of qualification you hold. We will need to see original certificates later in the recruitment process).

SHL (If you do not have a Level 3 qualification only)

If you do not have a Level 3 qualification or 18 months service as a Special or PCSO you are able to complete an SHL Test which is a verbal reason and calculation test. This will test your academic ability to Level 3.

Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP)

In order to be eligible for this route you have to have previously achieved, or be obtaining within the next six months, an Undergraduate or Bachelor's Degree Level 6 with either an Honours Level Degree classification or an Ordinary Degree classification (not in Professional Policing Practice). A Master's Degree at Level 7 is also acceptable.

Please note a foundation degree does not make you eligible for this entry route, however you may be considered for the PCDA route should you meet the above requirements.
Overseas Qualifications
We welcome those to apply who have achieved comparable qualifications from outside the UK. Please ensure you attach your original certificates to your application and any translated documents you may have.

Students who have studied in a country that does not provide GCSEs are potentially exempt from the condition of funding where the overseas qualifications they hold are equivalent to GCSE grade 4 or grade C.

Institutions must get confirmation from the National Academic Recognition Information Centre (UK NARIC) that the qualification is equivalent to GCSE grade 9 to 4 or A* to C. NARIC is the UK’s national agency responsible for providing information and opinion on academic, vocational and professional qualifications from across the world.

As well as confirmation from NARIC that an overseas qualification is equivalent to GCSE grade 4 or grade C, institutions also have to ensure that the student possesses the necessary competence in maths and English to achieve their programme. If the student needs additional teaching or support to function on their programme, institutions must include it in the programme. This kind of activity is eligible for funding and should be included in the planned hours.

Students who have achieved the International Certificate in Christian Education (ICCE) do not have to study maths and English, as the ICCE is equivalent to a standard pass in maths and English. When students have achieved an ICCE, institutions can record an exemption for holding an overseas equivalent qualification. They do not have to get the equivalence certified by NARIC.
I don’t have my qualification certificates, what do I do?
We will accept with your application with proof supplied by either the original results slip detailing your name, school/college, date of birth, qualification, awarding body and grade, or a bespoke letter from the school/college, providing the same information.

Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police do reserve the right to insist that applicants supply original certificates.

Some schools and colleges will charge up to £120 for replacement certificates, which can take up to four weeks to arrive. We will not reimburse applicants for any costs associated with obtaining this information.
Residency
Applicants must have resided in the UK for three continuous years immediately prior to application.
Nationality
You can apply to become a Police Officer as long as you are an EEA National or a Swiss National.

Commonwealth citizens and Foreign Nationals are required to have leave to enter or leave to remain in the UK for an indefinite period.
Driving licence
All officers are required to have a full manual driving licence on appointment. You can apply if you have a provisional licence but any appointment is subject to achieving a full licence.
Membership to BNP or similar groups.
You must not be a member, or have been, of an extreme political organisation such as a BNP, National Front or Combat 18 or similar organisations.
Tattoos
Not necessarily as tattoos are assessed on an a case by case basis. If you have tattoos you will need to make a declaration at the time of application.

We will ask you to send in two digital pictures of each tattoo. One distance photograph clearly showing where on your body the tattoo is located and a second close up photograph that we can use to assess this against our standards.

We would require a verifiable translation of any any tattoos containing non-English words, characters or representation and an explanation of the tattoos’ meaning or significance.
Previous convictions or recent cautions, bind-overs or findings of guilt
Ideally, you shouldn't have a criminal conviction or cautions. If you do have one, acceptance will depend on the age and nature of the offence. It is not possible to set out a full list of convictions that will preclude a person from becoming a Police Officer. Each case will be considered on its own merits, and if the offence is deemed sufficiently serious a person will be rejected irrespective of age at time of offending. There may be circumstances where an individual does not fall within the criteria, but whose suspected involvement in crime, or criminal associations make an offer of employment inappropriate. Click here for National Convictions Guidelines.
Financial Position
Must not have any current County Court Judgements (CCJ) against you.

If you are the subject of an Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA) and can demonstrate at least 6 months of regular payments via a payment plan the force can assess this on a case by case basis.

If you have been registered bankrupt you may apply if it is at least three years since the date your debts were discharged.
Other applications
You may apply to more than one force at a time, however you can only sit the assessment centre once within a 6 month period, unless otherwise notified by the force you are continuing your application with.
What do I need when completing my online application?
When completing your online application, you will need some personal information, such as:

  • Your Driving Licence Number
  • Your National Insurance Number
  • Details of your home address for the last 5 years
How do I contact Devon & Cornwall Police about my application?
If you have questions that aren’t answered on this page then you can email us at:

Alliance Resourcing.

We will try to respond to you within 72 hours during normal office hours, Monday to Thursday 9am–4pm and Friday 9am–3pm.
I have a problem using the online assessment centre who should I contact
If you encounter technical difficulties during your assessment, please contact the College of Policing who will assist in resolving the issue.

You may also contact [email protected] if you feel your assessment was impacted due to the technical issues.
I am have a problem using the e-recruitment system who should I contact
If you have any technical questions relating to the online application form behaviour styles questionnaire or situational judgement test, please use the self-help links on the left hand menu of the e-recruitment system.

If you are still unable to resolve the issue this way then you can email us at Alliance Resourcing.

We will try to respond to you within 72 hours during normal office hours, Monday to Thursday 9am–4pm and Friday 9am–3pm.
I will be 18 on the date of the Assessment Centre. Can I still apply to join?
Applications can be accepted at the age of 17 but any appointment is from the age of 18.

There is no upper age limit for applying to the police service, but bear in mind that the normal retirement age is 60 years and that new constable recruits are required to undertake a two year probationary period forthe DHEP or 3 years for the PCDA.
I have not received an email confirming if I have passed or failed. What should I do?
At the end of each element of the online process you will receive an email to check the e-recruitment system for the update. You are encouraged to ensure you have amended your filter settings as emails can be sent to your junk mail by your spam software.
I have tattoos. Will this stop me becoming a Police Officer?
Not necessarily as tattoos are assessed on an a case by case basis. If you have tattoos you will need to make a declaration at the time of application.

We will ask you to send in two digital pictures of each tattoo. One distance photograph clearly showing where on your body the tattoo is located and a second close up photograph that we can use to assess this against our standards.

We would require a verifiable translation of any any tattoos containing non-English words, characters or representation and an explanation of the tattoos’ meaning or significance.
I am not a British citizen. Can I still apply to join Dorset Police as an officer?
You must be a British citizen, an EC/EEA national, a Commonwealth citizen or a foreign national with no restrictions on your stay in the United Kingdom. You will be required to provide proof at any Assessment Centre that you have no restrictions on your stay in the UK and when assessing an applicant’s eligibility under the nationality rules, the force will carry out a check either against a full passport or national identity card or, where this is not available, a Home Office document confirming the individual has the required nationality and immigration status for the post.

Irrespective of nationality, applicants must have been a resident in the UK for three years prior to submitting the application form and the calculation of the three year period of time refers to the period immediately before an application is made, and not any other three year period, or any other accumulation of time spent in the UK.

An individual who has spent a significant period of time overseas (no more than 12 months) within a three year period such as a gap year or an individual who has gone travelling will be considered to have taken an extended holiday. As such they will maintain residency in the UK and therefore be eligible for consideration under the residency criteria.

An individual who has spent a significant period of time overseas (no more than 12 months) within a three year period working abroad but has maintained residency in the UK will be eligible for consideration under the residency criteria as long as equitable employment references can be made.

Foreign nationality is not an automatic bar to recruitment or to granting security vetting clearance (which is a necessary part of the recruitment process). However, if individuals cannot be vetted in line with the requirements of the National Vetting Policy, they cannot be granted vetting clearance, as the risk cannot be adequately assessed.

Essentially we will need to be able to carry out equitable security checks on you and your family members but in some cases due to disproportionate costs or difficulties in obtaining the necessary information from various countries of your origin or residency we may not be able to satisfactorily carry out these checks. In such cases the recruitment process cannot continue and it will be necessary for the force to reject your application.
Do I need a driving licence to apply?
All officers are required to have a full manual driving licence on appointment. You can apply if you have a provisional licence but any appointment is subject to achieving a full licence.
I have a motoring offence(s). Can I still apply to become an officer?
Dorset Police will need to assess the motoring offences. However, if you have more than six penalty points on your driving licence and/or two or more motoring offences within the three years prior to the application date you may not be eligible to apply to join Dorset Police as a student officer.
I have a criminal record. Can I still apply to become an officer?
Eligibility will depend on the nature and circumstances of the offence. It is not possible to set out a full list of convictions that will preclude a person from becoming a Police Officer.

Each case will be considered on its own merits, and if the offence is deemed sufficiently serious a person will be rejected irrespective of age at time of offending.

There may be circumstances where an individual does not fall within the criteria, but whose suspected involvement in crime, or criminal associations make an offer of employment inappropriate.
I have a Police Officer application to another force – can I transfer this?
We would only accept transferred applications/scores from other forces during a live campaign.

As of November 2019 candidates can apply to multiple forces at the same time as long as they only attend one national assessment within a 6 month period.

The force will ask you to withdraw any current application prior to a conditional offer of appointment being made to start with the force.
I have previously been unsuccessful in my application to become a Police Officer in another Force, can I still apply?
If you have been unsuccessful at the national assessment centre within the last six months (based on the date you were notified of the outcome of the process) you will be able to apply but your application would be held in abeyance until the 6 months have elapsed.
I am a serving PCSO or Special Constable, can I transfer to become a Police Officer?
No, you would have to go through the official recruitment process like all other applicants in order to qualify as a Police Officer.
I would like to become a firearms officer/dog handler/detective/air observer etc. If my application is successful can I join the unit straight away?
No. All newly recruited Police Officers must undergo a probationary period, so you could not apply for any specialist posts within Dorset Police until you have completed this.
Can I become a Police Officer if I wear glasses or contact lenses?
As part of the recruitment process you will need to undergo an eye test. New recruits must have at least 6/12 vision in the right or left eye, or at least 6/6 vision in both eyes. Those who wear glasses or contact lenses, should wear correction where necessary to achieve 6/6 in both eyes.

For further information please refer to the national standards which can be accessed here.
Can I become a Police Officer if I am colour blind?
Those with colour blindness are eligible to become Police Officers, but would be restricted from fulfilling certain posts, such as traffic officer or firearms officer. If your colour blindness is monochrome, you would be unable to apply.
If I have a disability can I apply to become a Police Officer?
We welcome applications from people with disabilities as defined by the Equality Act 2010 i.e. a person is disabled under this Act if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term (over 12 months) adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day tasks.

If you require an adjustment to the recruitment process in relation to a Specified Learning Difficulty e.g. dyslexia, dyspraxia, supporting information in the form of a medical or specialist’s report which provides information regarding your disability/the difficulties you experience should be submitted with your application form.

Every request for a reasonable adjustment or accommodations is considered individually to reflect the understanding that every individual has unique requirements.
I have a medical condition, does that prevent me from joining Dorset Police?
It will depend upon the nature of the medical condition. We require that all our new officers undergo a medical assessment with our Occupational Health Support Unit. You will need to pass the national medical assessment to be eligible to join.

For further information on the national standards please seehere.
Is there a height restriction for Police Officers?
No. There is no minimum or maximum height restriction.
How long does the whole recruitment process take?
The process can take up to six months to complete. However intakes are planned throughout the year therefore it may be longer before you commence as a student officer.
I have children/caring responsibilities, is this still a career for me?
An important consideration for every applicant is that you WILL have to work shifts as a police officer, covering a 24-hour period. There are many different shift patterns but generally they cover 8-10 hours Monday to Sunday (earlies, lates and nights) incorporated with rest days. Upon completion you are probationary period, unpaid career breaks of between three months to five years are also currently available. The force does have several family-friendly policies such as a generous maternity leave scheme, paternity leave, child-care vouchers as well as part-time working which is also available in the probationary period.

Whilst on probation you must work at least 24 hours per week (or 1,248 hours per year). However, initial training must be completed on a full-time basis (approximately first 31 weeks). Salary, leave entitlement etc would be calculated on a pro-rata basis. If you are seeking part time hours in order to support you please indicate your intentions at the earliest opportunity.

It is important to note that a request to work part-time will not affect or influence your application in any way, as a decision will be solely based on your evidenced application and subsequent performance over various assessments.
Can I transfer my standard DHEP application to the DHEP Detective application process?
Regretfully no. This is due to the assessment processes being different for each process.
I applied but did not progress from the Behaviour Styles Questionnaire or Situational Judgment Test to the application stage. Can I apply?
We will allow any candidate who has been unsuccessful at the above stages to apply in the next live campaign.
I have a criminal record. Can I still apply to become an officer?
Eligibility will depend on the nature and circumstances of the offence. It is not possible to set out a full list of convictions that will preclude a person from becoming a Police Officer.

Each case will be considered on its own merits, and if the offence is deemed sufficiently serious a person will be rejected irrespective of age at time of offending.

There may be circumstances where an individual does not fall within the criteria, but whose suspected involvement in crime, or criminal associations make an offer of employment inappropriate.

Click here for National Convictions Guidelines.
I applied to another force via the Pre-Assessment tool but did not progress to the application stage. Can I apply?
We will allow any candidate who has been unsuccessful through the pre-assessment tool in another Force to register their interest for this campaign.
If successful where does the training take place?
For Devon & Cornwall Police applicants, initial training will be completed at Force Headquarters, Middlemoor, Exeter, Devon.
Who will my learning provider be?
Devon & Cornwall Police have identified their learning provider as the University of South Wales, please click here for further information about the University and course.
Reasonable Adjustments

While diagnostic assessments for neurodiverse conditions are helpful in providing an accurate picture of an individual’s abilities, it is recognised that there can be barriers in obtaining such assessments, for example the cost of reports.

Therefore in support of an application for RAs alternative forms of supporting information, completed by suitably trained and qualified individuals, will be accepted, for candidates who have a neurodiverse condition but do not yet have a diagnostic report. These alternatives include:

  • Evidence of exam/assessment access arrangements obtained while in education (known as Form 8).
  • Evidence of Disabled Students Allowance report.
  • Evidence of Study Aid and Strategies report completed while in education.
  • Evidence of Workplace needs assessment report.
  • Please note: in cases where supporting information does not provide specific personal recommendations for assessments, it is likely standard RAs will be offered which have been found to be helpful for candidates who experience this neurodiversity.
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