Frequently Asked Questions About Police Officer Recruitment

Here are the answers to questions we typically receive during the recruitment process.

If you have a question that isn't answered here, please contact our recruitment team:

[email protected]


What's your question regarding?

Choosing an Entry Route


Personal Eligibility

Health and Appearance

Starting as a Police Constable




Choosing an Entry Route

How long does the recruitment process take?

It takes time to select the applicants with the best potential. Your application will go through several stages over the course of 7 months. Take a look at the recruitment timeline to see the stages of the process.

How do I know which entry route is best for me?

If you already hold a degree, which is not the College of Policing licenced degree in Professional Policing, then the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) is the best fit for you.

If you do not have a degree then you have two options.

  1. You can apply to join the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship, whereby you'll be employed as an Apprentice Police Constable, completing a degree in Professional Policing Practice during the three-year apprenticeship programme.
  2. If you study for a Bachelors degree in Professional Policing at a College of Policing licensed higher education institute you'll be able to apply to join as PC on our shorter, practice-based training programme. Universities launched these knowledge-based courses in September 2019 and we're planning to launch our third entry route ready for the first round of graduates leaving university in 2022.  
What qualifications will I need?

For the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) you'll need the following before applying:

  • 1 x Level 3 qualification (2 x A-Level's or equivalent) in any subject plus Level 2 in English and Mathematics (GCSE grade 4 (C) or equivalent)

For the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) you'll need:

  • To hold a level 6 degree qualification or higher (or equivalent) in any subject (except a College of Policing licensed degree in Professional Policing), or be predicted to achieve this prior to being offered a final job offer.  The qualification must be determined as a level 6 degree or higher (or equivalent) in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

We will accept predicted grades as long as you meet the required qualifications before attending the national assessment centre.

What college / A-level subjects should I choose?

You can choose any subjects as long as they are at Level 3, which is equivalent to A-level.

Can I apply while I'm waiting for my degree / A-Level or Level 3 qualification? Will you accept a conditional offer?

We will accept predicted qualifications as long as you meet the required qualifications and all other eligibility requirements before your final offer of employment.

For the degree conversion, does this include any foreign degrees?

On behalf of the UK Government a national agency called UK NARIC recognises and compares international qualifications and skills. If they deem your foreign degree an equivalent to a degree then you will be allowed to use this to apply.

Can I still join the police without a degree?

Under the new educational reforms there are three entry routes into policing and one is the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA). You do not need a degree to join this programme, so still being able to join the police without a degree. You will work towards a degree though as part of this entry route and will need to complete this successfully to be confirmed in post.

Be aware you'll also need to meet the minimum entry requirements for the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship programme and pass the recruitment process set out by the Constabulary and UCLan.

I have a HND, which route should I choose?

A HND is a Level 5 qualification so you'll need to apply for the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship.

Will you accept Open University qualifications?

An Open University degree has the same status as one from any top UK university, and degrees awarded are comparable with those awarded by other UK universities.

What will the qualification be at the end of the apprenticeship?

After successfully completing your apprenticeship you will be awarded a BSc (Hons) Professional Policing Practice.

What will the qualification be at the end of the Degree Holder Entry Programme?

After successfully completing your apprenticeship you will be awarded a Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice. This is a Level 6 conversion course.

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Which higher education institute will I study with?

You'll study with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Will I get a student card with the apprentice route?

Yes you will receive a student identity card. As well as being a full-time employed police officer, you are also a full-time student at UCLan and will have access to their facilities such as the library, support networks, student union and so on.

I’ve already studied policing at university – is this the same?

We suggest you undertake the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) to ensure all aspects of the curriculum are covered, although some of your learning already gained would likely be eligible for recognised prior learning and may reduce the amount of studying you need to undertake.

Where will I study when completing the apprenticeship?

You'll complete your academic studies in blocks at:

  • Police Training Centre, Hutton Hall (Police HQ),
  • UCLan Preston
  • Via online delivery

The course takes place in 3 blocks of learning throughout each year and involves classroom sessions, coursework and exams. When you're not in the classroom you'll be working on full operational duties putting theory in to practice.

How will learning and work be split during the apprenticeship?

Our programmes have been designed to mix both classroom based theory with blocks of operational experience working collaboratively with the Constabulary and UCLan spread over a 12-month academic year. This will allow you to link practical experiences to theory and reflect on their practice.

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Personal Eligibility

Is there a minimum age limit for the role of Police Constable?

Yes. You must be at least 17 years old to apply for the role of Police Constable and be aged 18 upon appointment.

Can I apply if I failed the National Assessment Centre (NAC) with Lancashire Constabulary or any other force?

You can re-attend our National Assessment Centre (NAC) if you failed the NAC within the last 3 months providing you were within 5% of the pass mark.  Otherwise you will need to wait 6 months before resitting the NAC.

Can I transfer my existing National Assessment Centre (NAC) score to Lancashire Constabulary?

If you passed the NAC within the last 2 years you are able to transfer your score.

What is the minimum National Assessment Centre (NAC) score I can transfer?

You can transfer an NAC score of 50% or above.

I am not a British Citizen. Can I still apply to join as a Police Constable?

Yes. You need to be a British citizen or a citizen of a country that is a member of the European Economic Area or Switzerland, or a Commonwealth citizen or foreign national who is resident in the UK and free from restrictions. You must also have been resident in the UK for the last 3 years.

I have an un-discharged County Court Judgment; am I eligible to apply to be a Police Constable?

No. Police Constables have access to sensitive information so we will check the financial status of everyone who applies. Applicants to the police service should normally be free from un-discharged debt or liability and able to manage existing loans. The emphasis is on managing your debt sensibly.

I have a live Police Constable application with another force, can I still apply to Lancashire?


If my application to Lancashire Constabulary is unsuccessful can I apply again.

Yes, but you must wait 3 months from the date of your last application

Do I need a driving licence to apply?

No. However you must have completed your driving test within 6 months of appointment. 

I have a motoring offence(s). Can I still apply to become a Police Constable?

Lancashire Constabulary will need to assess the motoring offence(s). If you have more than three separate endorsable traffic convictions (including fixed penalties) within the last five years before the application date you may not be eligible to apply.

I have a criminal record. Can I still apply to become a Police Constable?

Whether you're eligible depends 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 Constable. There may also be circumstances where an individual whose suspected involvement in crime, or criminal associations make an offer of employment inappropriate.

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Health and Appearance

Can I become a Police Constable if I wear glasses or contact lenses?

As part of the recruitment process you'll need to go to the optician for an eye test and bring the results to your medical assessment for review.

New recruits must have:

  • Corrected distance vision of 6/12 or better with either the right eye or left eye.
  • 6/6 vision with both eyes together with spectacles or contact lenses if worn.
  • Corrected near visual acuity of 6/9 or better, with both eyes.

If you don't meet the above we'll be unable to take your application any further. Please note that these are minimum standards and do not guarantee entry into specialist roles.

Eye Surgery

Forms of refractive surgery such as LASIK, LASEK, PRK, ICRS and Epiflap are all acceptable provided you have had the surgery more than 6 weeks ago, there are no residual side effects and the other eyesight standards are met.

However, radial keratotomy, arcuate keratotomy or corneal grafts are not acceptable.

For further information please refer to the eligibility criteria.

Can you become a Police Constable if you are colour blind?

If your colour blindness is monochrome, you won't be able to apply. However, mild anomalous trichromacy is acceptable.

If I have a disability can I apply to become a Police Constable?

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 substantial and long-term (over 12 months) adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day tasks. If you consider yourself to have a disability, please inform us of the type of reasonable adjustments you might need to assist you in participating in the recruitment and selection process. We will try to make reasonable adjustments where practicable.

I have a medical condition; does this prevent me from joining?

It depends on the nature of the medical condition. We require all applicants to pass our medical assessment to ensure you meet the BMI and health standards required. You will also be required to provide a urine sample whilst at your appointment; this will be tested for any illegal substances. 

We follow the Government's guidance on police health officer requirements. This link details these health requirements.

I have tattoos; will this stop me becoming a Police Constable?

Not necessarily. If you have tattoos please declare these on your application form. We will ask you to send us 2 photos of each tattoo to show us the location and nature of it/them. We will then assess the tattoo(s) against our standards.

I have epilepsy. Can I still apply?

Yes, you can still apply to become a Police Constable. We will look at each case on its merits and take guidance from our occupational health team.

I have diabetes. Can I still apply?

Yes, you can still apply to become a Police Constable. We will look at each case on its merits and take guidance from our occupational health team.

I have dyslexia. Can I still apply?

Yes, you can still apply to become a Police Constable. When you submit your application let us know if you need us to make reasonable adjustments such as extra time at the assessment centre. You'll also need to provide a psychologist's report that was completed when you were aged 16 or over. Without this report we won't be able to make your reasonable adjustments.

Is there a height restriction for a Police Constable?

No. There is no minimum or maximum height restriction.


Starting As a Police Constable

How long does the recruitment process take?

It takes time to select the applicants with the best potential. Your application will go through several stages over the course of 6 months. Take a look at the recruitment timeline to see the stages of the process.

How much will I be paid?

A starting salary of £24,177. This will rise in yearly increments to a maximum as a Police Constable of £40,128 in seven years’ time.

If I am successful where will I be posted?

You could be posted anywhere within Lancashire depending on where the vacancies are.

What hours will I be working as a police officer?

Our police officers work in shifts, providing a 24 hour, 7 days a week rota that includes early shifts, late shifts, night shifts, weekends, bank holidays, Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year's Day. 

During your probationary period (3 years for degree apprentices and 2 years for the degree holders programme) you'll be required to work 40 hours a week. Operational demands may require your shift or rest day to be cancelled and re-scheduled at short notice.

What happens if I want to take leave during training?

During the first year of the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) and Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) the training is split into a number of mandatory blocks of learning and working on operational patrol with a tutor constable.

As such, 3 weeks of your 4 weeks of annual allocation will already be planned into the training programme. The 4th week will be for you to book once you are working on independent patrol in negotiation with the team you are placed in. In year 2 and 3 you'll have more freedom to choose when you would like to take your leave, although you will not be able to take leave during any of your formal blocks of learning.

How long is the probationary period?

If you join under the PC Degree Apprenticeship scheme then the probationary period is 3 years.

If you join under the Degree Holder Entry Programme then the probationary period is 2 years. 

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If I am successful in my application to become a PCSO or Special Constable, can I transfer to become a Police Constable?

No. You would need to go through the official recruitment process like all other applicants in order to be considered for a Police Constable role.

I am a serving PCSO or Special Constable, can I transfer to become a Police Constable?

No. You would need to go through the official recruitment process like all other applicants in order to be considered for a Police Constable role.

I would like to become a firearms officer/dog handler/detective/air observer/other. If my application is successful can I join the unit straight away?

No. All newly recruited Police Constables must undergo a three (apprentice) or two (degree holder) year probationary period, after which you could apply for specialist roles.

I am a cadet, can I apply if I’ve got experience?

Yes you can apply, and we will look to support you, but you must meet the minimum entry requirements for whichever of the programmes you decide to apply for.

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