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Eligibility Criteria for Special Constables

The information below details the basic eligibility criteria for Special Constables. Every circumstance is unique to each person of course, so if you have any queries about this information please get in touch with the Special Constabulary Recruitment Team.


To apply to the Police Service you must be at least 18 years old. There is no upper limit.


Qualifications are not a requirement for appointment. However, you will need to pass the selection process which includes a written test.

Membership of British National Party or similar

The Police Service has a policy of prohibiting any of their officers, staff or volunteers from becoming members of the British National Party (BNP), Combat 18 or the National Front, whose aims, objectives or pronouncements may contradict the duty to promote race equality. If you are a member of the BNP or similar, your application will be rejected.

Criminal Convictions

Convictions or cautions will not necessarily preclude you from appointment. It will depend on their nature and the circumstances of the offence. Failure to disclose convictions or cautions will, however, result in your application being refused.

Previous Applications

If you have previously applied to join the Police Service and been unsuccessful, you may not re-apply for six months from the time you were notified of the outcome of your last application.


To be eligible for appointment you must be a British citizen or a citizen of a country that is a member of the European Economic Area, or Switzerland.  Commonwealth citizens and other foreign nationals are also eligible but only if they are resident in the UK free of restrictions.

If you have recently resided abroad we need to be able to check your previous three years (including employment, education and/or residency).

Business Interests

Certain occupations may preclude applicants from becoming special constables, for example neighbourhood and street wardens and other uniformed patrol wardens, and those involved in the administration of the law. Other roles which are precluded include security occupations which hold a Security Industry Association (SIA) licence.

Health, fitness, eyesight and disability

Applicants must be in good health, of sound constitution and able both physically and mentally to perform the duties of a Special Constable once appointed. The Home Office guidance states that applicants must have a body mass index (BMI) between 18-30. 

Successful applicants will be asked prior to appointment to complete a medical questionnaire and an eyesight test.


Tattoos are not a bar to appointment. However, some tattoos could potentially offend members of the public or colleagues, or could bring discredit to the Police Service. It depends on their size, nature and location. If you have tattoos on your face, neck, forearms or hands you will be asked to provide at least two photographs of each tattoo.

Tattoos are unacceptable if they:

  • undermine the dignity and authority of the office of constable;
  • could cause offence to members of the public or colleagues and/or invite provocation;
  • are garish or numerous or particularly prominent;
  • indicate unacceptable attitudes towards women, minority groups or any other section of the community;
  • indicate alignment with a particular group that could give offence to members of the public or colleagues and/or
  • are considered to be discriminatory, rude, lewd, crude, racist, sexist, sectarian, homophobic, violent or intimidating.

Financial Position

Special Constables are in a privileged position with regard to access to information and could be considered potentially vulnerable to corruption. Applicants to the Police Service should not therefore be under pressure from undischarged debts or liabilities and should be able to manage loans and debts sensibly. Most applicants have debts, such as mortgages, undischarged student or other loans, and credit/store cards. Debts which are within your means and are manageable are not a bar to appointment.

  • Applicants who have existing County Court judgements outstanding against then or have been registered as bankrupt and their bankruptcy debts have not been discharged will not be considered.
  • Applicants who have discharged County Court judgements may be considered.
  • Applicants who have been registered as bankrupt and their bankruptcy debts have been discharged will only be considered after three years from discharge of the debt.
  • Applicants who are the subject of a current individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) may not be considered.