Police Staff Eligibility | Join Us2024-07-03T16:03:06+01:00

Police Staff Eligibility

Whilst we welcome applications from people of all backgrounds, there are some police staff eligibility conditions that all applicants need to meet. Before you start your application, please ensure you meet the criteria below.

Check your police staff eligibility

Misuse of substances contradicts everything the police stands for. If you are currently using any illegal drugs, this will rule you out of the recruitment process automatically.

You may be subject to substance misuse testing at any stage during your career with us.

Police officers and police staff are in a privileged position with regard to access of information and are potentially vulnerable to corruption. Most of us have debts such as mortgages, student or other loans, and credit/store card debts. Applicants to the police service should not be under pressure from undischarged debts or liabilities and should be able to manage their debt sensibly.

Dependent upon your circumstances, it’s unlikely that you will pass our vetting process if you have an existing county court judgment outstanding.

If you have been registered as bankrupt, and your bankruptcy debts have been discharged, you are unlikely to receive clearance until three years after the discharge of the debt. Debt relief orders (DROs) are treated in the same way as a bankruptcy.

If you are the subject of a current Individual Voluntary Arrangement you will be required to provide supporting documentation and proof of regular payments over a number of months.

You can run a free credit report before completing your application to view any defaulted accounts or County Court Judgements that may be resolved or managed before you submit your vetting application.

Cautions or convictions will not necessarily preclude you from joining Northumbria Police. It will depend on the nature and the circumstances of the offence. However, an applicant’s honesty and integrity will be brought into question if information is considered to have been purposely withheld during the vetting process.

Each case will be considered on its individual merits.

Circumstances that will prevent you from passing our vetting process include:

  • offences were committed as an adult or juvenile which resulted in a prison sentence (including custodial, suspended or deferred sentence and sentences served at a young offenders’ institution or community home)
  • the applicant is or has been a registered sex offender or is subject to a registration requirement in respect of any other conviction.

The following circumstances may also result in rejection:

  • offences where vulnerable people were targeted
  • offences motivated by hate or discrimination
  • offences of domestic abuse

You do not have to disclose protected convictions or cautions as per the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. Spent cautions and convictions must still be declared unless they are protected. More can be found at the Gov.UK website.

Residency criteria depends on the vetting level of the role applied. You must have been continually resident in the UK for the three or five year period immediately before an application is made. This is to satisfy the requirement to vet all applicants in an equitable manner. If you have travelled overseas on a gap year or similar, we consider that to be on an extended holiday and you have therefore maintained residency in the UK (generally considered 12 months or under).

To be eligible for appointment, you must be a British citizen or resident in the UK free of restrictions (e.g., under the EU Settlement scheme or through the UK’s post-Brexit points-based immigration rules).

If you are not a British citizen, you must provide proof during the recruitment process that you have no restrictions on your stay in the UK and that you have the right to work in the UK. Information on UK immigration rules can be found on the government visa and immigration website.

Tattoos do not prevent applicants from joining the police. However, tattoos on the face are not acceptable other than for religious or medical reasons. In addition, tattoos, whether visible or otherwise should not:

  • undermine the dignity and authority of the office of constable;
  • cause offence to members of the public or colleagues and/or invite provocation
  • indicate unacceptable attitudes towards any individual or section of the community
  • indicate alignment with a particular group which could give offence to members of the public or colleagues; and
  • be considered inflammatory, rude, lewd, crude, racist, sexist, sectarian, homophobic, violent or intimidating

Although tattoos will not prohibit applicants from joining Northumbria Police (subject to the above), it is recommended they are covered when at work to maintain a professional image. The dress and appearance protocol outlines that officers should wear appropriate work wear which covers tattoos as far as possible when at work, which will be issued accordingly.

If your tattoo is determined as not acceptable, your application will not be progressed.

We have a policy to prevent officers and staff from becoming members of organisations or groups whose aims, objectives or pronouncements may contradict our duty to promote equality (e.g. BNP, Combat 18, National Front etc.).  Therefore, if you are a member of a proscribed organisation or other group, you will not be accepted.
You must declare any other employment or business interests you intend to maintain.

The purpose of this is to ensure business interests and additional occupations do not conflict with the work of the police, undermine public confidence or adversely affect the reputation of Northumbria Police. You must also declare voluntary roles working with children or vulnerable adults (e.g., scout leaders) on appointment.

Police Officers, and certain police staff roles, are restricted from taking an active part in political activity, such as stand as a member of parliament/local authority or be an officer of a politically party.

If you have a family member, friend or associate who you know has criminal convictions, or you believe that they are, or have been, involved in criminal activity then you should declare this within your application. You should explain what your association is with that person, how often you see them, what your relationship with them is like and what steps you have taken to distance yourself from their criminal actions. You must provide as much information as possible based on what you know.

Having an inappropriate association does not necessarily mean that you won’t be granted a vetting clearance.

The College of Policing advise us to look for inappropriate comments, behaviour and views on publicly available social media accounts to ensure the applicant’s online behaviour is compatible with the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Behaviour. We therefore conduct social media checks on all applicants and consider every social media account, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, YouTube etc.

Where relevant information is not declared at the vetting stage, the presumption is that the applicant’s honesty and integrity are in question. This may lead to you being refused clearance.

Many people claim they were told by the police officer that dealt with them that there would not be a record of the event. You should presume that everything is recorded and failure to mention it will have an adverse effect on your application.

If you declare something which is not relevant, the Force Vetting Unit will discount it.

Frequently asked questions about our vetting process

What are the most common mistakes when completing vetting applications and how can these be avoided?2024-07-03T12:59:36+01:00
  • Missing information – take your time and carefully read through the questions and any available guidance.
  • Always be honest – if you’re asking yourself whether you need to declare something on your vetting form, include it. The vetting unit will discount any information that is not required.
  • If you can’t remember or provide specific details include a rationale detailing why.
  • Provide your full address history (including any student accommodation).
  • Always provide a full list of family members, including half siblings, stepfamily and the full details of a partner or spouse.
  • Including details of boyfriend/girlfriend under the spouse/partner section. We require details of those with whom you are co-residing as partners or those you are married or in a civil partnership with)
  • Make sure you provide maiden names, dates of birth and addresses for all the people listed on your vetting forms.
  • Declare all previous interactions with the police. All police involvement is recorded on our systems; if you fail to declare it your honesty and integrity could come into question.
    • For police staff and volunteer roles, protected cautions and convictions do no have to be disclosed as per the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975.
  • Include details of any criminal associates – this includes friends, family members and those you live with.
How do I let you know there has been a change in my personal circumstances?2024-07-03T14:54:57+01:00

It is important that the Force Vetting Unit is made aware of any changes in your personal circumstances both during and after the vetting process.  You are responsible for communicating these changes.

You should make the Force Vetting Unit aware of:

  • Change of name or address
  • Change of co-residents over the age of 10
  • Change of partner
  • Significant changes in financial status (including a windfall over £9,000, defaulted account, county court judgement or participation in a debt management plan etc.)
  • Involvement in legal proceedings of any criminal nature (this includes criminal convictions and cautions and motoring offences including speeding fines)
  • Adverse findings in civil matters (including child contact restrictions, non-molestation orders, bankruptcy orders etc.)
  • Any convictions or cautions for criminal offences or involvement in criminal investigations relating to anyone included on your original vetting or application forms.
Will I be told the reasons for a vetting refusal?2024-07-03T14:55:34+01:00

There are many reasons why an applicant can be refused and where possible the applicant will be told the reasons.  However there are a number of situations where they cannot be told because the information held may relate to a family member, criminal associate or may be subject of an exemption from disclosure under the Data Protection Act.

Can I appeal if my vetting is refused?2024-07-03T15:10:53+01:00

Yes. You may appeal a vetting decision where you believe one or more of the following factors apply.

  • Further information is available that was not considered by the decision maker.
  • The vetting rejection was disproportionate considering the circumstances or details of the case.
  • The decision was perverse or unreasonable.
  • No explanation was given for the decision.

Any appeal must be in writing and must clearly set out the grounds for appeal. Appeals are dealt with by a senior officer or member of staff who is independent of the original decision-making process and has not been previously involved in the case. Applicants should address their appeal to the Force Vetting Unit in the first instance who will pass the appeal, along with any rationale for the decision, to a senior officer or member of staff who will look into the case and respond directly to the applicant.

How long does the vetting procedure take?2024-07-03T15:30:25+01:00

Each case is treated on its merits and therefore it depends on what information is found during the checks. Sometimes it is necessary to call the applicant to interview so that their personal circumstances may be discussed and sometimes it is necessary to make enquiries in other forces or with other bodies. Therefore, we do not give a set time to complete a vetting file but deal with them as quickly as possible.


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