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Special Constables play a crucial role in fighting crime and making our streets safer. Specials come from many different backgrounds and walks of life. They volunteer for a minimum of sixteen hours' duty per month and form a vital link between their community and the police service.

Specials have the same powers as regular police officers. The role is varied and can be demanding. You might find yourself doing anything from policing sports events to helping guard crime scenes.

Specials are involved in Drink Drive campaigns, Wheeled Respect traffic operations and the Going Out campaign to name a few.

Recruitment for Special Constables is ongoing and we are currently offering Information Evenings (see below for available dates) for those who are interested which are mandatory to begin the recruitment process. For details regarding the eligibility criteria and recruitment process, please visit the Special Constabulary page.


Find out more about being a Special Constable


Information Evening

The information evening gives you the chance to find out first-hand what it is like to be a Special Constable and you are encouraged to ask as many questions as you like. 

At the end of the evening, you will understand: 
- the role of a special 
- what is involved in the recruitment process and initial training  
- the duties and responsibilities of being a Special Constable and our expectations of you.

It is an ideal opportunity to meet with people who want to make a positive difference in their communities. 

Special constable colleagues will be at the evening and will be able to answer questions that you may have. 

Your attendance at the information evening is mandatory prior to submitting an application form. Any application forms submitted without attending this event will not be progressed.


You can register for an Information Evening below - simply select how many places you'd like from the drop down and press register to enter your details.

More dates will be available in the near future.

Residency criteria

The need for the residency rule arises from the requirement to vet all applicants in an equitable manner. This is because the UK police service does not currently have any means of facilitating vetting enquiries overseas to the extent required for those who are resident in the UK.

The purpose of the residency criteria is to ensure that applicants have a checkable history in the UK, so that meaningful vetting enquiries can be undertaken. The criteria provide reassurance when considering the health and safety of police personnel and the public. Effective vetting cannot be conducted if there is no way to assess the honesty, integrity, reliability and overall suitability for clearance of appointees against the information available.

The residency requirements refer to the period immediately before an application is made, and not any other three-, five-, or ten-year period, or any other accumulation of time spent in the UK.

Application of the residency criteria

If an individual resides permanently in the UK, they are considered to be a UK resident.

An individual who has moved overseas and severed major ties to the UK (e.g., closed bank accounts and sold property) is considered to have surrendered their residency in the UK. This would also apply to people who maintain bank accounts purely for the purpose of receiving regular payments, e.g., a UK pension.

An individual is considered to be on an extended holiday if they have:

  • spent a significant period of time overseas without returning to the UK, but intend to return in the future
  • taken a gap year before or following university
  • travelled for a year
  • spent time overseas visiting family

This is not an exhaustive list.

Individuals who meet the above criteria maintain their UK residency and may therefore be considered for vetting clearance.

Serving with the HMG or armed forces

An individual who has been posted overseas as part of their service with HMG or the armed forces is considered to have been resident in the UK for the period that they were abroad.

Where an individual has been overseas as the spouse, partner or dependent of a member of the armed forces posted overseas, they can be considered to have been resident in the UK if their place of residence was within the confines of the establishment, e.g., a military base. If they were residing outside this, they are considered to have been resident overseas.

For the purposes of force vetting, the following residency requirements apply:

  • recruitment vetting (RV) – three years 
  • management vetting (MV) – five years
  • non-police personnel vetting (NPPV) – three years


Page last updated: 12 January 2018