Diversity, inclusion and equality of opportunity

At Gloucestershire Constabulary we recognise the benefits of increasing diversity across our workforce. We know that we are ‘Better Together’ as individuals, teams and with our communities and partner agencies.

Our Better Together team provide positive action support to people from underrepresented and diverse communities who are considering a career in policing. The team also coordinate a number of external engagement events throughout the year for people who are interested in a career in policing.

For more information about our Better Together team, their work and upcoming engagement events please visit our Better Together page. 

Police Officer

Our next Police Officer recruitment window is currently scheduled for 2021, exact dates will be published once finalised.

A female police officer smiling in a busy outdoor area.

Gloucestershire is a largely rural county with two large urban conurbations, the city of Gloucester and the town of Cheltenham Spa. It hosts two Royal Households and a number of significant events attracting national attention throughout the year, including the National Hunt Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse and the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford. There is a strong military presence in the county as well as an important Government footprint. 

We are looking for the best candidates to join our exceptional team working across our diverse communities within Gloucestershire to protect, serve and keep them save from harm.

We are committed to the principles of appointments based on merit with openness and transparency of process. The Constabulary is also committed to equality of opportunity and welcomes applications from all suitability qualified applicants. In aiming to have a workforce representative of the communities we serve, applications from females and members of the black and minority ethnic communities are particularly welcome.

If you are looking for a career in which you will be dealing with different situations every day, working with the public to build confidence and trust, a role which can be demanding and unpredictable, but also highly rewarding, we would really like to hear from you.

Entry routes

Entry routes into policing are changing. The College of Policing is introducing a new Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF) for all 43 police forces in England and Wales to enable the police service to become a graduate profession. To find out more information please visit the College of Policing website.

Gloucestershire Constabulary is one of five police forces in the South West and Wales to partner with the University of South Wales to deliver the new training programme. To find our more information please visit the University of South Wales website. 

From 2020, there will be three entry routes to become a police officer:

Join as a Constable and follow an apprenticeship in professional policing practice – you earn while you learn! The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) is a three year professional degree apprenticeship, with both on and off-the-job learning. On completion, successful candidates will achieve a Level 6 Degree in Professional Policing Practice.

To apply for the PCDA, entrants must hold Level 2 qualifications (GCSE A*-C or 9-4 or equivalent) in English and Maths and have achieved a Level 3 qualification (A level or equivalent)* or have successfully completed the online competency based assessment. The test is equivalent to A level standard and comprises of verbal reasoning and calculation assessment.

The Force covers all fees relating to this entry route.

*College of Policing requirement:

  • A level
  • Access to higher education diploma
  • Advanced apprenticeship
  • Applied general
  • AS level
  • International Baccalaureate diploma
  • Level 3 award
  • Level 3 certificate
  • Level 3 diploma
  • Level 3 ESOL
  • Level 3 national certificate
  • Level 3 national diploma
  • Level 3 NVQ
  • Music grades 6, 7 and 8
  • Tech level

If you already have a degree in any subject you can join and follow a work based programme, supported by off the job training.

The degree holder entry programme (DHEP) is for those who already hold a degree in any subject area. This is a two-year academic and practice-based programme. On completion, successful candidates will achieve a Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice. The Force covers all fees relating to this entry route.

If you want to study first, you can do a three year Degree in Professional Policing at your own expense and then apply to our force and follow a shorter on-the-job training programme. 

The Degree in Professional Policing is for those who choose to complete the degree at a Higher Education Institution of their choosing at their own cost. Candidates recruited via this route will also undertake academic and practice based training to develop specific skills assessed against national assessment criteria and operational competence.

Our partner, the University of South Wales, are currently delivering this qualification. To find out more information, please visit the University of South Wales website.

There are also other universities that provide the pre-join degree courses. For more information and to see the full list of universities that offer the courses, please visit the College of Policing website.

Being a special constable can be included in this route.

Through comprehensive training you will learn to:

  • Protect the public from violence
  • Provide a reassuring presence in the community
  • Support victims of crime and offer help to those who have witnessed crimes
  • Investigate complex crimes using a mixture of cutting-edge technology and time-proven traditional methods

What's in it for you?

  • A rewarding job where no two days are the same 
  • Be constantly challenged and always learning
  • Be valued for your contribution to your community
  • Be well paid and have an excellent benefits package
  • Have continual opportunities for advancement

Eligibility, criteria and pay

Eligibility requirements for the police are fairly detailed, but we've provided a summary of the basic requirements.

Age requirements

Applicants can go through the recruitment process at the age of 17 but cannot be appointed until the age of 18. There is no upper age limit for applying to the police service, but bear in mind that being a police officer is demanding both physically and mentally.

We welcome all ages as we believe a diverse workforce that is reflective of everyone who lives in our community is the best way to be effective. No matter your age, you bring important skills and perspectives that are key tools for being a police officer.

Educational requirements

Applicants for the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) must hold a minimum Level 2 English and Maths qualifications and one Level 3 qualification.  For applicants who do not possess a Level 3 (or equivalent qualification) there is an online assessment that can be taken. If successful in this online assessment, applicants can progress to the next stage. 

Level 2 qualifications can be proved by having GCSEs graded A*-C or 9-4 or an equivalent, such as Level 2 Functional or Essential Skills.

Level 3 qualifications can proved by having A or AS Level graded A*-C, or equivalent qualification such as NVQ or Diploma.

A full list of qualifications and what level they relate to can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Gloucestershire Constabulary, in consultation with the University of South Wales, may also accept some key criteria or relevant experience instead of the Level 3 qualification. However, applicants must still have the Level 2 England and Maths qualifications detailed above. 

Applicants will need to provide proof of their qualifications.

Nationality requirements

You must be a British citizen, an EC/EEA national or a Commonwealth citizen or foreign national with no restrictions on your stay in the United Kingdom. As we need a minimum of five years' residential history in the UK to be able to complete background checks, foreign nationals and UK citizens who have lived abroad may have to wait some time for security and vetting clearance.  You must have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years with no breaks of longer than 3 months during this time immediately before applying.

Criminal record

A number of crimes will mean a definite or likely rejection of your application, including anyone who has received a formal caution in the last five years, committed a violent crime or public order offence. If you are at all unsure, get in contact and ask.


Tattoos are very common; all tattoos are reviewed to check appropriateness. Images that are grotesque, violent, have a strong religious or political connection or would undermine the dignity and authority of your role would not be acceptable.

Financial status

Applicants will have their financial status checked.  These checks are carried out because police officers have access to privileged information which may make them vulnerable to corruption.

Applicants with, or who have had, County Court Judgements or who may be on a Debt Recovery Plan will be assessed on a case by case basis. If you have any concerns, please ask before applying for more information.

Physical fitness

To ensure you are fit enough for the role and to keep you safe, you will undertake a job related fitness test. There are two elements to the test and you must pass both before you can be appointed.

We are looking for no more than the minimum standard needed to enable you to work effectively as a police officer. You will be given help to improve your fitness and if you prepare yourself properly, there is no reason for you to fail.  There are two elements to the test: dynamic strength and endurance fitness. 


Police officers encounter stressful situations, trauma, physical confrontation and work long hours on shifts. They need to be resilient enough to cope with the demands and pressures of police work. Applicants must therefore be in good health mentally and physically to undertake police duties.  You will undergo a medical examination to ensure you meet the health standards required.


Applicants will have their eyesight tested at the medical assessment stage. You may be asked to go to an optician to have your eyes tested and the eyesight form filled in. Failure to pass this test will lead to rejection.

Previous applications

You can only apply to one force at any one time.

If you have previously applied to join the police service and been unsuccessful, you must wait six months from your initial rejection before you can apply again.

If you have already been to a SEARCH assessment and have received a successful result, this will be valid for 12 months maximum.

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 Her Majesty's Government 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:

To be eligible to apply you need to have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years, with no breaks of longer than 3 months, immediately prior to submitting your application.

Pay scales for new full time Gloucestershire Police Constables on joining with no experience (pay point 0) is £20,880. Joining with independent patrol status achieved (pay point 1) is £24,177.

Recruitment Stages and Timescales

Details of recruitment stage and timescales can be found in the drop down list below. Alternatively, you can download the Police Officer Recruitment information booklet to find out more information.

The start of the recruitment process will be to complete the online eligibility screen. It is important that you are open and honest with your responses so that you gain the most benefit from the questions.

This screen checks your eligibility in line with the national recruitment standards. You will be advised at the end of the questionnaire if you have met all the eligibility criteria and then able to progress to the application form. 

For applicants who do not possess a level 3 (academic qualification or equivalent qualification) there is an online assessment. If successful in this online assessment, applicants can progress to the next stage.

If you are successful through the online eligibility screen, you will be able to access a link to the application form. Your online application form must be submitted by the deadline of the particular recruitment drive you're applying for. 

The Assessment Centre will be run by The College of Policing which is located at Thames Valley Police. You will be required to attend the centre for one day. 

It is very important when deciding to apply for the role of a Gloucestershire police officer that you can attend one of the Assessment Centres as no further dates will be available.

The Assessment Centre consists of:

  • 20 minute competency based interview
  • Two written exercises
  • Four role play exercises
  • Numerical reasoning questionnaire and a verbal logical
    reasoning test.

These exercises are designed to test your ability to think on your feet, make quick decisions based on sound judgement and also to measure your basic numeracy and literacy standards.

You will be required to bring two forms of identification with you to the assessment centre (including one photo ID). If you do not bring these with you, you will not be permitted to progress any further with the application process.

You should receive your results approximately two to three weeks after the Assessment Centre closes. If you are successful at this stage, you will then be invited to attend an interview at Police Headquarters in Quedgeley,  Gloucestershire.

We use the interview to get to know more about you and how well suited you are to the role of an officer with Gloucestershire Constabulary.

The interview is a behavioural style interview where the questions will be looking for specific evidence of past behaviour. The interview is based on competency and
values framework (CVF) and you will be assessed against level 1 - practitioner in each case.

A medical assessment will generally be carried out by our Occupational Health Unit.

We will check:
• BMI (between 18-30)
• Eye sight (full details later in this guide)
• Colour vision (full details later in this guide)
• Lung function
• Hearing

You will be asked to complete a confidential medical history questionnaire. Depending upon your medical history, we may need to contact your GP or other
specialist for further information.

The role of a police officer is demanding. During the application and selection process we will be assessing your mental and physical fitness to undertake the role.

Fitness test 

We test endurance through a fitness shuttle run commonly known as the ‘bleep test’. A good indicator of the fitness level needed for this test is to be able to run at a good pace for around four minutes over a distance of about 700 metres.

Bleep test 

Bleep test (shuttle run) explained:

Required level is 5.4 = 5 levels and 4 shuttles over a 15 metre course.


Biometric Vetting

Prospective police officer are required to have their fingerprints and a DNA sample taken in accordance with Regulation 10A of the Police Regulations 2003 (as amended by the Police (Amendment) Regulations 2015).

The purpose of obtaining fingerprints and DNA samples is to allow for a speculative search to be made against the local and national databases prior to your appointment to the police service.

Your fingerprints will be retained separately on the Police Elimination Database and your DNA profile will be retained on the Centralised Elimination Database in line with the Police Regulations 2003. Your fingerprints and DNA profile will be used for the purposes of elimination only.

We will carry out security checks on you and your:

• Spouse/partner
• Father
• Step father/mother’s partner
• Mother
• Stepmother/father’s partner
• Brothers/sisters (full/half/step)
• Children/children of your partner (only those age 10
years and over)
• Any other adult living at your address.

Financial circumstances – applicants will have their financial status checked. These checks are carried out because police officers and police staff have access to privileged information, which may make them vulnerable to corruption. Applicants with outstanding County Court Judgements (CCJs), Individual Voluntary Agreements (IVAs) or who have been registered bankrupt with outstanding debts, will be rejected.

If you have discharged bankruptcy debts then you will need to provide a certificate of satisfaction with your application. At least three years will need to have passed since the date of discharge.

Ideally you should not have a criminal record, but some minor offences may not exclude you. 


We will send reference requests to your current and previous employers in the last 3 years. If you haven’t been employed for 3 years, we will ask for a character reference or an educational reference.

Successful candidates will be contacted by our Resourcing department with an offer of employment. 

Below is an example timeline of the recruitment process. Please note, this will be updated once our latest recruitment drive is open.  

Opening date and time
16 March 2020, 9am

Closing date and time for applications to be submitted online
29 March 2020, midnight

Assessment Centre
20 April - 1 May 2020

Commencing May 2020

Pre-employment checks
Commencing May 2020

First intake start date