Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Is there a closing date for recruitment?
Recruitment is currently ongoing. 

How do I apply to join the police?
The process starts with the completion of an application form which you can download from the 'How To Apply' section in the Police Scotland website recruitment tab. Unfortunately we do not accept CVs. You must complete all sections of the form and disclose all material information. Please note that failure to do so may result in your application being rejected.

What age do you have to be to become a Police Officer?
You have to be 18 to be appointed as a Police Officer or a Special Constable, but you can apply from 17 and a half. There is no upper age limit.

Do police officers have to be a certain height?
There are no height restrictions.

Do I need to have a driving licence to apply?
A driving licence is no longer an essential criteria to apply to become a police officer.

Will new recruits who can't drive be expected to have an interest in learning to drive?
It will be a choice for each individual to make for themselves.

What if individuals simply do not want to ever drive - will that be ok?

Will Police Scotland pay for new recruits who can't drive to go through their driving lessons?

What qualifications to I need to be a Police Officer?
There are no entrance qualifications required, you just need to pass the Standard Entrance Test.

How long does the recruitment process take?
This can vary depending on the demand for vacancies in the division(s) you select as your preferences. As a general guideline, the recruitment process takes approximately 12 weeks from the initial application stage to completing the Assessment Centre. Candidates may then require to wait for an intake date which will depend on their selected divisions.

Do you need to fill out the vetting form at the same time as your application form?
No. The vetting form will no longer be required at the application stage and is no longer available to download. Any Vetting forms sent to the Recruitment team will be deleted upon receipt. 

Is it better to handwrite your application, or complete it via the computer?
Your application can be completed by computer or handwritten. If handwritten, it must be legible. We would prefer your application to be completed and submitted electronically.

What do you look for in prospective Police Officers?
We look for applicants with good communication skills, confidence, personal effectiveness and good team working skills. For further info on what we're looking for visit our 'What we are looking for' section.

Do you accept applications from those leaving the armed forces?
We welcome applications from those leaving/retiring from the Armed Forces as we have found that these applicants have a lot of transferable skills which are suitable to the role of a Police Officer.

Is there a fitness test? If so, what kind of thing does it involve?
There is a fitness test which is a multi-stage fitness test also known as the 'bleep' test. You will find all the information about the fitness test in our 'Selection Process' section.

When is the fitness test completed in the selection process?
The fitness test is now after the assessment centre.

How does the second interview differ from the first if they are both competency based with the same topics?
The first interviews assesses 7 competencies. The second interview focuses on different areas and contributes towards your overall performance during the assessment centre day.

On the assessment day, does the morning consist of role play exercises and is there anything I can prepare for?
There are no role play exercises, but there are three practical exercises where you are required to work as part of a team. These give you lots of opportunities to demonstrate your skills to us, to allow us to assess your suitability for the role.

I found out I was unsuccessful in the initial competency based interview - I found it quite difficult compared to other interviews I've attended in the past, can you suggest ways to prepare?
Have a look at the competencies on our 'Selection Process' page on the website and think how you can evidence these skills. The area where people can struggle with in the interview is when they do not structure the answer based on the competency. Also ensure that you say what you did when asked to provide an example, not what others did. A good model to follow when answering is the STAR model (Situation, Task, Action and Result).

How many times can I apply to the police if I am unsuccessful?
If you fail the fitness test or are unsuccessful at interview/assessment centre, you can reapply after a period of 6 months has passed from the date of rejection. There is no limit on the number of times you can apply. The exception to this is the Standard Entrance Exam which you only have 3 opportunities to pass.

I applied recently and was rejected due to one default on an account I had not yet paid. Why do you get rejected for this purpose?
Financial checks are carried out as part of the vetting process as you have to show your finances are being managed. This is necessary as police officers are in a privileged position with regard to access to information and could be considered vulnerable to corruption.

How much notice will I get of a start date?
We'll try to give you at least four week's notice of your start date and your training would start immediately on appointment at the Scottish Police College, Tulliallan. Your divisional posting begins at the end of the initial 11 week training course.

How many times am I able to sit the Standard Entrance Tests?
The test subjects are information handling, numeracy and language and you must achieve passes in all three. As there are only three papers available, you will have three opportunities to pass each paper but you cannot sit the same paper twice. As a result, the maximum number of times you can sit each paper is three. The use of a calculator is permitted during the information handling and numbers paper.

How hard are the numerical tests? Are there any sites that you can practice on?
You can find practice tests on the Police Scotland website, in our Selection Process section.

I applied previously, but failed the Standard Entrance Test. Should I apply again?
We would encourage you to re-apply, particularly if you are enthusiastic and keen to join the Police. If you have previously failed at any stage in the process, you have to wait six months before re-applying. The current Standard Entrance Test is currently under review and when this review is complete, information with regard to any new process will be updated on our website.

Where does the training take place?
Training takes place at the Scottish Police College, Tulliallan, near Stirling. You can learn more about the Scottish Police College at their website.

How long will I be at Tulliallan for?
The initial training programme is 11 weeks. Accommodation is made available at the college for all new recruits however this is optional and those residing within reasonable travelling distance of the College may elect to return home each night at their own expense. Consideration will be given to individual circumstances subject to daily attendance.

Do you get paid when you're away training?
You are paid from your date of appointment, which includes your training period.

Is it possible to apply to become a specialist officer, like a traffic cop or a dog handler?
You have to complete a two-year probationary period before you can apply for any specialist post, including Roads Policing or the Dog Handling Unit. However, you can learn a lot from being on the beat and it is invaluable as you progress through the service.

Do you have to join as a Police Officer, if for example you have a degree could you apply for a more advanced position straight away?
Everyone who applies has to serve as a Police Constable first. Your probationary period lasts for two years, after which you can apply to undertake a more specialised role, or begin the promotion process to progress through the ranks.

I resigned from the Police and now I want to re-join. How do I go about this and what is the selection process?

You need to complete the application form, vetting form, posting preference form and the equality and diversity monitoring form. On your application form, please explain that you previously served as an officer and detail your experience in Questions 6 and 7.

We will firstly request information about your previous service and performance from your previous line managers before deciding on the selection process you will be required to undertake.  Generally, this will consist of a fitness test and competency based interview, followed by a medical examination, substance misuse testing and vetting. 

Once appointed, the training you will require to undertake will be assessed on an individual basis depending on factors such as length of previous service, experience etc. If you completed your probationary training during your previous service, there will be no requirement for this probationary period to be repeated. Please contact the Recruiting Department should you wish to discuss your individual circumstances in more detail.

I wear contact lenses/glasses, can I still join or does my vision have to be over a certain limit?
There is a mandatory eyesight standard for Police Officers, you can find out more information in our 'Selection Process' page. We would encourage you to discuss the standard of your eyesight with an optician to ascertain whether it meets the required standard, prior to application.

I have a colour vision deficiency. Can I still apply?
Yes - colour vision deficiency is not a barrier to entry, albeit each case will be reviewed on an individual basis by a specialist.

Can people with Type 1 Diabetes join the Police if they can prove they have a good fitness level?
People with Type 1 Diabetes are able to apply, but each application is treated on a case-by-case basis and you will be assessed by a Force Medical Advisor.

Can I join if I have asthma?
You can join the police if you suffer from asthma however it does depend on the severity of your condition. The medical is done at the end of the recruitment process and the Force Medical Advisor undertaking the medical will make an assessment on each individual on whether they are medically fit to join.

Can I choose where I work if I am successful?
Candidates complete a posting preference form at the point of application. This affords the ability to select 3 areas which you would prefer to serve in.  Every effort will be made to take these into cognisance when posting decisions are made.  The Chief Constable does however reserve the right to post officers to areas of demand to ensure effective policing services are available in all areas in Scotland.  

Is there a particular length of time you will be required to work in one area? Is there a chance for re-location to another area, if so after what length of time?
There is no tenure for post for operational police officers and there are opportunities to re-locate if you so wish. You can apply for a transfer across Scotland after your probation period.

Can you work part time or apply for flexible working?
All applications for part time/flexible working will be considered however this does not guarantee that all requests will be accommodated. Each application will be considered on its own merits and any agreed arrangements will not necessarily set precedent for future applications.

Can you become a Police Officer if you have tattoos?
Tattoos do not prohibit you from becoming a Police Officer, 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.

If I have a criminal record can I still apply?
Yes, whilst the public is entitled to expect that Police Scotland will only recruit people who demonstrate the highest standards of professional conduct, honesty and integrity, having convictions does not preclude you from applying.

If I have a family member who's been prosecuted, can I still apply?
Yes, you can still apply, and each set of circumstances will be looked at on an individual basis. We need to assess factors such as the relationship of the person to you and the nature and circumstances of the offence.

Can Police Officers have beards?
Yes, as long as the beard is kept trimmed, neat and tidy.