How long will it take me to join the police?

We are often asked how long it takes from the time you submit your application to the time you actually start your police career.

The quickest force in recent time has been the Metropolitan Police with clients of ours successfully completing the whole recruitment process in about 6-7 months. Most forces on average take around 12-16 months to complete, although some of our clients have been kept waiting 2 years by their respective forces.

With applications taking such a long time to complete this obviously has implications for those seeking to join as quickly as possible, especially those who may have been made redundant during the current recession. If you are going to apply to the police, here’s our advice:

  1. Be prepared for a two year recruitment process – that way if it is quicker it’s a bonus!
  2. Never give notice or leave your current employer until you have received a formal job offer from the service.
  3. Given the timescales you will have to wait if your initial application is rejected (6 months), it does pay to use our application checking service – the same applies for our 1-day assessment centre courses
  4. It may be sometime from initial application to assessment centre, use the time between now and then to practice your written skills, paying particular attention to your spelling and grammar as there is a required standard you must meet if you are to be successful.
  5. Expose yourself to different cultures and learn to be sensitive and adapt your behaviour so not to cause offence. For example, invite friends to dinner who may have religious or social reasons for not eating certain meats. Learn about their views and seek to adjust your behaviour by cooking different foods.
  6. Even if you are unhappy at work, do NOT go sick (unless of course you are actually ill!). Forces are not keen to recruit individuals whom have had more than 21 days sickness in the past 3 years – however, if you exceed this is does not necessarily mean you are rejected – it means they will investigate further.

If you have any questions and you would like to talk to someone who has actually worked in police recruitment please feel free to contact us – we are more than happy to give impartial advice.

Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it,
tell a friend
about it, and subscribe to the blog RSS feed.

Published by

David Vidgen

David Vidgen is a former police recruitment manager responsible for overseeing all police recruitment marketing including application form and assessment centre practice days, recruitment website, adverts and community outreach programmes such as Gay Pride.