Frequently Asked Questions
We appreciate that applying to become a police officer with West Midlands Police is a big decision and you may have lots of questions. We have provided answers to the most frequently asked questions below.
Q – Will I be expected to work night shifts?
A – Yes, Police officers work on a rota system which includes both day and night shifts, including weekends and public/bank holidays.
Q – When can I take holidays and time off work?
You will not be able to book any time off during the initial period of you training as the timetable is carefully planned, and will include some down time. In the first 31 weeks student officers can only take the 2 weeks annual leave that is allotted to them – anything outside of this, unless it is exceptional circumstances, will not be authorised. You will be advised of this at the start of your appointment.
You are entitled to 22 days paid annual holiday, rising to 30 days a year depending on your length of service. This is on top of public holidays and an average of at least two rest days each working week.
Q – Can I work part time?
A – You will have to work full time during your probation (2 or 3 years dependant on route), you may apply for part time working once this is completed. It should be noted there is no guarantee of part time working being granted; requests are considered based on operational need.
Q – How will you accommodate my religious beliefs?
A – We welcome applicants from all religions and alterations can be made to the uniform to accommodate some religious requirements – for example it is possible to wear a hijab; or the helmet may be replaced with a Sikh turban. We also take into account the needs of individuals with regards to time off and bank/public holidays.
Q – If successful, can I join a specialist unit or become a detective?
A – Not at first. All newly recruited police officers must undergo a three year probationary period in which you’ll spend time in response, neighbourhood and an investigative team.
Q – Can I choose where I work?
A – No, you will need to be prepared to work across the West Midlands region including Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
Q – I live outside of the West Midlands, can I still apply?
A – Yes, we welcome applications from outside the force area, however, please consider that you will need to be prepared to work across all locations within the West Midlands.
Q – Once I have passed my probation, are there opportunities for career development and promotion?
A – Yes, you will be supported to develop throughout your career. There are a wealth of opportunities as a police officer including promotions through the ranks or lateral moves into specialist teams such as Counter Terrorism, Firearms, Dog Unit and Offender Management.
Q – Where can I find the current salaries for Police Officers?
A – You can find the most up to date information here.
Q – What benefits does West Midlands Police offer?
A – There are many benefits, these include:
- secure a degree level qualification, with tuition fees paid by us
- receive extensive training and development throughout your career
- have access to a generous pension scheme
- have the opportunity to work in a wide range of policing departments
- a minimum of 22 days annual leave; rising with service to 30 days
- access to additional schemes such as childcare vouchers, employee assistance programme and lifestyle discounts.
Q – Will I be paid whilst I am training to be a police officer and studying?
A – Yes, you will be paid throughout your training, while studying for your Degree Apprenticeship or Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice. The starting salary is between £22,065 and £23,115 depending on which route of entry you follow.
Q – Will I have to deal with confrontation?
A – Yes, you will encounter stressful situations that include dealing with confrontation – we will provide you with extensive training and support you to be ready to handle these.
Q – Am I too old to apply?
A – You will need to be at least 17 to apply to be a police officer; you cannot start until you are 18.
Q – Are there height restrictions?
A – No, there is no minimum or maximum height requirements.
Q – I am nearly 18, can I apply?
A – Yes, you can apply at 17 but cannot start training with us until you turn 18.
Q – Do I need to hold a full driving licence?
A – As you will be based across all of the West Midlands and your role will mean you need to respond to incidents, you should hold a full driving licence by the end of your training (2 or 3 years depending on your route of entry).
Q – I’m waiting for the results of my level 2 qualifications, can I still apply?
A – No, you will need to wait until you have received your results. We’ll require you to attach your certificates to your application.
Q – I’m waiting for the results of my level 3 qualifications, can I still apply?
A – Yes, you can apply with the predicted grades for your level 3 qualifications (if you meet all other eligibility requirements). You will need to have been predicted to achieve 96 UCAS points and attach a letter from your school or college to confirm this. If you do not achieve the required 64 UCAS points in your exam I’m afraid we will be required to terminate your application.
Q – I’ve already passed the SEARCH / Day One / Online assessment centre through my application to another police force, can I transfer my score?
A – You will need to apply in the normal way and pass the online assessment; once you reach this point we are able to accept your SEARCH score. Please note: all scores are valid for 24 months.
Q – I don’t have the certificates for my qualifications, is this OK?
Y – You will need to evidence your qualifications on your application. We are able to accept print outs from your school or college and provisional results in the initial stages – if you are successful you must provide your certificates for your Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications. If you are unable to locate your certificates please visit www.gov.uk/replacement-exam-certificate for information on how to request duplicates or an accepted ‘certified statement of results’. Alternatively, visit: www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-access-your-personal-learning-record to apply for your Personal Learning Record. We aren’t able to progress your application until we receive confirmation of your results.
Q – I already have an application to become a Police Officer with another force, is that OK?
A –You can apply to more than one police force/service at a time however you can only progress to the SEARCH / Day One or Online Assessment Centre stage with one force.
Q – Do I need to pass the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing (CKP) before I apply?
A – No, completing the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing (CKP) is not a requirement, however, if you have achieved this it will contribute 16 UCAS points at Level 3.
Q – I have a student visa, is that sufficient for me to apply?
A – No, international students are not able to apply.
Q – Will you apply for a working visa for me?
A – No, you would need to have status of indefinite leave to remain and work in the UK to apply.
Q – I have a criminal conviction or caution, can I still work for the police?
A – This will depend on the nature of the conviction or caution. You will need to provide full details to assist our vetting department in making a decision, via the application process.
PLEASE NOTE: applicants must declare all convictions and cautions. Failure to declare certain details will seriously undermine an individual’s integrity and credibility and is likely to prevent them from appointment, regardless of the nature / seriousness of the details.
Q – In the past I have been arrested but not charged, do I still need to declare this?
A – Yes, you must declare if you have ever been subject of a criminal investigation whether or not this led to a prosecution. Failure to make such declarations will lead to your application being rejected.
Q – Do I need to declare motoring offences?
A – Yes, you must declare all offences including penalty notices. Your application will not be automatically rejected for minor offences; consideration will be given to repeat offending, behaviour, age, the actual offence committed and length of time since the offence.
Q – I have a relative who has convictions, can I still apply?
A – Yes. If your friends or family members have convictions, this must be disclosed. Your application will not be automatically rejected; consideration will be given as to how close the association is and the level of criminality involved etc.
Q – Can I apply if I have been bankrupt?
A – Yes, you can apply but only if it is three years after the bankruptcy debts have been discharged.
Q – Can I apply if I have a County Court Judgment (CCJ)?
A – Yes – if the judgement has been discharged, you can be considered. If you have an existing judgment, your application cannot be considered.
Q – Can I apply if I have an Independent Voluntary Agreement (IVA)?
A – Applicants with a current Independent Voluntary Agreement (IVA) will not be considered. However, if it has been discharged, you may be considered.
Q – Can I continue with my other business interests?
A – You must declare any other employment for hire or gain or any other business interests that you intend to maintain, when you apply to become a police constable. A decision on whether you meet the eligibility criteria will be made on the basis of the full information provided during the recruitment and selection process and whether it is considered that your business interests are compatible with performing the role of a police officer.
This also includes if you, or one of your close relatives, holds a licence or permit relating to alcohol licensing, refreshment houses or betting and gaming or regulating places of entertainment in the force area.
Q – I don’t have the required Level 2 qualification in English and / or Maths – what can I do?
A – We recommend that you take a look at our eligibility page as we have partnership with Go Train, who offer free Level 2 qualifications to support people looking to further an application with us.
Q – I don’t have the required UCAS points at Level 3 – what can I do?
A – We recommend that you contact your local college to find out more about the courses they offer. We are working on new partnerships with education providers who will hopefully be in a position to support applicants with Level 3 qualifications in the near future. Keep an eye on our eligibility page for more details, as soon as we can share them.
Q – I have a degree and want to join but the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) is closed, what do I do?
A – We are sorry that the ideal route of entry for you is not currently available. Our DHEP scheme has been very popular and is currently oversubscribed. If we stayed open, applicants could face many months of waiting before a place became available on our training courses. For now, we are asking people to sign up for email alerts, by clicking the button below, so we can let you know when we re-open. However, if your degree is in a subject that is not related to policing, drop us an email and we can discuss possible options for the future – ss_CustomerServices@west-midlands.pnn.police.uk
Q – Are there any restrictions on hair style and colour?
A – Yes, when you begin your training you will be required to adhere to nationally set appearance standards. Hair should be worn so that it is cut or secured above the collar and ears and is neat and tidy. Extreme and vivid hair colouring in unnatural colours is not permitted.
Q – I already work as Police Staff at WMP, or another force, is the process the same for me?
A – Yes, the recruitment and selection process is consistent for all.
Q – I am involved in politics, is this OK?
A – Police officers are not permitted to take an active part in politics.
A – If you are applying for PCDA then, yes – the advert is live and you will need to access your profile, complete the role specific questions and submit your application. If you are applying for DHEP then no, we will contact you when this entry route re-opens for applications.
Q – I’ve already passed the SEARCH assessment centre through my application to another police force, can I transfer my score?
A – You will need to apply in the normal way and pass the online assessment; once you reach this point we are able to accept your SEARCH score. Please note scores are only valid for 12 months and you must withdraw the application from the other force before applying to WMP.
Q – I’ve previously applied to be a police officer at West Midlands Police or another force, can I reapply?
A – Yes, however, the time you have to wait before you reapply depends on how far into the process you went and how long ago you went through the process. If you have previously attended a SEARCH® assessment centre, you will not be able to sit another centre within a six month period. If you have previously taken part in the Online Assessment Centre then you can reapply once three months have passed.
Q – I have dyslexia, will reasonable adjustments be made for me?
A – If you are dyslexic you will be required to provide us with a report (to be obtained at your own cost). This is so we can arrange the consideration for reasonable adjustments to be made.
Q – Could you tell me more about the online assessment process?
A – A brief overview of the Online Assessment Centre and all other elements of the selection process can be found on the ‘Recruitment Process’ page of this site.
Q – What does the SEARCH Recruit Assessment involve? How can I prepare?
A – A brief overview of all aspects of the selection process can be found on the ‘Recruitment Process’ page of this site. Please note that SEARCH is not currently running due to restrictions in place nationally as a result of Covid 19. We are currently using the College of Policing’s Online Assessment Centre throughout 2020. If you wish, you can find out more about the SEARCH Recruit Assessment Centre, including pre-read and familiarisation material here.
Q – Can I claim expenses for attending the assessment centre, fitness test and medical?
A – We are not able to reimburse you for any expenses incurred as part of the recruitment process.
Q – What is biometric vetting and what happens to the samples I give?
A – Biometric vetting checks will be undertaken on those candidates who have reached the stage of being considered suitable and are undergoing pre-employment checks. A fingerprint and DNA sample will be taken and checks made against the appropriate databases. The purpose of the searches is to determine whether:
- The individual has come to police attention;
- If so, whether that was under the identity being used for the application; and
- If the individual is linked to any outstanding crime scene marks or stains
- Only one set of fingerprints and DNA sample will be required. If subsequently appointed, these samples will be retained on the respective police database for elimination purposes. For those not appointed, their fingerprints, DNA sample and DNA profile and all copies and records will be destroyed.
Q – What does the drugs test involve?
A – A hair/fingernail, saliva and urine sample will be used for alcohol, drug and or substance abuse. For those unable to provide a hair sample, finger-nail clippings are used.
Q – What does the fitness test involve? How can I prepare?
A – A brief overview of all aspects of the selection process can be found on the ‘Recruitment Process’ page of this site. Depending on your current fitness level, you may choose to try and improve this before you come for your assessment. Your local medical practice may be able to offer you some guidance and support in relation to your BMI and how you can reach the required range of above 18 and no more than 30.
The below film may be useful when preparing for the fitness test.
Q – How will you contact me through the process?
A – Generally we’ll contact you via email but if we need to reach you quickly we may give you a call. Invitations to assessment will be sent via email. It’s important that you provide us with your correct details and update us if anything changes. It is important that you regularly check your spam or junk folder also.
Q – How long does the selection process take? Can I choose when I start?
A – The process length varies – we strive to complete the process within six months but it may take longer. Once your checks are complete we will generally offer you the next available start date taking into account your notice period; there may be the opportunity to delay this by a short time.
Q – I have applied to become a PCSO / other police staff role, is that OK?
A – Yes – you are able to have other live applications with West Midlands Police, or another force, that aren’t for the role of a police office. However, as the applications progress you will need to make decision on which you would like to take further.
Q – How do I contact West Midlands Police if I have any questions about my application?
A – Please read through the information on our careers pages and these FAQs, if you are unable to find the answer to your question please email via email@example.com and add ‘PC Application – General Query’ to the subject line.
A – All routes into policing at WMP will now incorporate formal study to Level 6 or higher. We are currently recruiting for new joiners who will undertake the degree apprenticeship programme and the degree holder entry programme. The third route of entry is via a pre-join degree external to West Midlands Police, which some universities are beginning to offer.
Q – Will I need to pay tuition fees?
A – The degree apprenticeship will be funded by West Midlands Police and by using funding from the Apprenticeship Levy. We also cover the cost of the degree holder entry programme, which sees our student officers achieve a graduate diploma.
Q – Will I have to attend university for lectures?
A – Learning is flexible. Our students will log into Staffordshire University systems for distance learning and some face to face lectures will be delivered by the university, but it will be here in the West Midlands.
Q – How often will I be expected to study?
A – Your study will be on-going however you will be required to use approximately 20% of your work time for off the job learning.
Q – Will I have to study for exams during my degree or graduate diploma?
A – No, you will not be required to take exams, you will achieve your degree either by completing assignment work or by demonstrating your skills on the job.
Q – Can I still work or study an additional course part time whilst I am training and completing Degree Apprenticeship or Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice?
A – No, you will be working as a full time police officer while you are studying towards your degree or graduate diploma.
Q – Is it all classroom study? How will I learn the practical elements of policing?
A – No, there will be lots of practical training and ‘on the job’ development too. We will also provide as much support as you need to achieve the required outcomes. Most of your training will be spent on rotation across our large policing departments, including Force Response, Force Criminal Investigations, Public Protection and Neighbourhood Policing.
Q – Can I choose which University I gain my qualification from?
A – No, we are partnered with a Staffordshire University to deliver the degree apprenticeship and graduate diploma.
If you have reviewed the information on the website and the above FAQs and have been unable to find the information you require please contact the recruitment team via firstname.lastname@example.org and add ‘PC Application – General Query’ to the subject line.