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 training course which is approximately 15 weeks, except public and bank holidays. Some courses will have holidays programmed into their timetable and you may be required to take certain days off as holiday. 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 initial training, 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.
Should you move to part time working during your probation, you probationary period will be extended on a pro rata basis.
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
- 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 the three years that you are training and studying for your Degree Apprenticeship in Professional Policing Practice. The starting salary is between £21,000 and £22,000 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 18 to apply to be a police officer.
Q – Are there height restrictions?
A – No, there is no minimum or maximum height requirements
Q – I am nearly 18, can I apply?
A – No, you will need to wait until you turn 18 before you begin your application.
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 / 3 qualifications, can I still apply?
A – No, you will need to wait until; you have received your results.
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 you the 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?
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 two qualification in English and / or Maths – what can I do?
A – Our partners have lots of information on how to achieve your level two qualifications – some of those courses do not incur a fee. Contact us for more info.
Q – I don’t have the required UCAS points at level three – what can I do?
A – Our partners have lots of information on how to step up to the level required, and some of those courses do not incur a fee. Contact us for more info.
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 – Yes – now the advert is live you will need to access your profile, complete the role specific questions and submit your application.
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 both the online assessments; 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, if you have previously attended a SEARCH® assessment centre, you will not be able to sit another centre within a 6 month period.
Q – I don’t have the certificates for my qualifications, is this OK?
Y – You will need to secure copies of your qualifications before you begin your application
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 both the values based questionnaire and video interview is given within the ‘Recruitment Process’ page. If you reach this stage in the process we will provide you with lots more information to enable you to prepare.
Q – What does the SEARCH Recruit Assessment involve? How can I prepare?
A – A brief overview of both the values based questionnaire and video interview is given within the ‘Recruitment Process’ page. 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 both the values based questionnaire and video interview is given within the ‘Recruitment Process’ page. 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.
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 already have an application to become a Police Officer with another force, is that OK?
A – You’re only able to apply to one police force/service at a time. If you wish to join us here at WMP, you would need to withdraw from an application process with another force.
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; if you already have a degree there will be opportunities open to you in the future that will enable you to study for a postgraduate diploma instead. The third route of entry is via a pre-join degree external to West Midlands Police.
Q – I applied previously and am starting soon; can I switch to complete the degree apprenticeship?
A – No, if you applied previously you will have already been allocated a start date.
Q – Will I need to pay tuition fees?
A – Your degree will be funded by West Midlands Police and by using funding from the newly introduced Apprenticeship Levy. However, you may be required to pay back tuition fees if you choose to leave within your first five years.
Q – Will I have to attend University for lectures
A – We are currently finalising the design of the course and so all of this detail will be available and confirmed very soon.
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 part time whilst I am training and completing Degree Apprenticeship in Professional Policing Practice?
A – No, you will be working as a full time police officer while you are studying towards your degree
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.
Q – Can I choose which University I gain my degree from?
A – No, we are partnered with a University to deliver the degree apprenticeship.
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.