Frequently asked questions

What qualifications do you need to become a police officer?

Please see the specific entry criteria for the various routes of entry.

Do I need a driving licence to apply to become a police officer?

Yes, you will require a full UK manual driving licence.

Can I apply to become a police community support officer (PCSO) at the same time as applying to be a police officer?

Yes, it’s acceptable to apply to both positions at the same time.

Can I decide where I’ll be stationed?

During the recruitment process, you’ll have an opportunity to state the police stations where you would prefer to serve at. We cannot guarantee your station choices. However, every effort is made to accommodate personal circumstances balanced with organisational need.

Do police officers joining Thames Valley Police receive an allowance living in the Thames Valley area?

Yes. All new recruits joining Thames Valley Police will receive a £2,000 South East living allowance in addition to the basic salary.

I have a previous driving conviction – will this stop me applying?

Not necessarily; this will depend on the nature and date of the driving conviction.

I have a drink driving ban – how long do I have to wait before I can apply?

You would have to wait ten years from the date convicted before you can apply.

Can I apply if I’ve been bankrupt?

Yes, you can apply – only if it is three years after the bankruptcy debts have been discharged.

Can I apply if I have a County Court Judgement?

Yes - if the Judgement has been discharged, you can be considered. If you have an existing judgement, your application cannot be considered.

Can I apply if I have an Independent Voluntary Agreement?

Applicants with a current Independent Voluntary Agreement (IVA) will not be considered. However, if it has been discharged, you may be considered.

Can I work for the police if I have a criminal conviction or caution?

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.

Can I apply if I am currently a serving member of the armed forces?

If you are a member of Her Majesty’s Forces, you should note that we are only able to accept applications from servicemen or women who are living in the United Kingdom or are able to return to undertake the various stages of the recruitment process.

We can only accept applications from members of Her Majesty’s Forces who have a projected date of discharge within 12 months. We require a confirmation of this along with your application form.

I have a tattoo on my body. Will this prevent me from becoming a police officer?

The main rule is that you should not have tattoos which could cause offence. Tattoos are not acceptable if they are particularly prominent, garish, and offensive or undermine the dignity and authority of your role.

During the recruitment process, you will be asked to provide details of all your tattoos for assessment.

Generally, the following are not acceptable:

  • Offensive words and language.
  • Nudity.
  • Large numbers of tattoos, particularly on the face and body.
  • Images that may shock or cause upset.

Can I transfer my police officer application for another Force to Thames Valley Police?

Currently, Thames Valley Police does not accept applications transferred from other Forces.

Do I have to be a serving Police Community Support Officer or Special Constable before being allowed to apply?

No, you may apply without any previous experience with Thames Valley Police. Please note that if you are a serving PCSO, member of CRED or member of PEC and have less than 12 months service by the closing date of application forms you may not apply for the role of Police Officer. You need to have completed 12 months in your role as a PCSO, CRED staff or PEC staff at the point of application.