Eligibility Criteria

Date published: 02 September 2020 11:28

Be the future of compassion

Your personality counts just as much as your skills.

A career with South Yorkshire Police includes both front-line and community-based work. Being able to connect with and emotionally support our communities is a key part of the role, so we look for candidates who can be sensitive, easy to talk to, independent and empathetic. Sometimes you may find yourself in challenging situations, but being able to bring a sense of calm, think fast and solve problems will make all the difference.

Eligibility Criteria

A career with South Yorkshire Police is the chance for you to take on a challenge that will change lives. Whether you’re a school-leaver, a graduate or searching for new opportunities, we welcome applications from all backgrounds and communities. There are three different entry routes as part of our Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF), which you can take to join the police. The criteria for each of these routes is set out below.

Academic Qualifications

Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship

To be eligible you must meet at least one of the following entry qualification criteria, or provide evidence of alternative experience via your application form (please see alternative experience or evidence section).

Your standard of education should be equivalent to a Level 3 qualification, such as those detailed in the list below. However, if you do not hold any of the listed qualifications, you may still be accepted onto the PCDA course if you have proven experience or evidence that can be related to the programme and can demonstrate the required level of skill and academic ability. Applicants without the course entry requirements will need to provide further evidence to demonstrate  they have significant knowledge, skills and understanding required to successfully complete the programme

  • A level
  • AS Level
  • Advanced Diploma – Level 3
  • National Certificate – Level 3
  • National Award – Level 3
  • Level 3 Award
  • Level 3 Certificate
  • Level 3 Diploma
  • Level 3 NVQ
  • Level 3 International Certificate in Computer Studies
  • City & Guilds, Level 3
  • NEBOSH National Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety Access to Higher Education Diploma
  • An academic or vocational qualification gained outside England and Wales, which is considered by the UK National Recognition Information Centre to be a Level 3 qualification.
  • Have served in the military, armed forces and have successfully completed the minimum term of service (usually four years) and have achieved an exemplary reference on discharge.

The above are acceptable if they attract UCAS points.  For acceptable Level 3 qualifications please refer to the following: https://www.ucas.com/files/tariff-tables-2020

Application Guidance

If you are providing alternative experience or evidence for the PCDA entry route, you will be required to complete the alternative experience or evidence section on the application form. You will be provided with knowledge and skills areas and will be required to provide specific examples of your own contribution / actions to evidence these areas. You will also be required to provide detail on the learning you gained from your experience.

Your statement should clearly demonstrate you have achieved through informal and experiential learning the same level as those who have formal certified learning. Learning will be timely, in the context of the course and the subject discipline. The learning must have taken place recently enough for there to be reasonable expectation by Sheffield Hallam University that the learning is relevant to the course and the subject discipline.

You will be asked to evidence five knowledge and skills areas, in less than 200 words per area.

Level 2 in Maths & English

While it is desirable for our applicants to have a Level 2 qualification in Maths & English, we will consider a candidates previous skills and experience and their likely ability to reach this level by the end of the apprenticeship.

Degree Holder Entry Programme

If you are applying via the Degree Holder Entry Programme, you will need to have achieved the following qualification:

  • Achieved a degree in any subject area (Level 6 or above)

Further Criteria


Candidates aged 17 and above may apply to become a police officer and may take up appointment on reaching the age of 18 or above, if successful. There is no upper age limit for applying to the police service, but bear in mind that the normal retirement age is 60 and that new recruits are required to undertake the required probationary period.  For the Police Constable Apprenticeship Degree this is three years and for the Degree Holder Entry Programme this is two years.


You must have resided in the UK for three continuous years immediately prior to application.  If you have been abroad during the last three years while serving in the UK Armed Forces or working for the UK Government your application will still be considered.


You must be either a British citizen, a citizen of the EU or other states in the EEA, or a Commonwealth citizen or foreign national with indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

Driving Licence

Ideally, you must have a full manual UK/EU licence at the time of application.  Applications will be accepted if you don’t have a full driving licence, however you will be expected to have taken and passed your test before appointment.

Cautions and Convictions

Convictions and cautions will not necessarily preclude you from becoming a police officer.  It will depend on the nature and circumstances of the offence.  Failure to disclose convictions or cautions will, however result in your application being terminated.

Financial Position

All applicants will have their financial status verified.  Checks are carried out because police officers have access to privileged and highly sensitive information, which may make them vulnerable to corruption.

Applicants with outstanding County Court judgements, or who have been registered bankrupt with outstanding debts, will be rejected.  If you have discharged bankruptcy debts then you will need to provide a Certificate of Satisfaction with your application.  At least three years will need to have passed since the date of discharge.


Police officers encounter difficult situations, trauma, physical confrontation and work long hours on shifts.  They need to be resilient enough to cope with the demands and pressures of police work. Applicants must be in good health mentally and physically to undertake police duties.

You will undergo a medical examination to ensure that you meet the health standards required.

Physical Fitness

To ensure you are fit enough for the role, you will undertake a fitness test.


All applicants will have their eyesight examined and should meet the required standard below:

Distance vision corrected:

  • 6/12 or better with either your right or left eye
  • 6/6 with both eyes together

Near vision corrected:

  • 6/9 with both eyes together

Colour vision

  • The use of colour correcting lenses is not acceptable. Severe colour vision deficiencies (monochromacy) are not accepted

Eye Surgery

  • Radial keratotomy, arcuate keratotomy or corneal grafts are not accepted.

If you do not meet the required standard of eyesight, you will not be eligible to be appointed as a police officer.

Tattoos & Piercings

All tattoos and piercings must be in line with South Yorkshire Police’s Appearance and Standards Policy.  Tattoos visible on your face, neck, head or hands are not permitted.  However, applications will be accepted if you are willing to have visible tattoos on your hands removed before appointment.

Tattoos visible on your forearms or visible in an open collared/short sleeve shirt are not considered appropriate for those in public facing roles and must be covered at all times.

Any tattoos which could be deemed inappropriate or cause offence will also not be accepted.  Tattoos are not acceptable if they are particularly prominent, garish and offensive or undermine the dignity and authority of the role.

Facial or tongue piercings are not permitted by any member of staff in public facing roles.  Any piercings which could impede your ability to perform the role are not permitted.

Substance misuse

If you are currently using any illegal drugs this will automatically rule you out of the recruitment process.  On application, you must agree to have a drugs test, as well as having a DNA sample and fingerprints taken for the purpose of conducting a speculative search against the national database.

Membership to British National Party (BNP) or similar groups

The police service strictly prohibits any of their officers or staff from becoming members of organisations whose aims and objectives may contradict the duty to promote race equality. E.g. the BNP, National Front or Combat 18.  If you are, or have been, a member of such an organisation you are not eligible to apply.

Police officers are not permitted to take an active part in politics.

Business Interest

You must declare any other employment or business interests you intend to maintain so this can be reviewed to ensure that there is no conflict of interest with the police.

Previous applications

If you have applied unsuccessfully to any police force, you are eligible to re-apply immediately after leaving the last process. However, if you have attended an Assessment Centre with College of Policing, you will have to wait six months before being eligible to attend again.