Police Inspector Eligibility Criteria: Direct Entry


Want to become a police inspector? Well, great news. The police are now running a direct entry scheme, which allows skilled candidates another way into the force. However, you will need to fulfil a certain set of police inspector eligibility criteria. In this blog, we’ll tell you all about what the police inspector eligibility criteria is, and give you a bit of extra information about the course.

The Importance of the Police Inspector Eligibility Requirements

As you might have gathered from what we have already told you in our previous blogs, the Direct Entry programme is only open to the very best candidates, which is why applicants need to go through such an extensive application process. In addition to this, there are further restrictions on who can apply for the role, otherwise known as the eligibility criteria. Below we’ve provided a summary of what requirements you’ll need to meet, and some other important facts that you’ll need to know about the course.

Policer Inspector Direct Entry: Eligibility Requirements

Age Limit
The upper age limit for applicants to this programme is 57. You must be 18 or older to apply. Candidates for the Direct Entry programme can apply as many times as they want. However, should you fail the assessment centre twice, you will need to wait a total of 5 years before applying again.

Candidates from outside the EEA must have leave to remain in the UK for an indefinite period, without restrictions. The police inspector eligibility team requires a three-year history when vetting, meaning that you will need to have been a resident of the UK for three years prior to application.

The police have a very strict policy on tattoos and piercings. Tattoos and piercings are not deemed acceptable by the police, if they:

  • Are seen as undermining the dignity of the employee;
  • Risk causing offence to members of the public, or police staff;
  • Are particularly garish/prominent;
  • Could be seen as discriminatory to any group of people;

When applying to join the police, your financial history will be considered. You will not be accepted if you have an existing County Court judgement against your name, or if you have remaining debts that are a result of bankruptcy. Likewise, you will be rejected if you are the subject of an Individual Voluntary Agreement. Candidates who have been previously registered as bankrupt, will only be considered if they have been discharged from their debt for a period of three years prior to application.


  • In order to successfully apply, you will need to meet the eyesight requirements. The requirements are as follows:
  • You must be at a level of 6/12 or better in either eye, or 6/6 with both eyes together, when testing long distance vision;
  • You must be at a level of 6/9 with both eyes together, when testing near vision;
  • The police do not accept the use of colour correcting lenses. Nor do they accept radial keratotomy, arcuate keratotomy or corneal grafts.

Once you have been accepted onto the course, you will be on a period of probation for the duration of the programme. This means that you will need to prove to the police inspector eligibility assessors that you have what it takes to succeed in the role, or risk being removed from the programme. All candidates who successfully complete the programme are guaranteed an offer of employment.

Chosen Constabulary
The application process allows candidates to apply for more than one force. On the application form, you will be asked to list your preferred ranking of the forces that are taking part in the programme/which of these you would like to work for. If you do receive a place on the programme, then this list will be used to determine which force you might work for.

Past Convictions
As you would expect, the police inspector eligibility team are very strict on the criminal history of their candidates. Below we’ve included all of the information on how past criminal convictions could impact your application. When considering criminal convictions, each case will be judged based on its own merits, and therefore it is up to the police to decide on whether the exact past conviction will prohibit you from joining. That being said, applications will not be accepted if a candidate (of any age) has previously been convicted or cautioned for:

  • Murder;
  • Treason;
  • Manslaughter;
  • Rape;
  • Incest;
  • Offences that fall under the sexual offences act of 2003;
  • Sexual activity with a child;
  • Hostage-taking or torture;
  • Involvement in espionage or terrorism;
  • Any driving offences which have resulted in a death;
  • Firearms offences;
  • Domestic violence offences.

Similarly, you are highly unlikely to be accepted if you have been convicted or cautioned on charges of:

  • Violence;
  • GBH;
  • ABH;
  • Unlawful possession of firearms;
  • Gross indecency;
  • Abuse or neglect of children;
  • Public order offences;
  • Burglary;
  • Fraud;
  • Any offence which involved acting in a dishonest or corrupt manner, invoking loss to others involved;
  • Possession with, or involvement in, class A drugs or class B drugs;Reckless or dangerous driving within the 10 years preceding application, including drink driving or driving under the influence of drugs;
  • Convictions that are a result of driving without insurance, in the past 5 years. Likewise, failing to stop after an accident.

the police inspector eligibility criteria is pretty substantial, so make sure you check it out before applying!

Your age at the time of offence, and other circumstances, will be taken into consideration for the following cases:

  • Being drunk and disorderly;
  • Minor drugs offences or substance abuse;
  • Common assault;
  • If you have outstanding charges or court summon requests;
  • If you have been convicted of an offence by a military tribunal;
  • If relatives or associates of the applicant are found to have engaged in activity which could lead to embarrassment for the police, or risk discrediting the police as an organisation.

As per standard police regulations, you will need to take a substance misuse test during the application process. Failure to take part in this, or failure of the misuse test, will result in you being removed from the process.

Shift Work
You will need to be prepared to work shifts. Shift work is an essential part of policing, and there are times when you will need to work at nights and at weekends. You will be required to work approximately 40 hours per week.

Education/Past Employment

Having a degree may benefit you in the application process, although it is not essential. There are no educational qualifications required in order to apply, and candidates will be judged based on how well they meet the police criteria, and not on their academic background. Existing police employees are welcome to apply, and will face the same tests as everyone else. That being said, existing employees are eligible to participate in a Fast Track programme, which accelerates the process.

Candidates who are accepted on the programme will receive a salary of approximately £48,000 a year, from the very start of the course. This could, however, vary between forces.

The Programme
The programme lasts for a period of 24 months. You’ll spend the majority of your time working in operational rotation, and the rest taking part in lessons. The programme is free, and you won’t have to pay anything towards it. The course will be assessed via a variety of methods, including examinations, work-based supervision and participation in operational and community projects.

Police Car with Blue Lights on

8 thoughts on “Police Inspector Eligibility Criteria: Direct Entry

  1. Charles Wattley says:

    I have read the Police Inspector Eligibility Criteria: Direct Entry and note that the upper age limit is 57.
    I am 60 years of age and very fit both mentally and physically, I am black British male and other than the age limit I feel that I have all of the attributes you are looking for.

    • Joshua Brown says:

      Hi Charles,

      Currently, we are not aware of any open vacancies for the direct entry route, but keep an eye on the MET police website. It’s worth applying if you have the passion for the role, but we would always recommend contacting them direct for their specific requirements.

      Best of luck!

  2. priyanshika says:

    I want to be a police inspector and i am 16 years old; what should i do to be a police inspector? Any specific test or qualifications?

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Priyanshika,

      Unfortunately if you are below the age of 18 then you cannot apply to become a police inspector. You don’t need any specific educational qualifications, but having a degree will definitely strengthen your case when you do eventually apply. If you do want to strengthen your application chances, then it’s always a good idea to try and get involved in voluntary work, maybe try doing things in your local community. The police will really look favourably on candidates who can demonstrate experience of working with the community.


      The How2Become Team

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Pradhumn,

      Being from outside the UK won’t be a barrier, just as long as you can meet the following requirements:

      Candidates from outside the EEA must have leave to remain in the UK for an indefinite period, without restrictions. The police inspector eligibility team requires a three-year history when vetting, meaning that you will need to have been a resident of the UK for three years prior to application.

      Hope this helps!


      The How2Become Team

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Rajesh,

      Thanks for your comment! There is no minimum height required to become an inspector, as the police do not discriminate.


      The How2Become Team

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