PSNI stands for Police Service Northern Ireland. It is the official and recognised police service of Northern Ireland, and works in partnership with local communities to maintain peace and prevent crime.
The selection process to join the PSNI is extremely competitive. Over 7500 people apply to join the force every single year, with only around 500 of these applicants being successful. This means that there are several stages you’ll need to complete, if you wish to become an officer.
In this blog, we’ll show you the PSNI Eligibility Criteria that you must adhere to, if you wish to get started in the selection process.
PSNI Eligibility Criteria
- Age. In order to apply to the PSNI, you must be at least 18 years old, and no younger than 57 upon appointment. Usually, when the PSNI is recruiting, they’ll inform you of the specific date by which you’ll need to meet these criteria.
- Nationality. In order to apply to the PSNI, you must have leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom for an indefinite period of time, and be a national of a country/state within the European Union (excluding Croatia). If you are not a member of a state within the European Union, you may still be accepted but must be able to provide documentary evidence that you have the right to remain in the United Kingdom for an indefinite period of time.
- Education. All applicants to the PSNI are required to have a minimum of 5 GCSES at A*-C grade, with both Maths and English included. Candidates will be expected to provide evidence of their exam certificates and relevant qualifications at Assessment Centres.
- Computer Skills. When applying to the PSNI, you will have to demonstrate that you have a basic level of computer literacy. This will not be done through a specific test, but throughout the process you will have to demonstrate basic skills when filling in the application forms and the assessment centre questions. When working as a PSNI officer, you will spend frequent periods working at your desk in the office, where you will need basic computer skills. When filling in your application form, you will be asked to confirm and acknowledge that that you are competent in using IT software and devices
- Driver’s License. In order to become a PSNI police officer, you must be in possession of a full manual driving license.
- Drug Use. The PSNI requires all successful applicants to undergo a drug screening test prior to any offer of appointment/employment. If you are tested positive for any of the substances listed under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, then you will be automatically rejected from the force.
- Criminal Record. When applying for the PSNI, a previous criminal record could damage your application. You will have to declare all past convictions or warnings, and list any past involvement that you may have had with the police. During the vetting process, the seriousness of any offences will be weighed against your suitability to the role. If you have convictions for dangerous driving, drink driving or driving under the influence of drugs within the last ten years, then your application is highly likely to be rejected.
- Tattoos. If you are working for the PSNI, you will have to ensure that any visible tattoos are covered at all times. During the application process you will need to take a photo of any tattoos that you have, as these will be considered during the vetting process. Any tattoos above the neck or on the hands are not acceptable, nor are any tattoos which might be deemed as offensive or discriminatory.