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Before you apply, you should carefully read through the following sections and the job role to prepare yourself so that your application has the best chance of success. The different steps of the recruitment process are detailed below, so you know what to expect at each stage.

Please note that your application could take between six and nine months to process and you will be personally notified as to whether they have been successful or not at each stage.

Stage 1 - Application Form  

Congratulations on deciding to change your life and become a police officer! The first thing you will need to do is fill out and submit our application form which covers our minimum academic and personal eligibility criteria for the role.

You can find out everything you need to know about the various entry routes, the PCDA, DHEP, DC DHEP or the PPD (Pre-Join) on our entry routes page.

Your application will then go through an initial sift to check you meet the eligibility criteria so please make sure your application is completed in full. If you should you be unsuccessful in your application because you have not met the minimum academic criteria, you may be signposted to other available roles within the force such as Police Community Support Officer.

Stage 2 - College of Policing - Online Initial Sift

Successful candidates will be invited to complete the Police Online Assessment. This process includes a series of exercises that test the key competencies and values that are important for the role of police officer.

The online initial sift process consists of two-stages. The two stages are:

Part 1 – Situational Judgement Test (SJT)

This test measures your ability to choose the appropriate action in situations similar to those you are likely to face as a police officer. This test will measure your judgement and ability to make effective decisions against the Competency and Values Framework for Policing.

Part 2 – Behavioural Style Questionnaire (BSQ)

The BSQ measures your typical behaviour and preferences at work. The purpose of the questionnaire is to assess whether you have the right behaviours and attitudes to be effective in the role. You will be presented with 80 statements and asked to decide the extent to which you agree or disagree with each statement.

Part 3 – Online Assessment Centre

Successful candidates from the initial sift stage will then be invited to complete the Police Online Assessment Centre. This process includes a series of exercises that test the key competencies and values that are important for the role of police officer.

Part 1 – Competency-based interview - You will be asked a series of questions about how you have dealt with specific situations in the past. This is your opportunity to provide some examples of the key competencies and values that are important for police officers. You can use examples from both your work and your personal life. If you have completed stage 1, you will be required to take stage 2 immediately upon completion.

Part 2 – Written exercise - In this exercise, you will assume the role of a police officer and will have to complete an urgent written task for your line manager. You will receive four items of information to help you with this task.

Part 3 – Briefing exercise In this exercise, you will assume the role of a police officer and will have responsibility for dealing with some issues presented to you. You will be tasked with providing a response to a number of questions in relation to this issue. You will be provided with preparation materials to consider your answer.

Required technology

You can complete the exercises on any internet-enabled device with a camera (laptop, tablet or phone), but to ensure full compatibility with the online platform, the following should be set up:

  • Your operating system should be Windows 7 (or higher) or Mac OS 10.11 (or higher).
  • Your browser should be the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari (Apple products only).
  • You should have the latest version of Adobe Flash installed, and you require a webcam and microphone to record responses.

Reasonable adjustments

If you have any condition that might cause you to be disadvantaged during the online assessment process, temporary or otherwise (for example pregnancy, injury, disability or including dyslexia), you may be entitled to accommodation or reasonable adjustment.

Any accommodation or reasonable adjustment provided for the online assessment process will be based on the supporting information provided to us in a relevant report, produced by an appropriately qualified professional. Reasonable adjustments may include additional time in the exercises or other adjustments as recommended by a specialist.

If you believe you may have a condition that could disadvantage you, please email us

For more information, please consult the College of Policing policy on accommodations and reasonable adjustments for candidates attending the online assessment process.

Stage 4 - Final Interview 

A final interview will be conducted at Durham Constabulary Police Headquarters and this will be your opportunity to further demonstrate your suitability to join the constabulary as a police officer, or if you are looking to become an investigator, as a detective constable.

Stage 5 - Pre-employment Checks 

Medical screening
You will be asked to complete a medical questionnaire which must be signed by your GP and returned confidentially to our Occupational Health Unit.

All medical questionnaires will be assessed by our Occupational Health Nurse Advisors who may require further information from your medical practitioner. Candidates who are declared as "fit to proceed" will then be examined by a medical practitioner on behalf of Durham Constabulary.

We will check: BMI (which must be 30 or below), eye sight including colour vision, lung function and hearing.

In addition, you will be asked to provide a hair sample which will be subject to a drugs test.

Guidance on police eyesight standards can be found here.

Fitness test
We test on endurance fitness and you are required to pass the fitness test before we can continue with your application. This a mandatory requirement, whichever police officer role you are applying for. 

The fitness test is a multi-stage shuttle run (MSSR) and individuals need to achieve level 5.4 (which is the aerobic requirement of officer safety training).

Vetting checks
We will carry out internal and external vetting checks on you and your spouse/partner, members of your family including step brothers and sisters, and half brothers and sisters. We will also check your partner's children if they are over ten years and any other adults who reside at your address.

Financial checks will also be carried out on all candidates. Those with outstanding County Court Judgements (CCJs), Individual Voluntary Agreements (IVAs) or who have been registered bankrupt will be rejected. If you have discharged bankruptcy debts, you will need verification from the court of this and three years must have lapsed since the date of discharge.

Biometric vetting
Samples of your fingerprints and DNA will be taken to carry out final vetting checks against our database. You will be required to consent in writing to this process.

Durham Constabulary will seek references from your current employer if you have been employed by them for more than five years. If you have been employed for less than five years with your current employer, references will also be sought from previous employers, along with the two character references provided on your application. We will notify you before we approach your employment referees.