Police officers | Suffolk Constabulary

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Police officers

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Suffolk Constabulary are delighted to be part of the National Uplift Programme following the government announcement to recruit 20,000 additional Police Officers. We not only offer a unique and rewarding career with an opportunity to make a real difference to your community, we also welcome you to the Police family. 

The role of a Police Constable is incredibly challenging, demanding and diverse, yet one of the most satisfying and rewarding careers you could choose. Every day presents new challenges and situations, however protecting the community that we serve is always at the heart of everything we do.

Police Constables are a vital and valued part of society and the communities they serve and the salary and benefits reflect that, as do the opportunities available for continued personal development, training and progression. With the introduction of the PEQF, police officers will be able to ‘earn while they learn’, and proactively make a long-term enhancement to their personal prospects while in turn improving the prospects of the community that they serve.

The force embraces diversity and we strive to be a police force that is reflective of the community it serves and we actively encourage applications from those from underrepresented backgrounds to join the force and play an instrumental part in the change that you want to see in your community.

What are we looking for?

When recruiting Police Constables, we look for a variety of skills, attributes and personal qualities, these include:

  • Passionate about making a difference, helping the most vulnerable and others in their time of need.
  • The ability to think quickly and clearly, making good decisions under extreme pressure.
  • Display high levels of resilience; the role of a police officer requires dealing with extremely challenging and distressing situations and people.
  • Cultural awareness to proactively engage in partnerships with others, understanding their needs whatever their background and situation is.
  • Display enthusiasm, reliability, self-discipline, empathy and compassion enough to take control of situations

What we offer

In addition to a varied and rewarding career, you will receive:

  • A starting salary of £24,780 which increases in increments every 12 months over a 7-year period up to £41,130. 
  • An undergraduate honours degree in BSc (Hons) Professional Policing Practice with entry through the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) route or a Level 6 Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice with entry through our Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP)
  • Career opportunities available in various locations across the force and a wide range of specialist roles once completed probation period
  • Flexible working, full time, part time and job share opportunities
  • Access to the Police Pension Scheme (2015)
  • Annual leave of 22 paid days, increasing to 30 days as length of service increases. 
  • Enhanced maternity benefits
  • An award-winning Workplace Health department
  • 24/7 wellbeing support and advice, for professional and personal matters 
  • Access to a variety of supportive and active staff groups, networks and associations
  • A generous occupational sick pay scheme 
  • A range of public sector discounts from insurance to holidays via The Bluelight Card
  • Lifestyle benefits including discounted gym membership and access to force run sports and social clubs. 
  • Free parking at some sites where available.

What are the entry routes?

There are 3 new ways to becoming a police officer, including:


Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) 

Join as a constable, and follow a degree apprenticeship in professional policing practice. The completion time for this route is 3 years, with both on and off-the-job learning however, rest assured you earn while you learn. On successful completion of the programme & probation period you will achieve a fully funded degree.


Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP).

If you are a current degree holder in any subject, you can join and follow a work-based programme, supported by off-the-job learning.  The completion time for this route is two years, and the learning you have undergone is recognised in a graduate diploma in professional policing practice upon completion of your probation. 


Degree in Professional Policing (DiPP) 

If you want to study first, you can do a three-year degree in professional policing at your own expense. The degree in professional policing is an academic knowledge-based degree, based on the national curriculum for the police constable role. If you wish to use the degree as your entry route to the police service, you must apply to join a police force within five years of your graduation. Successful achievement of the degree does not guarantee recruitment as a probationary police constable, and you will face a shorter on-the-job training programme after a successful application.


More info on entry routes >>




Your age does not determine whether you will make a great Police Officer, we happily accept applications from individuals between 17-57 years of age. 

Please note – if aged 17 years old you must still hold a full manual driving license upon application and will not be eligible for appointment until your 18th birthday)


Academic qualifications

Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA)

If you join us on the PCDA route your study will be funded and upon successful completion of this and your probationary period of three years you will gain a BSc (Hons) Degree in Professional Policing Practice.

To be eligible for this route you will have:

  • Level 2 qualifications in both English and Math’s for example a GCSE or iGCSE at grade C (4) or above, Functional Skills Level 2, Key Skills Level 2 (Communication and / or Literacy) and now Level 2 Adult Numeracy and Literacy. We’ve added some further information below confirming the qualifications that are accepted to ensure compliance with Apprenticeships Certificates England.


  • 2 X Level 3 qualifications in any subject(s) that equate to 64 UCAS points (or a full level 4 or 5 qualification) – these points could be from two A Levels grade C or above, or BTEC Diplomas MPP/MM or equivalent, these must be evidenced with valid certificates.

Please be aware that you cannot ‘double count’ qualifications in the same subject. If you have studied both an AS Level and A Level in a subject only the A Level will provide you with UCAS points. This also applies to other Level 3 qualifications in the same subject with only the highest qualification providing points.

If you have work related experience within any of the area listed below and qualifications that equate to 2 qualification at 32 – 64 points which could be made up of 2 A levels at level E or above, BTECH or equivalent you may still be eligible to apply.

  • Armed forces 
  • Current serving Special Constable 
  • Nursing / Care Sector
  • Social Work
  • Youth Work
  • Teaching 
  • Experience working in the justice and law enforcement sector
  • Police Staff – particularly PCSO, custody, public contact/demand hub/enquiry office roles, investigative roles
  • Criminal Justice sector/CPS/Courts
  • Border Force
  • Prison Service
  • Relevant local authority experience which has involved close and sustained working with police. 
  • Experience of emergency services – ambulance, fire
  • Experience of cyber/digital and financial fraud/crimes
  • Roles which have focused on promotion of equality of opportunity and inclusion (incl. Charity work)

Please note - you will need to attach copies of all relevant certificates to your application. We are unable to progress your application further without these.


Degree Holder Entry Route (DHEP)

If you join us via this route you will study for a funded graduate diploma in Professional Policing Practice and your probation period will be two years. To be eligible for this route you will have:

  • Achieved a Bachelor’s Degree or higher in any subject


No relevant qualification levels as above

If you have work related experience within any of the list below but do not have the relevant qualifications you may still be eligible to apply and we would encourage you to complete our eligibility form

  • Armed forces 
  • Current serving Special Constable 
  • Nursing / Care Sector
  • Social Work
  • Youth Work
  • Teaching 
  • Experience working in the justice and law enforcement sector
  • Police Staff – particularly PCSO, custody, public contact/demand hub/enquiry office roles, investigative roles
  • Criminal Justice sector/CPS/Courts
  • Border Force
  • Prison Service
  • Relevant local authority experience which has involved close and sustained working with police. 
  • Experience of emergency services – ambulance, fire
  • Experience of cyber/digital and financial fraud/crimes
  • Roles which have focused on promotion of equality of opportunity and inclusion (incl. Charity work)

Please note - you will need to attach copies or photos of all relevant certificates to your application. We are unable to progress your application further without these.


Nationality and Residency

Due to the vigilant vetting procedure of the recruitment process you will need to have lived in the UK continuously for the past three years and have no restrictions on your stay in the UK. 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.

In order to be eligible, you must be a British citizen or a citizen of a country that is a member of the European Economic Area, or Switzerland. Commonwealth citizens and foreign nationals who are resident in the UK and free from restrictions are also eligible to apply. After 30 June 2021, nationals of the EEA or Switzerland will also need to provide evidence that their stay is free from restrictions.


Cautions, convictions, financial position and vetting

Ideally, you should not have any criminal conviction or cautions record however, not all convictions will exclude you from joining us, we look at each case and progress accordingly, dependent on the age and nature of the offence.  In most cases we are able to determine suitability during the eligibility stage providing full disclosure is provided. 

Should you not disclose any cautions, investigations or criminal convictions that may be linked to you at an early stage, your application could be refused simply because you were not open and honest. There is a possibility that you would have been accepted if you were; so, if in doubt, please do tell us. 

Due to the nature of policing, it is essential that we conduct rigorous vetting checks on successful applicants before joining as a Police Constable. These checks will include personal details taken from you as well as from close family members and significant others. 

It’s also important that you are not under pressure from un-discharged debts or liabilities and that you can manage loans and debts sensibly.


Health & fitness

Being a police officer is both mentally and physically demanding therefore it is important all new recruits are fit, healthy and suitable for the post. This part of the process is managed by the force’s professionals within the Workplace Health Department. 

The Equality Act 2010 covers all police forces and if you have a disability, adjustments will be made if it is reasonable to do so. 

Every candidate receives a detailed individual medical assessment and we can accept candidates with many common health conditions, as long as they are under control. However, if you are not able to carry out the role safely without putting your own health at risk, without potential risks to members or the public or colleagues or you can’t meet some of the core requirements, you will not be found fit for the job.

The fitness test, also known as the bleep test, is a continuous series of shuttle runs between two lines, 15 metres apart. You will need to complete this as part of the pre-employment process. The time allowed to run the distance is indicated by an audible “bleep”, and the interval reduces over time, so that the runs have to become progressively faster. There is a standard national achievement level required of a minimum of four shuttles at level 5.4 to pass.


Tattoos & Piercings 

We live in a generation where tattoos are incredibly common and fashionable, however anyone who has a tattoo and / or piercing which could be reasonably interpreted as offensive to any religion or belief, or is in any way discriminatory, violent or intimidating, will not be accepted. In line with the College of Policing’s national guidance we will carefully consider the size, nature and prominence of visible tattoos and piercings to determine if they are acceptable.

If you have a tattoo(s) on your face or neck unfortunately you will not be eligible to apply. 

If you have a tattoo(s) on your arms, hands or any other visible places you will be required to submit photos with your application to allow us to ascertain if they are acceptable. 

Tattoos are unacceptable if they:

  • Undermine the dignity and authority of a police constable
  • Are not compatible with the values of Suffolk Constabulary
  • Could cause offence to members of the public or colleagues and/or invite provocation, careful consideration will be given to images of skulls.
  • Indicate unacceptable attitudes towards any gender, minority groups or any other section of the community
  • Indicate alignment with a particular group that could cause offence to members of the public or colleagues and/or are considered to be discriminatory, rude, lewd, crude, racist, sexist, sectarian, homophobic, violent or intimidating including all weapons for example guns, knives and swords.


Membership to political and radical organisations 

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 Interests

You must declare any other employment or business interest you intend to maintain so that this can be reviewed to ensure no conflict of interest with the police and your role as a Police Officer. 

This includes if you, or one of your close relatives, holds a license or permit relating to alcohol licensing, refreshment houses or betting and gaming or regulated places of entertainment in the force area.

Recruitment Process

Stage 1 – Eligibility 

Check your eligibility using our online eligibility form and if eligible you will receive an application pack via email within 48 working hours.


Stage 2 – Application 

Complete and return your full application form, ensure to include all documentation (educational certificates, tattoo pictures etc) and return to the Recruitment team where a formal paper sift will take place. We will endeavour to confirm receipt of your application within one week of receipt. 

Your application will be provided to Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) to complete an academic assessment against entry requirements. The purpose of this is to ensure that all applicants are academically suitable to study the Degree apprenticeship or Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice.


Stage 3 – College of Policing Online Assessment Centre 

If successful you will be invited to complete the national online assessment centre. This consists of three main elements: situational judgement, written exercise and interview. Full information will be provided prior to attending an assessment centre. 


Stage 4 – Final interview

If successful at the assessment centre, you will be invited to attend a final interview. Due to current government restrictions with COVID we are completing these via Microsoft Teams, however once restrictions have been lifted you will be invited to our Police Headquarters to complete your interview face to face. 


Stage 5 – Fitness test and re-employment checks 

Once successful in the final board interview comprehensive pre-employment checks will commence, these consist of:

  • Fitness test – this consists of a bleep test that requires you to run a 15-metre track in time with a series of bleeps. The required pass for this is level 5:4. If a candidate fails this on their first attempt they will be given another opportunity to complete it. Where a candidate is not able to pass the fitness test they will be withdrawn from the process.
  • Security vetting – comprehensive security vetting will be undertaken, this includes areas such as cautions & convictions, financial checks and criminal associations. 
  • Medical assessment – these are carried out at Capel St Mary and include a full medical examination and eyesight test. You will be required to be signed off as fit by the force medical advisor. 
  • Biometric vetting - includes providing your DNA and fingerprints.
  • References – you will be required to provide 3 years’ worth of appropriate referees (employment or educational)
  • Uniform fitting – you will be required to attend a uniform fitting in preparation of your confirmed start date. 


Following the introduction of the Police Education Qualification Framework (PEQF) our intakes will commence from January 2022. 

What is Positive Action?

What is Positive Action?

The College of Policing outline that Positive Action is not about giving some people more favourable treatment, it is about levelling the playing field to enable individuals to compete on equal terms. At Suffolk Constabulary we are looking for a talented workforce who can best serve the community it represents. In other words, we are looking for talented people from a diverse range of backgrounds. 

Positive Action is a range of measures and initiatives that aim to eliminate unlawful discrimination and promote equality of opportunity and that we treat all applications fairly and in accordance with current legislation.  It is lawful action to encourage those from under-represented groups to bring their expertise, experience and talent to our organisation. When applying to join Suffolk Constabulary, our selection processes are no different. 

Through the use of positive action, we do not seek to remove competition, rather allow everyone the same level of opportunity, with the final selection always made on the merit of the applicant. 

Having a positive action programme will have an impact on the public through improving organisational, team and personal performance.

In particular it will contribute to:

  • Building better relationships with communities, resulting in a more effective service
  • Delivering on the priorities established for the police service such as reducing crime and reducing bureaucracy
  • Creating a fair and equitable career pathway for members of under-represented groups
  • Supporting career progression of those who demonstrate the talent to reach the next step

The Equality’s Act protects people from being treated less favourably because they have a protected characteristic. Sections 158 and 159 set out the provisions under the act for use of Positive action.

Positive action applies to all protected characteristics in employment and these are:  

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • race
  • religion and belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • pregnancy and maternity

Suffolk Police use Positive Action to support individuals and/or groups who as a result of their protected characteristic/s suffer a disadvantage or have a need that through support can be reduced or overcome.

Positive action is entirely voluntary. There is no requirement for an employer to use either the general provisions or those relating to recruitment and promotion.

The force is keen to recruit people with a wide range of skills and experiences and an understanding of cultural issues. We have a number of support networks that are available to all officers, staff and volunteers, including:

  • Suffolk Ethnic Police Association (SEPA)
  • Suffolk Association of Women in Policing (SWAP)
  • Reach Out (Disability)
  • The Suffolk LGBT+ Police Network 

Suffolk Police are focused on attracting, recruiting and retaining talented people. We value equality, diversity and inclusivity and welcome applications from across our communities.

For further information or advice relating to positive action please contact Daniella Lord – Positive Action Recruitment Advisor: [email protected]