Am I eligible to join?


You must be aged at least 18 when submitting an application.

You must be a British citizen, an EC/EEA national, a Commonwealth citizen or a foreign national with no restrictions on your stay in the United Kingdom. You will be required to provide proof at any Assessment Centre that you have no restrictions on your stay in the UK and when assessing an applicant’s eligibility under the nationality rules, the force will carry out a check either against a full passport or national identity card or, where this is not available, a Home Office document confirming the individual has the required nationality and immigration status for the post.

Irrespective of nationality, applicants must have been a resident in the UK for three years prior to submitting the application form and the calculation of the three year period of time refers to the period immediately before an application is made, and not any other 3 year period, or any other accumulation of time spent in the UK. 

Foreign nationality is not an automatic bar to recruitment or to granting security vetting clearance (which is a necessary part of the recruitment process).  However, if individuals cannot be vetted in line with the requirements of the National Vetting Policy, they cannot be granted vetting clearance, as the risk cannot be adequately assessed.

Essentially we will need to be able to carry out equitable security checks on you and your family members but in some cases due to disproportionate costs or difficulties in obtaining the necessary information from various countries of your origin or residency we may not be able to satisfactorily carry out these checks.  In such cases the recruitment process cannot continue and it will be necessary for the force to reject your application.  

In accordance with the Home Office policy and our security vetting procedures, applicants must have been resident in the United Kingdom for 3 years or more prior to submitting an application, to allow sufficient background enquiries to be carried out.

Applicants must be in good health, of sound constitution and able to both physically and mentally perform the duties of a Special Constable once appointed. Prior to appointment applicants are required to complete a medical history questionnaire and undertake a medical examination and physical fitness test. All applicants will have their eyesight examined at the medical examination stage. Failure to meet the standards means you cannot be appointed. Further information can be found on the College of Policing website

As part of the recruitment process you will need to undergo an eye test. New recruits must have at least 6/12 vision in the right or left eye, or at least 6/6 vision in both eyes. Those who wear glasses or contact lenses, should wear correction where necessary to achieve 6/6 in both eyes. For further information please refer to the eligibility criteria.

Severe colour vision deficiencies (monochromats) are not acceptable. Mild anomalous trichromats are acceptable. Severe anomalous dichromats or trichromats are also acceptable but you will need to be aware of the deficiency and make appropriate adjustments. Eye surgery - Radial Keratotomy, Arcuate Keratotomy or corneal grafts are not acceptable.

Other forms of refractive surgery such as LASIK, LASEK, PRK, ICRS, epiflap are all acceptable provided that six weeks have elapsed since surgery, there are no residual side effects and the other eyesight standards are met.

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

Tattoos are not a bar to appointment. However some tattoos could potentially offend members of the public or colleagues or could discredit the police service. It depends on their size, nature and location, and sometimes on the extent. Candidates applying for the Special Constabulary should note that Dorset Police: 

Will require you to make a declaration at the time of application. You will need to send in two digital pictures of each tattoo. One distance photograph clearly showing where on the above body area the tattoo is located and a second close up photograph that we can use to assess this against our standards.

Special Constables are in a privileged position with regard to access to information and could be considered potentially vulnerable to corruption. Applicants should not therefore be under pressure from un-discharged debts or liabilities and should be able to manage loans and debts sensibly.

For further information regarding eligibility please contact us by emailing

Positive Action

The Equality Act 2010 allows for the use of ‘positive action’ in a number of specific circumstances. Positive action can be taken to encourage people from particular groups to take advantage of opportunities for work or training. This can be done when under representation of particular groups has been identified in the previous year. This is clearly the case in the police service both nationally and locally. Dorset Police is committed to ensuring that it has a workforce that is representative of the community it serves. Positive action is not positive discrimination which generally means employing someone because of their particular group/protected characteristic in spite of whether they have the right skills or qualifications. Positive discrimination is unlawful.

If you are considering applying to be a Special and you are from a currently under represented group then please get in touch to find out more about positive action at