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Preparing to apply

We are looking for people with ambition who are committed to helping us make Cambridgeshire a safer place to live, work and visit.

Job application process

Before you start the application process, please take a moment to read the role profile of the job vacancy, as this will give you information of the job description, including;

  • the job title
  • tasks involved in the role
  • entry qualifications, skills and experience
  • personal qualities we’re looking for.

Application forms are different for staff, police officers and specials. For each application you submit, ensure the information is relevant to the role you’re applying for and double check it.

If you need help or support with completing an application form, please email

Skills and experience

Skills and experience relevant to the post you’re applying for is always a bonus. When recruiting new probationary police officers, we look for personal qualities rather than qualifications. We look for people who are at least 17 years old and have;

  • a full UK manual driving licence or provisional licence
  • competency in using technology such as mobiles, tablets and laptops
  • strong written and verbal communication skills.

Completing an application

When preparing to fill in an application form for any type of position with us, we advise you start in a word document so that you can;

  • save a copy of your application form before submitting
  • review your application before attending an interview
  • revisit your answers easily
  • check your spelling and grammar
  • ask others to review it for you.

You may find it helpful to complete your application in stages;

  • Personal qualities - look at the personal qualities required on the application and think about relevant work, social and personal experiences. Also try to focus on your own experiences and achievements rather than group successes. For example, use ‘I’ rather than ‘we’.
  • Competency and evidence – The stronger the evidence in this section, the higher the score, meaning you’re more likely to be invited for interview. Try to use specific examples because general comments about what you have done will not score well. We will want to know what part you played during a specific scenario rather than your opinion of what you would do.
  • Give yourself time - starting an application early gives you an advantage as you can allow yourself time to resolve any problems that arise. Avoid leaving it until the last minute. 

For more information on completing an application open A guide to the application form


Regardless of which role you are interested in for within BCH policing, including Regulars, Specials, PCSO, Staff, Agency, Volunteers, Cadet Leaders, Cadets, Interns, Apprentices and those working for us indirectly, like Contractors, everyone is required to go through a Police Vetting process and in some cases, an additional National Security Vetting process. These processes also continue at regular intervals throughout your time in policing.

Further in-depth information about vetting is provided by the College of Policing Professional standards (opens in a new window)

Why is it needed?

Vetting by its nature is intrusive into your personal life, the extent of the intrusiveness will depend upon your exact role within policing.  There are also different levels of Police Vetting [RV/MV] and/or National Security Vetting [CTC/SC/DV].  But vetting is about how we can include you in the workforce, and not about trying to exclude you, unless it’s necessary of course. 

If you have not lived in the UK all your life, you [and in some cases your associates-see 4 below] will need to have what is known as a Checkable History, this generally means that you/they must have been resident in the UK for at least the last 3 years.  In some cases this will need to be a longer period and in others it may be a shorter period. 

There are 4 main areas in Police Vetting;

1.           Your Criminality/Offending [if any] including allegations of criminality/offending.  This includes a Criminal Record check but also for example if you were arrested but released with No Further Action.  Also a variety of other disposals; Fixed Penalty Notice, Police Information Notice, Penalty Notice for Disorder, etc.  Having a criminal record per se, may not be a reason for us to refuse your vetting clearance. 

2.           Your personal finances.  This includes a Credit Reference check, particularly for County Court Judgements, Individual Voluntary Arrangement, Defaults, Arrears, Financial Association, etc.  For your own peace of mind, we suggest you obtain a copy of your Credit File from one of the 3 main Credit Reference Agencies in the UK, so you can understand your own personal financial position. 

3.           Your Social Media presence.  Facebook, Twitter, etc.   Is anything that might reasonably be considered as discriminatory, abusive, oppressive, harassing, bullying, victimising, offensive or otherwise incompatible with policing principles?  Or publish online or elsewhere, or offer for publication, any material that might undermine your own reputation or that of the policing profession or might run the risk of damaging public confidence in the police service.

4.           Your association to those involved in offending or past offending [if any] including allegations of criminality/offending.  By association we mean the people you live with, your family [parents, children, brothers/sisters, etc] and your friends/acquaintances.

The background checks that we conduct far exceed those conducted for the DBS [formally CRB].  We search many national and local information databases.  So it is essential that you are open, honest and transparent with us when completing the initial Recruitment Application form and also the Vetting Questionnaire form towards the end of the process.

Whilst this may all sound daunting, we look at each person and circumstances on an individual case by case basis, and each case on its own merits.  Indeed, on average 95% of applicants pass the BCH Police Vetting process. 

In the event that you do not initially pass our vetting process, there is an appeals process.  Whilst the success rate varies, on average about 30%-40% of appeals are successful.

The Vetting process is one part of the Pre-employment checks that are instigated by the HR department.  The actual vetting part by the BCH Vetting Unit on average takes about 1 month but it can take much longer.

During the recruitment process, usually towards the end of it, you will need to complete a Vetting Questionnaire Form.  It is a fairly lengthy questionnaire so take your time and allow sufficient time to complete it.  Please take it seriously and thoughtfully.  You may need to partly save it so you can find specific information and come back to it another time.   You must provide complete and accurate information in response to all vetting enquiries. If you fail to tell us about requested information, then this is likely to be regarded as evidence of unreliability and will be taken into account in assessing your suitability to hold vetting clearance.

The Vetting Questionnaire process will either be On-Line via a secure web link that will be sent to you by email, it will also need a Username and Password protection.   Or it may be via an interactive PDF that is sent by email.  So look out for emails in your Inbox and Spam.

To understand the expected process for various roles please see the Recruitment Process

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