Have you got what it takes to join us?

You’ll need to be confident, disciplined, self-motivated and capable of maintaining a good level of fitness. You’ll also need to be an excellent communicator and team player, being prepared to work closely with colleagues for long periods of time.

Entry requirements for Authorised Firearms Officers


You must be 18 years of age or over at the time of applying. There is no upper age limit for applying to join the MDP.

You must hold a full UK manual car driving licence with no more than six penalty points at the point of application. You will be required to provide a copy of your photo card licence with any application, which should be in date and reflect your current home address as this is a legal requirement. Expired licences or those which have not been updated can not be accepted and will lead to rejection.

All applicants, excluding applicants from Northern Ireland, must provide a summary of their driving record. To obtain this visit the Your driving licence information page and enter the following information:

  • Driving Licence number
  • National Insurance number
  • Postcode

A) Select ‘View now’, then print (3 tabs): Your details; Vehicles you can drive and Penalties and Disqualification pages


B) Select ‘Share your licence information’. Select ‘View, Print or save your licence information’ – this will produce a licence summary which can be saved and submitted with your application form.

For applicants from Northern Ireland: send a copy of your paper counterpart licence with your application form.

If you’re joining as a new recruit, you must have a Level 2 qualification in English and Maths. Examples of this include:

  • GCSE Grade C/Level 4 or above
  • Functional Skills Level 2 in Numeracy/Literacy
  • Scottish Qualifications accepted: SCQF Level 5, Intermediate 2 at level 5 or Standard Grade (with credit) – achieved at the correct grading

Copies of relevant qualification certificates must be enclosed with the application form. Qualifications in other subjects are not accepted, irrespective of the level of qualification held.

For more information on the specific qualifications and evidence we can accept visit FAQs – Qualification requirements for MDP New Recruits.

There is currently no requirement for new entrants to have previously attained the Certificate of Knowledge in Policing.

To meet national security vetting requirements, you must have resided continuously in the UK for a minimum five-year period immediately prior to your application to join MDP (with any absence from the UK being no more than six months during that time).

For postings to the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) sites and any other sites where Developed Vetting (DV) clearance is required, you must have resided continuously in the UK for a minimum 10-year period immediately prior to your application to join MDP (with any absence from the UK being no more than six months during that time).

If you have resided abroad due to serving in the British Armed Forces or on UK Government service, you are considered to have been resident in the UK. This criterion is not flexible and is strictly applied.

Learn more about what the police and national vetting processes will involve.

You must be a sole British National and hold a British Passport. This means that if you are a foreign national or hold dual nationality rights with any other country, we will not be able to accept an application from you.

To be employed, all applicants will be required to achieve full security clearance without restrictions.

You should not have a criminal record – this includes convictions, cautions, penalty notices and court orders. If you have a conviction as an adult or juvenile it is unlikely that you will be suitable, but some minor offences and cautions may not exclude you. We will judge each case on its merits.

You must disclose all adult and juvenile convictions and cautions, regardless of their level of seriousness or how long ago they occurred. You must also disclose any criminal offences dealt with ‘out of court’ (including Penalty Notices). Harassment Warnings, Court Orders of a similar nature or Anti-Social Behaviour Orders must be disclosed. Failure to disclose any relevant police matter will lead to rejection in most cases.

The following lists provide an indication of whether you may meet our criteria in relation to criminal offences:

TYPE A) Involvement in a very serious offence will always result in rejection:

  • Offences involving death or serious injury
  • Treason, espionage, kidnapping/abduction/torture
  • Very serious sexual offences
  • Firearms or explosives offences
  • Hate crime (offences involving discrimination)

TYPE B) Involvement in the following offences will almost certainly lead to rejection

  • Any offence (adult or juvenile) resulting in a prison sentence (served or suspended)
  • Serious assaults/offences involving unsolicited violence
  • Most sexual offences
  • Offences involving vulnerable persons
  • Most public order offences
  • Offences involving dishonesty, fraud or burglary etc.
  • Serious or repeated lower level drugs offences
  • Reckless/Dangerous driving (last 10 years)
  • Motoring offences involving drink or drugs (driving or ‘in charge’ of a motor vehicle)
  • Other serious motoring offences (e.g. failure to stop/disqualified driving/no insurance) and repeated minor traffic offences
  • Most convictions or cautions (for other than very minor offences) within the last 5 years
  • Recent or repeated drunkenness offences.

If you’re unsure whether you meet our criteria, please contact mdp-recruitmentenquiries@mod.gov.uk

We apply a tattoo and piercings policy, as part of the recruitment process. All tattoos are assessed individually.

You should not have tattoos which could be considered discriminatory, racist, sexist, are overly sexualised, sectarian, homophobic, violent, intimidating or offensive. Tattoos on the head; throat/neck, forward of the ear/jawline; and any on the face that are non-medical or not as a result of cosmetic surgery will result in automatic rejection.

You will be required to provide photographs of all (non- intimate) tattoos, with a visible measure for scale. A verifiable translation must accompany any tattoos containing non-English words, characters or representation and an explanation of the tattoos’ meaning or significance must also be provided.

Any tattoos which appear to be discriminatory, offensive or provocative will not be accepted. Facial piercings are not permitted because they are considered to undermine the dignity and authority of a police officer. There are also implications for an officer’s safety.

Flesh tunnels or ear plugs that leave a hole greater than 4mm, once removed, provide a significant health and safety risk and would therefore result in automatic rejection.

If you think you may not be eligible to apply to join us because of your tattoos or piercings, contact mdp-recruitmentenquiries@mod.gov.uk for advice. You must also let the Recruitment Team know if at any stage during the recruitment process you acquire any further tattoos, piercings or any other body art, or are considering doing so, as this may affect your suitability.

You must not be registered bankrupt with outstanding debts. If you have previously been registered bankrupt, at least 3 years must have passed from the date the debt was discharged and you must be able to evidence this. You must also not have outstanding County Court Judgments against you.

If you are subject to a current Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) or Debt Management Plans, you may apply but will be required to provide evidence that you are managing your debt and able to make repayments. This criterion applies for equivalencies in Scotland too.

You will need to be physically fit and you will be required to pass a Job-Related Fitness Test (JRFT) relevant to the role you are applying for. For all New Recruits this will the MDP Physical Employment Standards Job-Related Fitness Test (PES-JRFT). Find out what’s involved.

If you receive a conditional offer of employment or are placed into a pool of successful candidates, to whom it is intended a conditional offer will be made when a position arises, you will be required to complete a medical assessment.

Further information: Medical Standards.

The MDP and the police service as a whole has a policy of prohibiting any of its officers, or staff or volunteers from becoming members of the British National Party (BNP), Combat 18, the National Front or similar organisations.

If you have been unsuccessful in your application to join another Police Force you can still apply to join the MDP when a campaign is live, irrespective of when you were unsuccessful. You may also apply to the MDP even if you have an active application with another Force, but please ensure you keep the recruitment team updated should you decide that you do not wish to continue with the MDP process.

Whilst the MDP does not currently use the College of Policing Online Assessment model, we will accept candidates who have passed the assessment with another force, provided you can supply written evidence that the assessment was completed within the 12 months preceding your application.

You will still be required to undertake and pass a suitability interview once you have passed the initial eligibility stage. There will, however, be no need for you to complete a further competency interview and you will progress to the medical, fitness test and vetting stages.

Assessments completed with Forces who do not use the College of Policing process will not be honoured. You should be aware that we are currently reviewing our assessment process and this policy may change in future.

Are you eligible to apply?

Specific entry requirements for new entrants from other police forces:

To join us a new entrant from another police force, you must have completed your probation period (with a minimum of 2 years’ service) as a regular Constable with a UK Home Department Police Force or other UK policing organisation (i.e. British Transport Police, Civil Nuclear Constabulary, Ports, Police Service of Northern Ireland or Police Scotland).

If you have less than 4 years’ service, you will also be required to provide evidence that you have successfully completed your initial training, be that the diploma, degree apprenticeship or degree entry programmes etc. This will be requested if you pass the initial sift.

If you have left the police service (including service with the MDP):

  • no more than 3 years ago, you may also apply to join us.
  • more than three years ago, you can only be considered for employment as a New Recruit (including pay and conditions). This applies to all officers regardless of previous length of service.

Although we welcome applications from currently qualified AFOs, you do not need to be a currently qualified AFO to be eligible to apply. Full training will be provided.

We also welcome applications from officers with specialist policing skills, such as firearms instructional experience and marine and dog handling qualifications, should suitable future internal recruitment opportunities arise. Likewise, if you’re interested in those specialisms, but not yet qualified, upon completion of AFO training you will be able to apply to undertake respective training programmes (subject to availability).

Where applicable, upon recruitment and when in Force, we honour the following recognised promotion examination qualifications:

  • OSPRE Part One examination pass
  • Police Scotland (or legacy Scottish Force) promotion examination pass

Other police promotion examination qualifications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Accepted qualifications will be valid for one promotion process only, either Constable to Sergeant or Sergeant to Inspector, and will allow an officer to enter our respective processes at the suitability and competency-based selection stage.

Promotion examination qualifications are valid for three years from the date upon which they were acquired; this is the date stipulated on the qualification certificate supplied by the awarding body, irrespective of previous guarantees from other Forces (e.g. examination qualifications with no expiry date).

Recognised qualifications acquired prior to 1 April 2016 will be treated as though the officer acquired the qualification on 1 April 2016 and will cease to be valid on 31 March 2019. There is no limit upon how many times an officer may enter for promotion until the validity of their qualification lapses.


Under normal circumstances no member of the MDP is permitted to remain, or become, a member of any Trade Union or similar association or society other than an association formed within the MDP, with rules approved by or on behalf of the Defence Council. However, if you are already a member of a Trade Union, or similar association or society, you may exceptionally, with the consent of the Chief Constable, continue to be a member of that organisation in order to receive any benefits to which you are entitled.

The recognised body within the MDP, that has collective bargaining rights, is the Defence Police Federation (DPF). Further details on membership can be obtained from the DPF website.

Individuals who have reserve responsibilities are not prevented from applying to join us. However, once serving, there are a number of posts where it has not been deemed appropriate to have reserve responsibilities due to the nature of the role. These include the Special Escort Group, Operational Support Unit, Tactical Firearms Unit and Nuclear Guard Force. Officers in the Force who have reserve responsibilities are therefore not eligible to apply for posts within these specialisms.

If you are a serving Special or PCSO you should apply through our new recruit process: your application will be treated the same as all other new recruit applicants. There are no additional payments available for previous Special and PCSO experience.

All applications are considered on their individual merits. If you have previously served in a UK police force (within the last five years) but did not complete your probationary period, you must submit a full account of your reasons for this with your application. The same applies for any probationary officer currently serving in another force. You must demonstrate ‘exceptional and compelling reasons’ for your application to be allowed to proceed via the New Recruit process.

If any NEOF previously holding the substantive rank of Sergeant or Inspector opts to join MDP at a lower rank, they will be afforded a three-year period, commencing on their start-date in Force, to apply for a post at their previous substantive rank without having to undertake a promotion board. However, they will be required to apply and interview through fair and open competition. Once the three years has expired and the officer has been unable to secure a role at their previous rank, they will then be required to undertake the MDP promotion process. Officers who are subsequently promoted to a higher rank will be paid the minimum spine for that rank, irrespective of the time spent at that rank in a previous period of service.