Great Britain

Police Scotland jobs: how to apply as a voluntary special constable in Edinburgh and further afield

Have you always dreamed of joining the police? Then this is the perfect opportunity for you.

Police in Edinburgh are currently looking for special constables. This is everything you need to know about the job - and how to apply.

What is a Special Constable?

The Special Constabulary is a part time, volunteer body that consists of voluntary officers who have the same powers to that of police officers. You’ll be working alongside police officers in your spare time, patrolling the streets, preventing crime and interacting with people from all over the community. 

In the frequently asked questions PDF from Police Scotland, they explain the duties expected from a Special Constable.

“You will be deployed with regular officers,” the FAQ reads.

“So you could literally be involved in anything at all from patrolling the streets, attending a breach of the peace, attending a community council meeting, providing support to a victim of crime, attending football matches, giving the evidence in court or even providing support at national sporting and cultural events.”

The selection process

There are a variety of elements to the selection process, with Police Scotland saying that they will only recruit people who demonstrate “the highest standards of professional conduct, honesty and integrity”.

These are some of the elements of the selection process that you’ll need to be prepared for:

- The Standard Entrance Test, which is a test made up of three papers which covers language, numbers and information handling

- Fitness Assessment which required you to undertake a Multi Stage Fitness Test which measures cardiovascular fitness

- The interview - if you pass the entrance test and the fitness assessment, you’ll be invited to attend a competency based panel interview with two members of the local recruiting team. The questions will cover areas like team work, job knowledge, respect for diversity and personal awareness

Police Scotland says, “The provisional offer of appointment is subject to the following final formal stages of the selection process being full satisfied:

- Being passed as fit at the force medical, which includes BMI and eyesight standards

- Satisfactory final employer reference being received

- All vetting checks being approved 

- Substance misuse results being clear

- No new matter subsequently arising that throws doubt on the suitability of the candidate to undertake the role of a Special Constable

What hours will I work, and is it paid?

Special Constables are volunteer positions, which means that you won’t be paid a salary for your work in the role - but you will receive a comprehensive training programme and, Police Scotland states, “unique and challenging life experiences”. 

Your expenses will be paid for, so you won’t be paying out of your own pocket for the role - the recruiting team will be able to give you more information on what expenses you’re entitled to. You will also be able to choose the days, shifts and the number of hours that you can work - Police Scotland says it’s all about “what fits in with your other personal commitments”. 

They recommend that you work a minimum of four hours a week, or eight hours per fortnight to keep your knowledge and skills up to date, but, ultimately, it’s up to you.

There is a nationally agreed minimum requirement for you to work 96 hours per year.

Who is eligible to apply?

These are the eligibility criteria set out by Police Scotland:

- You must be 18 years of age to be appointed as a Special Constable, but you can apply at 17.5 years of age - there is no upper age limit

- You must be physically and mentally able to undertake police duties, with a BMI index between 18 and 30

- You must meet the mandatory national eyesight standard

- You should have a good, all round education, good character, a strong community focus and the ability to keep a clear head in even the most challenging times

Will anything exclude me from applying?

For those looking to apply to be a Special Constable, these are some of the personal specifications you’ll need to meet, aside from passing the various tests:

- You are allowed to have tattoos, but you must disclose them on your application form. Face tattoos are unacceptable, unless they are for religious or medical reasons. Tattoos, visible or not, should not be offensive, violent, rude, or undermine the dignity and authority of the office of constable

- You must not have an occupation or business interest which would be considered to be a conflict of interest with the role of a Special Constable

- They will only accept applications from British citizens, EU/EEA nationals, Commonwealth citizens and foreign nationals with indefinite leave to remain in the UK 

- Police Scotland are Disability Confident Committed to the recruitment and selection of people with disabilities. They guarantee an interview to any applicant who has a disability as defined under the Equality Act 2010 who meets the essential criteria for the role 

How to apply

If this sounds like something you’d like to get involved with, then this is how you can apply.

You’ll need to download and complete an application form and an equality and diversity monitoring form as well. You can find these forms on the Police Scotland website here.

The application form asks all the usual personal details you’d expect, like your name, date of birth, National Insurance number, home address and phone number, and then it moves on to ask various questions.

Those questions include: 

- Your motivations to be a Special Constable

- What tasks you think you’ll be undertaking

- What impact being a Special Constable might have on your life

- What preparations you’ve undertaken before applying, if any

- What experiences you’ve had that would bring something relevant to the role, like any skills, hobbies or interests you have

The application form then goes on to ask about your employment history with two referees to provide a reference for you. It then goes on to ask if you have any experience in the HM Forces, the police or any previous applications to the police force.

Section four is called ‘more about you’ and asks about your nationality and any tattoos you have.

The application form ends with a declaration that you must sign that says all the statements you’ve made in the application form is true and that no relevant information has been withheld. 

Once you’ve completed the two forms, you can either email them to:

- [email protected] for those residing in West or East Command (except Fife), or outwith Scotland

- [email protected] for those in North Command or Fife Division

Alternatively, you can send a physical copy to:

Police Scotland Recruitment

Force Training Recruitment Centre

Eaglesham Road

East Kilbridge

G75 8GR

If you require more information or need assistance with your application, then email the above address or call 01355 566350. 

To find out more information about the application and selection process, you can visit the Police Scotland website here.