Who can become a police officer?
In theory, anyone who is British, an EU/EEA national, or a Commonwealth Citizen, or a foreign national whose stay in the UK is unrestricted.
But there are other conditions too. At the moment the minimum age is eighteen. You must not have a criminal record, although minor offences committed when you were a juvenile don't necessarily rule you out. Police forces will accept applicants with glasses or contact lenses if your un-aided vision is reasonable, and you'll need to be mentally and physically fit and well. There are no height or official maximum age restrictions.
Don't I need formal educational qualifications such as GCSEs?
No. You'll need to have had a reasonable standard of education, but academic qualifications are no substitute for common sense, and recruiters don't want to miss out on a good candidate because he or she didn't do well in their school or college examinations. And when you come to think of it, there are very few academic courses or qualifications which will help you to develop the life-skills and experience you need for police work.
Is that all there is to it?
No. These are minimum requirements, and before investing large sums of money to pay you, train you, and kit you out, recruitment managers need to know much more about you. Policing methods in the twenty-first century call for today's new recruits to have a range of abilities which many former and existing police officers wouldn't recognise or understand. That's why there are a wide range of tests and assessments designed to make sure that only the most suitable people go through to training. Modern police recruit assessment is a very exact and rigorous process.