Assessment and Interviews to Become a Prison Officer

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Assessment and Interviews to Become a Prison Officer

If you’ve made up your mind to become a prison officer, you are treading the right course to serve humanity and your country. Your decision will be rewarded with excellent job/pay conditions. Besides, your job will be secured. Luckily, the prison service provides equal employment opportunities to those who qualify. So, check the basic eligibility criteria before applying.

The application process will involve different assessments, both written and practical. Success in one stage would qualify you for another stage. The application process also forms part of the interviews for becoming a prison officer.

The assessment and interview process starts this way:

First, if you apply to become a prison officer in HM Prison Service, you must meet the following criteria or requirements.

Nationality: regardless of the post you are applying for, you must meet any of the following nationality criteria:

Ÿ  A United Kingdom national

Ÿ  A British protected individual

Ÿ  A commonwealth citizen

Ÿ  A national of the EEA (European Economic Area)

Ÿ  Non European Economic Area nationals belonging to the family of an EEA national, from a different member state (not a UK citizen), but has relocated to the United Kingdom on approval. (Please check other conditions that may apply).


For prison officer posts, a national security vetting level is necessary. Therefore, anyone applying for a prison officer job in the UK should have resided in the country for at least 3 years before applying. However, in certain situations, applicants who do not meet the 3 years’ residency requirement may be provided with the appropriate security clearance.


Immigration eligibility for becoming a UK prison officer requires that an applicant must be free from immigration control. The person must also have indefinite leave to stay-put in the United Kingdom.


Anyone applying for a prison job must not be less than 18 years at the time of application.



An applicant must be a discharged bankrupt.

Pre-Fitness/Pre-Employment Health Assessment

This is one of the most important aspects of assessment and interview for becoming a prison officer. A potential prison officer needs to pass the physical fitness and health tests. These tests are usually carried out on Recruitment Assessment Day (RAD).

Pre-Appointment Checks

The check would be centred on your health, nationality and identity. It includes thorough checks on the databases to verify your criminal record, and to confirm your identity. Therefore, you will be required to make your original birth certificate available. It could be your original birth certificate and/or a photograph (preferably your passport photograph).

In addition, applicants who are appointed will be subject to ISA registration check – Independent Safeguarding Authority check. Before now, all applicants will be subject to the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups provision (the 2006 Act). The essence of the additional checks is to ascertain intending prison officers’ suitability to work with vulnerable adults and children.

As mentioned earlier, the prison service allows equal employment opportunity. Therefore, there is an assessment and interview scheme for disabled individuals. This provision is made in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. So, you can apply for the job of a prison officer under this scheme, check the eligibility requirements before applying.