What are the requirements to become a police officer in Jamaica?

Answered by Isheba Cornwall, Associate Writer, July 2018

Founded in 1716, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is the official police force of Jamaica, with their mission is ‘to serve, protect and reassure with courtesy, integrity and respect for the rights of all.’

If you want to join the tradition, move according to the oath, and be a part of the family of dedicated police officers, I would like to thank you so much for considering this noble service.

However, not everyone will be able to don the black peaked cap with the red striped trousers. It is of great importance that the people who serve will be fit for this duty. Thus, the Jamaica Constabulary Force has strict requirements to ensure that they find suitable candidates. Even if you are deemed eligible to serve, the application process is strong enough to filter only the best.

So, are you a highly motivated and disciplined person of integrity who is committed to working in the community? Great! This is what the JCF is looking for, alongside with these other factors, in eligible candidates:

Physical Factors

Candidates must be between 18 to 40 years old, but if you are over 30, you must be working with a military, educational, technical, medicine-related, financial, scientific or legal background. There is an exception for 17-year olds who fulfil the additional requirements.

Males must be no shorter than 5 feet 5 inches (~165 cm) and must be lighter than 135 pounds (~61 kg). While for females, they must not be shorter than 5 feet 3 inches (~160 cm) and lighter than 125 pounds (~57kg). However, the recruiting officer can ignore those requirements based on special circumstances and the candidate themselves.

Security Concerns

All candidates must be a Jamaican citizen and all candidates must be vetted and undergo background checks. The JCF will eliminate anyone with any criminal charges to ensure that the officers are not on the wrong side of the law. These checks will be done by the different departments of the JCF on the behalf of the Recruiting Office. More will be explained later.

Medical and Psychological Requirements

The JCF encourages all individuals to attempt the application process. However, they must be examined for the severity of their illnesses by a medical doctor from the Recruitment Office. You will not be required to take an external medical examination in the same way as applying for a new school, but there is a part of the application process where you must be assessed by a medical doctor. It should be advised that candidates must be physically and mentally fit because the job will require strenuous physical and mental activity.

Educational Requirements

A candidate must provide certified proof of qualifications when starting the process. You must have a minimum of 4 passes, grades ranging from I-III in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Examinations.

These passes must be inclusive of English and Mathematics or an approved mathematics-based alternative such as Principles of Accounts, Chemistry, or Physics. It should be noted that the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) regards Grade III a pass since 1998. Therefore, a Grade III before that year is not a valid pass.

If you do not have CSEC Examinations passes, don’t panic. The Recruiting Office will accept the same number of passes in the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary Level examinations, where passes are from Grades A-C, or in Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinations where passes are from Grades 4-5. Remember that the same pre-requisites apply to all examination bodies.

If you have any other qualifications that are similar to the examinations mentioned earlier, they are acceptable as long as they are approved by CXC or the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ). Notably, if they are done overseas, they must be accredited in Jamaica and you have the required accreditation from the UCJ. You can click here to find out more about accreditation. The JCF states that Jamaica School Certificate (JSC) examinations and other lower qualifications are not valid.

Diploma and certificate holders who already have the four required subject passes will have to do a short interview with the recruiting officer and then it will be decided if you can sit the exam.

How to Apply

Are you ready and eager to serve your country?

  • You will have to first do an online application. You can apply via this link

    After applying online and printing the form, you will need the following (original and photocopies):

  • Proof of Qualification

  • Four (4) Passport size photos (certified by a JP, Police inspector or higher rank)

  • Original Birth Certificate and Deed Poll (if applicable)

  • National Insurance Scheme (NIS) card

  • Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN) Card

  • Valid photo ID in the form of National ID, Driver’s Licence or Passport which you must be presented at all times during the recruiting process

  • Marriage Certificate (if applicable)

  • Divorce Absolute (if applicable)

  • Immunization Card

  • Discharge Certificate from previous Government Agencies (where applicable)

These are to be brought to the recruitment centre for verification and to put on to your file. There you will be told the date of your entrance exam.

The Application Process

  1. Entry Examinations

    After submitting the form, you will sit the five-part entry examination that has 200 marks. You need 60 per cent or 120 marks to pass and move on in the application process. You also need to have a 50 per cent or more in the spelling component to prevent automatic disqualification.

    The exam has a part in: Mathematics, Reading Comprehension, Spelling, Grammar, Word Usage
    Additionally, there will be a section of narrative writing where you will do an autobiography.

  2. Antecedent Investigations

    If successful, you will be processed for security concerns. That will involve interviews with your friends and references. They will check your school records, religion, work history, family history, associates, assets, liabilities, social groups or organization, internet misconduct, use of force against the police, gambling among other things.

    Also, if you are older than 25, you must be prepared to explain the time-gaps in unemployment.

  3. Panel Interview

    Candidates will undergo a panel interview with 3-4 Senior Officers from the JCF Human Resource Department. They will assess your oral communication skill, mental agility, general knowledge, appreciation of the role of the police in society.

    They can also ask for details on the application form and conduct further security checks.

  4. Physical Assessment

    You will be required to do a physical fitness examination that will feature skills like running, push-ups, etc. This is to ascertain the level of their physical fitness as it relates to coordination and general agility. Again, the passing grade is 60%.

  5. Further security checks

    Your biometric data, like fingerprints, will be sent for processing to the Transnational Crimes and Narcotics Division (TCND) Division and National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) for checks against local and international intelligence and criminal databases in order to prove that you have a clean sheet here and abroad.

  6. Medical Assessment

    You will then do a medical screening involving blood tests, blood pressure tests, pregnancy tests, drug test vision and hearing tests, urine analysis and x-rays.

  7. Psychological Assessment

    This evaluation will test for the measurement of psychological variables such as intelligence, aptitude, and personality traits. This will include an OMNI Inventory Test. You may have to be prepared for a polygraph to make sure that the person is mentally and morally fit for the job and to ensure that these people are dedicated to the code of conduct they will undertake.

After all of that, whew, you will finally be able to start training to become a police officer and join a batch of other candidates to serve this, our great nation, Jamaica!

See also: How to become a justice of the peace in Jamaica.

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