Police rejoiners: Guidance on changes to police regulations

Changes to re-entry

In order to provide more flexible re-entry to the service, regulatory changes remove the requirement that former officers must re-join within five years if they wish to retain their previous rank. Chief Officers can also decide that the skills and experience gained whilst outside of the service warrants consideration of rejoining at a different rank at which that officer last served.

A rejoiner is someone who is to be appointed as a member of a police force having previously and satisfactorily completed probation in the rank of constable prior to resigning or retiring from the service. A rejoiner must not be a member of a police force immediately before appointment. There is no automatic right to return and there must be a suitable vacancy to which a rejoiner can apply. Vacancies will have clear eligibility criteria and rejoiners will be assessed as to their suitability for the vacancy. If successfully appointed, rejoiners will be subject to a probationary period.


The guidance on changes to regulations governing rejoiners provides information for forces and those wishing to re-enter the service. The 10 Rejoiner Principles set minimum standards to guide recruitment and assessment of those rejoining the service. The principles aim to ensure that rejoiners are appointed in accordance with established best practice and are provided with the appropriate level of support and guidance to help them back into policing and provide confidence in their competence.  Rejoiners are subject to the same regulations as any other police officer.

These changes enable forces to advertise vacancies to a wider pool of potential applicants and attract those who previously served as police officers, regardless of their length of absence from policing or rank previously held. Chief Officers retain ultimate responsibility for who should be appointed, subject to suitability and the Rejoiner Principles outlined in this guidance.

For full information about the changes to police regulations regarding rejoiners, please download the new guidance.

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