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The recruitment process

If you would like to pursue a career as a Detainee Custody officer you will go through the following recruitment and training journey.

The initial recruitment process, which includes application, online tests, telephone interview and assessment day will only take approximately 4 weeks. If successful you will be required to go through strict security and vetting checks which will allow you to work in this secure environment. The checks are conducted via the Home Office and can up to 6 weeks to provide the outcome of your application.

Once you have successfully obtained your security and vetting clearance you will then start your employment with Serco. During the first 9 weeks of your employment you will go through an Initial Training Course which will equip you with the knowledge and skills required for this role, before you go in to your operational position. 

The overall process normally takes approximately 18-20 weeks.

Four stage process

Fitness Testing and Assessment Day

The assessment day will usually take about 3 - 4 hours. During this time you will get a chance to meet the management team from the establishment and find out more about the IRC and the role of a Detainee Custody Officer. The assessments will include a competency based interview and a fitness test which will include a bleep and agility test.

There will also be time for you to complete your security and vetting forms which will be used to obtain your clearance.

Provisional Offer and Vetting

If you are successful following the assessments, one of our Talent Specialists will call you to make you an offer. If you verbally accept at this point, we will get a formal offer of employment to you. From here we will then conduct security clearance checks and approval by the Home Office, which includes a 3-year checkable history plus vetting and referencing.

If there are no immediate roles available, we will put you in to our talent pool until the next


The time it takes to complete your vetting varies depending on your work history and where you have lived. Whilst we are waiting for your clearance, one of the Talent Acquisition Specialists will be in touch to let you know next steps and be on hand to ask any questions you may have. We will also put you in touch with the local vetting contact who can further support you through the process.

Initial Training Centre

Detainee Custody Officer training takes 8 - 9 weeks and you will be offered the next place, subject to clearance. The training consists of both classroom learning and on-the job shadowing at the IRC you will be based at and at the end of the training you will take some tests to ensure you are competent enough to become an officer. During the ITC you will receive full pay and you’ll be required to have a 100% attendance record in order to pass.