The role of a Detention Custody Officer (DCO) and how to apply

As a DCO you’ll be joining a team responsible for providing a safe and supportive environment for people being detained due to their immigration status. At both centres you’ll find an ever-changing population from a variety of backgrounds, all with different faiths, beliefs and cultural values.

Really make a difference to people’s lives

It can be an important and often stressful point in their lives, so you’ll be at the forefront of ensuring that the arrival process is as worry-free as possible and that they continue to access the support they need throughout their detention. This covers a range of on-site services we offer that you’ll help to supervise and promote, including healthcare, welfare, faith and cultural provisions, education and recreation activities.

The centres are open 24/7, meaning you will have to cover various shift patterns, including days, evenings, weekends, nights and bank holidays. You’ll always be supported by our exceptional team and all new Detention Custody Officers will receive a 9-week Initial Training Course, where you will also receive plenty of opportunity to shadow experienced staff to give you a real taste of life on the job.

We do offer part time and flexible working patterns although you must be able to attend the initial training course for a 9 week period.

Qualifications and application

What do you need to qualify for the role?

Our people come to us from a variety of backgrounds but what they do have in common is an ability to relate to people, natural communication skills, patience, and a commitment to making a difference to the lives of others.

As a Detention Custody Officer, you’ll need a good level of basic fitness, which is something that will be tested during the application process. Whilst English doesn’t need to be your first language - and in fact, additional languages are a huge bonus - we do test your English and Maths skills during the application process (to Level 2 Key Skills).

This role is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and all offers of employment are subject to security clearance checks and approval by the Home Office, which includes a 3-year checkable history plus vetting and referencing.


Please click on the apply button below to begin your application.

Occasionally we receive a large volume of applications for our roles and when that happens we sometimes bring the closing date forward, so please apply promptly to avoid disappointment.

We’re a Disability Confident employer and are committed to equal opportunities. If you have any additional queries, requirements or you need more time to apply, then please contact our recruitment team directly on 0345 010 4000. Disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for the job will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities at an interview.

Please apply for Yarl's Wood IRC or Gatwick IRC below:

Gatwick IRC

Hours – Full time, Part time and flexible hours available

Salary – £25,533.00 (40 hours full time equivalent)

Yarl's Wood IRC

Hours – Full time, Part time and flexible hours available

Salary – £19,842 per annum, rising to £24,116 after 3 years (42 hours full time equivalent)