Job last updated on 7 November 2022

Prison Officer

Ministry of Justice





Only on site

Prison Officer – HMP Downview

HMP Downview - Sutton Lane, Sutton SM2 5PD

Starting salary: £36,140 (for a 39-hour week inc 20% unsocial)

City/Town: Sutton

Region: South West

Vacancy type: Merit

This vacancy is open to female applicants only as an occupational requirement exception under Sch 9 of the Equality Act 2010. This post is not open to male applicants.

One career, many roles

As a prison officer, you’ll be part of a diverse team, making an impact, doing meaningful work in our prisons.

Find out more about this varied role and day-to-day life as a prison officer.

During the recruitment process you will be assessed on the behaviours, strengths and abilities you need to become an effective prison officer. These include:

communicating and influencing
managing a quality service
making effective decisions and caring
Your natural strengths are assessed to find out what motivates and energises you. We will also assess your numerical, written English and spoken English abilities.

How to apply

The online application begins with important details such as your National Insurance number and right to work in the UK.

You will then be invited to complete of the online test to see if you have the basic judgement and numerical skills expected of a prison officer.

Due to the number of positions currently available, this vacancy is only open for a short period of time and only individuals who perform highest at the online tests will be invited to our online assessment centre.

The online assessment centre

If you pass the online tests, we will invite you to an online assessment centre.

We test to see if you have the abilities, behaviours and strengths to be a prison officer.

You will be invited to provide a written response to three behaviour-based questions. We will explore your understanding of the prison officer role in a women’s prisons and why you are interested in the role.

Once you’ve successfully completed the online assessment centre and written responses and we’ve offered you a role, we will invite you to complete a medical and fitness test. This will cover an eyesight test, hearing test and basic health screening, including a blood pressure check.

Job details


To become a prison officer, you will need to:

be at least 18 years old
have the right to work in the UK
be reasonably fit and able to pass our fitness test
have good eyesight in both eyes (both with and without corrective lenses)

For safety reasons, everyone training to be a prison officer needs a suitable standard of hearing (without the use of hearing aids).

To work in a high security prison (category A) you must have been a resident in the UK for the last three years.

Nationality requirements
This job is broadly open to the following groups:

UK nationals
nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
nationals of the Republic of Ireland
nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals

Visa Sponsorship

Please note we are unable to sponsor any individuals via the Skilled Worker Sponsorship / Tier 2 (General) work visa.

Successful applicants must ensure they have and maintain the legal right to live and work in the Civil Service and in the United Kingdom.


The initial training is 37 hours a week. After training, you can choose to work 37, 39 or 41 hours a week. Your annual salary will reflect your weekly hours:

37 hours a week = £34,114 a year

39 hours a week = £36,140 a year

41 hours a week = £38,165 a year

All salary figures quoted include any additional allowances.

Job offers: merit vacancy

This is a merit job vacancy. If you are successful at the online assessment centre, you will be added to a merit list based on your score.

When all applicants have completed the assessment centre, the prison will make job offers to individuals with the highest scores first when positions become available.

You can stay on the merit list for 12 months. After this, you’ll need to apply again.

Your successful pass from the online assessment centre will be valid for 12 months if you want to apply for vacancies at other prisons.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of Civil Servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles. If you feel the recruitment process has breached the recruitment principles, you can raise a formal complaint in the following order:

Shared Services Connected Ltd: call 0845 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am - 6pm) or email
Ministry of Justice Resourcing
The Civil Service Commission.
We encourage applications from people from all backgrounds and aim to have a workforce that represents the wider society we serve. We pride ourselves on being an employer of choice. We champion diversity, inclusion and wellbeing and aim to create a workplace where everyone feels valued and a sense of belonging.

Disability support

As a Disability Confident employer, the Ministry of Justice is committed to providing everyone with the opportunity to demonstrate their skills, talent and abilities, by making adjustments throughout all elements of the recruitment process and in the workplace. You will be able to request reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process within the application form. We can offer reasonable adjustments to help with the online tests and online assessment centre.

If you require any assistance, please call 0345 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am-6pm) or email