Joining the police force involves a competitive application process. This article introduces the stages involved in police recruitment, giving advice along the way.
The initial application form
Your application to join the police will be to a specific force area. Police forces may recruit at different times depending on their needs, and they usually receive a high volume of applications. There is often a very short window to submit your application. Contact the personnel department of the relevant force to find out when you can get an application form, and when they may be accepting new applications.
It is a good idea to prepare for your application in advance. As well as basic contact details and employment history, you will need to answer questions to demonstrate your competence in various skills required of a police constable. These include communication skills, team work, and race and diversity awareness. You should think of examples from your own experience that best demonstrate these.
The assessment centre
The next stage in becoming a police officer is an assessment centre. You will be invited to attend for Maths and English tests, interview and role-play scenarios.
You do not necessarily need good qualifications to become a police officer, but you need to demonstrate competency in Mathematics and written English. If you have not used these skills since school, it may be an idea to brush up with some practice maths and written questions.
The interview will be very structured, with questions probing for evidence of competencies required in police work, such as problem solving ability and resilience. Think of examples you can use in advance, so that they are easily remembered in the stress of an interview situation. Be specific, talking about what you did, and what the outcome was.
For the role-play scenarios, you will be given a small amount of written information before you enter a room containing actors. You will be given a role, and you must talk to the actors and ask questions to elicit further information. The process may involve a confrontational situation, or attempting to resolve a problem. There will be a number of scenarios in quick succession.
Medical and fitness tests
Being a police officer requires you to be fit and healthy. You must pass a medical examination to be accepted. The police fitness test assesses your endurance fitness - usually by a 'bleep' test, and your dynamic strength - testing your pushing and pulling strength.
The tests have been adjusted to ensure female that applicants are not at a disadvantage. They require a basic level of fitness in order to pass, but a much lower level of fitness is required than in army fitness tests.