Over the past 12 months a number of forces have been recruiting officers using an online police application process. This has enabled them to add further stages to the process before you get to complete the online application form provided by the College of Policing. The idea being that you can screen unsuitable candidates out before the application form stage. The problem for most candidates is that they don’t perceive this to be part of the recruitment ‘game’ which has rules that they need to play by.
As each recruitment window opened I applied for the positions in order to analyse the types of questions being asked (amazingly a Superintendent in charge of force recruitment suggested I do this when I asked him what his force recruitment process would involve).
I’ve found that most forces using online assessment will take you through the following stages – some forces such as Devon and Cornwall use highly bespoke tests where as others use what appears to be a national standard:
Realistic Job Preview Questionnaire
The purpose of this section is to give you a real view of what it is like to undertake the work of a Police Officer and decide whether or not it is right for you. You will be asked to give your open and honest responses to different situations. There is no right or wrong answer. At the end of the questionnaire, you will be given an overall rating of your suitability for the role of Police Officer based on your responses. You can then make a decision if you would like to continue with the application.
For most forces this isn’t a pass or fail stage
Behavioural Styles Questionnaire
This questionnaire invites you to review a number of statements and indicate which statement you completely agree with or completely disagree with on a sliding scale.
This is a pass or fail stage and tends to analyse predicted behaviour based on the National Competency Framework (sometimes also described as the Personal Qualities for a Police Constable).
Situational Judgement Test
You will be presented with a number of different situations that you might face as a Police Officer with a choice of different actions that might be taken. You will be asked to identify which action will result in an effective or counterproductive outcome.
This is a pass or fail stage – again the actions you state you will take are aligned to the National Competency Framework.
As a result of an analysis of each of these stages, I’ve developed an interpretation of the qualities forces are looking for in individuals in this first stage of the recruitment process. I’ve clustered these around the National Police Competency Framework, the intention being for you to start thinking about what sort of person you are in comparison to what forces are looking for prior to completing the tests.
It will also enable you to start thinking about sources of evidence that you can use on your application form when you get to that stage.
The below is a preview based on the first of the competencies – the full list (as well as more guidance to help you complete your application form) will be made available to you should you choose to enroll for the Bluelight Police Application Form Checking Service
I hope you find this useful in your preparation.
Serving the Public
Are you the sort of person who:
Is open to others viewpoints?
Can stay positive?
Maintains a belief in serving the public, focusing on what is important to them?
Can recognise the needs of others and put those before your own?
Can get others within communities / organisations involved?
Is comfortable speaking to groups of people?
Can explore the viewpoints of others even when you might not agree with them?
Through your belief in public service is prepared to go the extra mile even when it might not be your responsibility?
Can carry out instructions given to you by your supervision even when you might not agree with them
Can take responsibility for the initial management of a problem even if it’s not your direct responsibility