Police Officer Support: Part 1 (Police Federation)
"Anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you."
- Misty Copeland
This blog series provides headline guidance on the support associations and services in the UK police service once you have joined. Many of these provide information and guidance for those wanting to join the police as an officer. Support organisations and networks range from the official Police Federation in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (effectively the 'trade union' of serving officers), support groups based around 'protected characteristics' (a subject useful to know for your application / interview!), to other activity-based, informal and in-house support groups. All aim to provide support, activities, and/or represent the views of officers in some way.
You can find out more in your police force once successful at your interview, application or other recruitment assessments which the Police Success guide supports you with. But let's start in this first with the most prominent...
“The key to success is to start before you are ready.”
- Marie Forleo
In the previous blog (PART ONE), I summarised the first three steps to joining the police. Well done for reaching this far in your quest to become a police officer! In this post I will outline what the final five obstacles look like and how to navigate them, with particular emphasis on the competitive police interview recruitment process.
8 Steps to Joining the Police (Part One)
“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
In the Police Success comprehensive guide to becoming a UK police officer, I break down the journey into 8 steps, providing guidance on how to pass each in detail. Joining the police will be a challenge, both mentally and physically, but now is a fantastic time to join as most forces are doubling their recruitment intakes. However, it remains a highly competitive process, so recognising the journey ahead will help. Here are the broad steps you will take, which as shown in the image I group into three simple themes of aptitude, physical and administrative:
Are Police the Hammer or the Anvil?
Should police always act on the letter of the Law? Maybe there is a greater purpose that should determine our response during civil disobedience like the recent 'Black Lives Matter' protests/riots (they have been described as both). During times of change, civil unrest is common but is it the job of the Police to take a side? Now some dust has settled and emotions aren't running so high, let’s consider that in this post which might spark some thoughts to those applying for the challenging, yet rewarding job of Police Constable...
How to Nail Police Recruitment Briefing Exercises
“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.”
- Robert Louis Stevenson
To join the police, you may be required to deliver a formal briefing or presentation as part of the competitive police recruitment process. Particularly now in light of the changes to national online assessment centres I recently described, which involve online briefing exercises and written exercises. A common question asked by those wanting to join the police is, 'How can I pass the briefing exercises in the assessment centre?' This blog offers food for thought on the topic of briefings and how you might approach this type of assessment exercise.
Police officers need to be effective communicators, so a short presentation or briefing as part of joining the police provides assessors with insights of your communication skills and values. This step usually comes after successful completion of your police application form. For many people, the very thought or prospect of formally briefing or ‘presenting’ to strangers fills them with dread, especially if not done this before.
What is the New Online Assessment Centre for Police Recruitment?
"You cannot discover new oceans without the courage to lose sight of the shore."
- Andre Gide
I highlighted in early April this COVID19 crisis would spark a revolution in police recruitment processes to continue Uplift, with 'Virtual Assessment Centres' in England & Wales forces coming to replace 'SEARCH' and 'DAY ONE'. This has now quickly become reality, with the College of Policing (COP) recently announcing the new online assessment process as part of measures to support police recruitment. But what is this new virtual assessment centre for recruiting officers?
As an overview, the police online assessment centre will last throughout 2020 and entail the following three elements, each of which this blog provides guidance on, absolutely free:
Step 1: Situational Judgement Test (SJT)
Step 2: Competency-Based Video Interview
Step 3: Briefing Exercise & Written Exercise
What Experience do you Need to Join the Police?
“Experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer."
- Randy Bausch
The ongoing police recruitment drive aims to boost UK police numbers by 20,000 officers. To achieve this means recruiting an estimated 45,000 police recruits over the next few years accounting for natural turnover. So if policing is a career that appeals to you or someone you know, there has probably never been a better time to apply and a greater chance of being accepted.
In the UK police recruitment process, you will be required to provide details about your life and work experiences in support of your application.
Has COVID-19 Killed UK Police Recruitment Uplift?
"Crises and deadlocks when they occur have at least this advantage, that they force us to think."
- Jawaharlal Nehru
In response to COVID-19, the College of Policing have now postponed police assessment centres. 20,000 new police officers are still required to meet the government’s recruitment target. This so-called 'Coronavirus', or more so the current response to mitigate the effects of the global pandemic, have unquestionably set back plans to recruit new cohorts of police officers.
'SEARCH' and 'Day One' recruit assessment centres are postponed. This will clearly delay the necessary uplift to the frontline of policing. However, it is in times of existential threat and national crises that innovation emerges. New ideas and previously unacceptable or unaffordable initiatives are often considered, supported and implemented...
Joining the Police: How are your Values?
“If you embody our purpose and values, join us and make a difference.”
Police Recruitment Advert
As the Police Service recruits 20,000 more police officers, opportunities to join are abound. There has never been a better time to join the police!
If you aspire to become a police officer, the recruitment process is challenging; not only for candidates but also individual police forces. In the UK, policing by consent means that the public expect police officers to demonstrate professional behaviour in their dealings with communities. Chief Constables are responsible for delivering effective and efficient policing, they need to ensure they select only those individuals whose personal values closely align with the values of the police service.
People behave according to their values. So before becoming a police officer, it’s not surprising that the joining process requires you to demonstrate and share insights about your personal values...
Police Application Forms: Evidence & Examples
“What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”
Having chosen to become a police officer, as part of the police recruitment process you will be expected to provide some supporting information about your life and work experiences. This will be assessed against the role and behaviours expected of police officers.
Police application forms contain set questions. Different police forces ask different questions on their recruiting forms, but all require specific information to assess against their policing competencies. For example, in England & Wales, evidence is often required to demonstrate behaviours such as Professionalism, Working with Others, Decision Making and Service Delivery. Whether your chosen force uses these or other behaviours of an effective police officer, it can be daunting to think about what evidence or examples you may have from your own experiences, then writing about it. The good news is that you almost certainly have what forces are looking for...
Food for Thought: Is Policing Right for You?
"Most of the time you're dealing with people who don't like you.”
Before embarking on a career as a police officer, you must answer this fundamental question: "Is policing right for me?" The question is so fundamental, it's even asked of you by most forces in the application process. Researching the role of a police officer is a good opportunity for a reality check, because it’s certainly not for everyone. Depending on what you read or who you speak to, you could be encouraged by the excitement, variety and noble challenge of the job. Or you might change your mind fairly quickly!
Your Personal Guide to Becoming a Police Officer
"The police are the public and the public are the police."
- Sir Robert Peel
Policing is a challenging yet rewarding career to which many people in the UK aspire. However, the police recruitment and assessment process is something many fail, as police forces demand only the best applicants to protect and serve the public.
Police forces in England and Wales are increasing officer numbers by 20,000 as part of 'Operation Uplift'; this will require recruiting 45,000 officers over the next few years. Police Scotland and Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) continue to regularly recruit and encourage people to become police officers. Note that the PSNI online application process opens 26 February! All have challenging, multi-stage recruitment processes. In this competitive process, only 1 in 10 applicants prevail through the myriad of police application, assessment tests and interviews. Most fail through lack of preparation for or knowledge of this police application process.
Steve Cooper is a former Royal Marine, Detective Inspector, and is a qualified coach/mentor. With extensive police experience, Steve also established Rank Success to help officers achieve police promotion.