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:
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...
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.