Typical assessment process for police candidates
The recruitment process for police officers in the UK varies across each of the four nations. In England, there are three main entry routes for the role of police constable: the two most common being the police constable degree apprenticeship (PCDA) and the degree-holder entry programme (DHEP).
The assessment process for each follows a very similar path laid out by the College of Policing, though there can be slight variations depending on the regional force you apply to. There is also an additional assessment process followed by the Metropolitan Police.
In all cases, you’ll be assessed against the Competency and Values Framework (CVF), which defines the key competencies, values and behaviours expected from anyone in the policing profession.
College of Policing assessment process
Founded in 2012, this independent professional body sets policing standards across England and Wales, and provides training and support for those employed in this sector. Its assessment process for new applicants is followed by all forces in England, albeit with small variations in some cases.
The typical process you can expect starts with an application to your chosen force, followed by a three-stage assessment. This consists of a situational judgement test, a competency based interview, and a written and briefing exercise.
If you have applied via the PCDA entry route, you may also be asked to sit a numerical and/or verbal reasoning test, depending on your past academic achievements.
This part of recruitment is traditionally conducted in a face-to-face capacity, and referred to as the SEARCH Assessment Centre, or Day One assessment. Owing to recent circumstances it has been moved online.
Once you’ve completed your online assessment, the force to which you’ve applied will contact you with regards to next steps.
Metropolitan Police assessment process
As the UK’s largest police force, the Metropolitan Police operates across every borough of London.
Those applying to the Met will go through the same online assessment outlined above, before moving on to a Day Two in-force assessment. This is split into two stages, which may or may not take place on the same day. You’ll be informed of your schedule in advance.
Stage one is an interview specific to the Metropolitan Police, and is made up of two role play exercises. These are designed to closely mirror the kind of situations you’d encounter as a serving member of the force.
You’ll be expected to demonstrate the key values and behaviours as outlined in the Competency and Values Framework.
Stage two covers the medical side of things, including tests of your hearing, vision and blood pressure, as well as fingerprint, DNA and substance misuse testing. You’ll also take part in a fitness assessment.
On successful completion of each assessment stage, a thorough background check will be conducted before any offer of employment is made.
Though these latter stages take a physical form of preparation, the online assessments require a different approach. Below you’ll find further details on the skills, aptitude and personality tests involved to help you better prepare.