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Police Officer Recruitment - Frequently Asked Questions

The following are frequently asked questions asked by individuals considering a career as a police officer.

These questions are designed to help you make an informed decision when considering joining the Police Service as a police officer.

What is the recruitment process?

Applicants are required to pass a rigorous recruitment process consisting of:

  • Application form /paper sift
  • Competency based interview
  • Police SEARCH Assessment Centre
  • Fitness Test
  • Substance Misuse Testing
  • Security/Vetting Checks including biometric vetting checks
  • Medical
  • Reference checks

What is assessed at paper sift and interview?

The application assesses an applicant’s eligibility to apply to become a police officer. Individuals are also assessed against the general competencies of a police constable at the application and interview stage. Competencies are related to the Skills for Justice Police Professional Framework (PPF).

What does the Assessment Centre look like?

The assessment centre is made up of four parts

  • An interactive exercise
  • An interview
  • A written exercise
  • Verbal/numerical logical reasoning tests

Communication and behaviour is also assessed and marked throughout the whole of the assessment centre.

Applicants receive a welcome pack in advance of the assessment centre. The welcome pack should be read thoroughly prior to the day.

What does the fitness test consist of?

Candidates are required to complete a 15m multi-stage shuttle run (bleep test) to level 5.4 (3 minutes and 40 secs) and an upper body strength test, averaging a push of 34kg and a pull of 35kg. 

The bleep test is completed first, including a warm up to level 3 (1 min 30 secs), followed by stretching. 

Once the bleep test is passed, the push/pull is completed - 3 warm up pushes, followed by 5 maximum effort pushes.  An average score is then taken.  This process is repeated with the pull test.

All three elements of the test must be passed on the same day.

Candidates are entitled to three attempts to pass the tests, after an agreed time period for training and improvement, depending upon level of fitness/strength.  This will be agreed by the candidate and the trainer.  If a candidate fails at the third attempt they are rejected from the recruitment process.

Tips for training:-

Cardiovascular: 3 x sessions/week

  • Steady running – warm up 5 mins, then 15 mins – 20 mins.  (NB. 10k/hr is the speed of running at level 5).  Cool down.You may need to gradually increase your speed or time – do one or the other, not both at the same time.
  • Interval training – warm up 5 mins, then 30 seconds sprint (hard) + 30 seconds walk (easy) x 10.  Cool down.

Strength: 3 sessions/week – with one rest day in between

  • Warm up 5 mins.
  • 3 sets of 5-7 reps – heavy weight (NB. We are asking you to perform 5 maximum effort reps, therefore training to 12-15 reps will not increase your strength for this test).
  • Chest press or weighted press ups
  • Seated/standing row (not rowing machine) or bent over row
  • Chin ups/assisted chin ups or lateral pulldowns
  • Shoulder press
  • Upright row

Please contact Zoe Furlong by email (zoe.furlong@northants.pnn.police.uk) for further information.

What does the medical entail?

The medical standards for police recruitment have been set by the Home Office and are used as guidance by Occupational Health when assessing an individual from a health perspective. Applicants are assessed in terms of ability based on the role, functions and activities of an operational constable and their fitness to work. Advice is also given on potential accommodations for disability; each case is considered individually.

The medical will consist of the following:

  • An assessment by the nurse of your completed medical history questionnaire
  • The nurse taking a history of any health conditions you have disclosed
  • Height and weight measurements 
  • Body Mass Index is calculated  
  • Blood pressure and pulse will be recorded
  • A urine test to check for undiagnosed diabetes and other possible health conditions, but this is not a drug test. 
  • A hearing test sitting in a small booth
  • A breathing test. Smoking should be avoided for at least 2 hours before your appointment as this may affect some of the results.

It is a good idea to arrive 10 minutes before your appointment time as paperwork needs to be completed.

I wear glasses. Am I still eligible to apply? 

The current eyesight standards are summarised in the attached document, and also on the back of the eyesight form. Please discuss your eyesight with the optician who does your test and ask if it meets the standards.

What is the minimal residency criterion?

Applicants are required to meet a minimum residency criteria of 3 years within the UK.

What training will i receive? 

Standard police officer training as mandated by the College of Policing, includes an induction, law and operational modules with an initial classroom period (17 weeks), a ten week period with an experienced tutor constable, followed by ongoing work based assessment in order to achieve the Level 3, Diploma in Policing.

Will I be expected to work nights and or weekends? 

Yes, where the demand requires it, shift patterns include a number of night shifts and weekend working.

Will I have to deal with confrontation? 

Yes. You will receive training to enable you to deal with confrontation effectively. Police officers are regularly faced with differing levels of confrontation and it is an area in which you would need to demonstrate your ability before you are allowed to go out on independent patrol.

What does the shift pattern look like? 

Within the probationary period student officers spend the majority of their time either in the class room or on one of our Local Response teams. The Local Response shift pattern includes a mixture of day, evening, night and weekend working.

Where will I be based? 

Whilst the Force will always try to accommodate individuals preferences when deciding on postings, officers can be posted anywhere within the county.  The chief constable reserves the right to post an officer anywhere within the county boundaries.

I am involved in politics. Is this ok? 

Police Regulations state that officers should not take an active part in politics. As such you would be required to cease this role upon appointment.

I own my own business and would like to carry on after appointment. Is this possible?

Business interests should not conflict with the work of the police and should not adversely affect the reputation of the individual, the Force and / or the Police Service. If you have a business interest and intend to continue with it if you are appointed, please contact MFSS Resourcing prior to completing an application, as you may be ineligible.

I have an application in with another Force, can I still apply? 

Applicants are unable to apply to two different Forces at the same time, where both Forces undertake the National SEARCH Recruitment Process.

I have previously applied for the role of police officer and failed the process. Can I apply? 

Previous applicants can re-apply six months after receiving the rejection letter from a Force. However, where an applicant fails under Equality and Diversity, they must wait at least twelve months before re-applying.

What roles will I perform whilst within my probationary period?

Whilst student officers spend the majority of their time on a Local Response Team, they also undertake a number of attachments to other areas of the organisation. These include:

  • 3 Weeks - Prisoner Investigation Unit
  • 3 Weeks - Crime Investigation Department
  • 2 Weeks - Safeguarding – Children
  • 2 Weeks - Safeguarding – Adults
  • 1 Week - Force Control Room
  • 1 Week - Intelligence

How long is the probationary period?

Student officers are on probation for the first two years of their service (pro rata). During this time, they are required to demonstrate satisfactory performance across a range of competencies in order to be confirmed in their appointment.

 

 

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