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Police Application Form

The competency based Police Application form was first introduced by the Home Office on 2002 as part of an overhaul of the police recruitment process. The police application form forms part of the overall assessment of your skills and abilities, and your suitability for the role of Police Officer, Special Constable and Police Community Support Officer. Individual forces are responsible for advertising their own vacancies, so to check if your local force is recruiting, you should refer to their website. 

The application form has been designed to screen candidates by assessing whether the applicant is over 18 years of age (16 for PCSO), whether they have any convictions, cautions or pending court cases, any debt and some medical conditions such as diabetes and epilepsy. The form also features four competency based questions, that test your suitability for the role by assessing your past behaviour in certain circumstances. When it was first introduced the competency included Race and Diversity, Team Working, Resilience, Problem Solving, Personal Responsibility, Community and Customer Focus. In addition to these, Written Communications and Oral Communications were assessed. All these behaviours were tested via a combination of the application form and assessment centre. 

In 2012 the competency behaviours were updated for the role of Police Officer, they now include:

  • Serving the Public
  • Openess to Change
  • Service Delivery
  • Professionalism
  • Decision Making
  • Working with Others

The current police Officer Application Form (Sept 2014) tests the behaviours: Professionalism, Decision Making, Working with Others and Service Delivery. These are also tested during the assessment centre as well as the remaining competencies. You are also still assessed on Written Communications and Oral Communications. 

Although the competency behaviours have been updated, the specific skills and abilities required for the role have remained the same.

The competency questions are looking for specific behaviours, for example in the Police Application Form, Question 4 'Service Delivery' - they want to evidence a time when you have had to manage your time to deliver a task. What they specifically are looking for is for you to indicate that you prioritised your workload in order of importance to least. You did this by examinining the tasks at hand, setting priorities and deadlines for each task based on their priority. It is important to note that there are other bahaviours that need to feature in your Service Delivery answer, but for the purpose of this text and to protect the value of our 20 great police application form competency question examples we don't go into further detail. If you want to buy the 20 great police application form competency question examples you can do so here.

Similarily, in Question 3 'Decision Making' they want you to evidence a time when you have considered a number of options before making a decision. In essence you need to provide an example of when you were faced with a problem and you had to gather lots of information to determine what was causing the problem. They want you to further evidence how you screened that information and how you identified the true cause. 

In Question 1, Professionalism - it is important to give an example of time when you intervened to control a situation. So you have to provide an example of a situation that was previously out of control. So it needs to be a hostile situation and not something weak. You are being assessed on how you dealt with that hostility, with one particular behaviour being 'politely' and 'non treatening'. Where most individuals fall here, is there answer is either too weak (in other words it wasn't hostile) or they mentioned that they grabbed someone in a physical manner. Although there will be times when it is necessary to use force as a Police Officer, 99% of the time, this can be avoid by using your communication skills. 

Individuals appying for the role of Police Officer should understand that the application form has been designed to try and ellcit certain behaviours. If you fail to evidence these behaviours you will be rejected regardless of how suitable you think you are, or if you have been told by a police officer you would be good at the job. 

Following a successful application form, you will then be invited to attend an assessment centre. This last 5 hours and features several assessment centre stations including:

  • Role Plays
  • Competency Interview
  • Written Exercises
  • Numerical Reasoning
  • Verbal Logical Reasoning

The Role Plays account for over half of the marks available and we do provide several police role play exercises that have been designed to help you understand how they work and the skills and abilities you need to demonstrate throughout. We have lots of information on our blog about the police assessment centre. Where the application form assesses your past behaviour, the assessment centre throws you into real life scenarios and having to deal with unhappy individuals and individuals who have concerns.