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Pre-application Questions for New Police Constables

PART 1

Introduction

Being a police constable isn’t for everyone. It is physically, mentally and emotionally demanding but it is also very rewarding. Because of this you need to ensure that you are right for this role.

Some police forces require anyone who is interested in becoming a police constable to have first achieved the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing (CKP). This requires a significant personal commitment in terms of time and money. You should consult the website of the force you wish to join to find out if they require you to have registered for, or have completed, the CKP prior to submitting your application. This will ensure you can plan sufficient time for this within the force recruitment timescales.

This tool helps you to explore your suitability for the role of police constable and to make a reasonably informed decision about whether or not to undertake the CKP or submit an application for the role of a police constable.

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PART 1

Introduction

This tool helps you to explore your suitability for the role of police constable and to make a reasonably informed decision about whether to do the CKP or submit an application or not.

It serves as a guide rather than a definitive statement about your suitability.

There are three more parts:

  • Part 2 covers the eligibility criteria for becoming a police constable
  • Part 3 provides information about the selection and assessment process
  • Part 4 is a questionnaire designed to give you a more in-depth feel for what it’s like to be a police constable and your suitability for this role

It should take about 45 minutes of your time to complete and you should do it in one sitting.

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PART 2

Eligibility criteria

There are specific eligibility criteria that you must comply with to join the police as a police constable. However, please note that some forces may have additional eligibility requirements.

We advise you make sure you meet these criteria before you commit your time and money to undertake the CKP or before submitting an application form for the role of a police constable. You will get an idea from answering the questions and from the information in this section.

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PART 2

Eligibility criteria

Note that all questions relate to the time that you submit your application to join the police.

You will be informed, and sometimes presented with extra information, if your answer indicates that you do not or may not meet a requirement.

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PART 2

Eligibility criteria

Criminal convictions

Police forces need to be careful about recruiting people with cautions or convictions because:

  • The public is entitled to expect the police to recruit police officers with proven integrity
  • Convictions and cautions for certain offences can undermine a police constable's position as a witness in court
  • Officers with criminal associations may be vulnerable to disclosing information

Have you ever been convicted for any offence or had any formal cautions by police for any offence or any bind-overs imposed by any court?

  • No
  • Yes
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PART 2

Eligibility criteria

Nationality (1)

Are you a British citizen, a citizen of a country that is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland?

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PART 2

Eligibility criteria

Nationality (2)

If you are a citizen of a country outside of the EEA, can you prove that you have legal right of residence in the UK free of any restrictions (i.e. indefinite leave to remain without restriction)?

  • No
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PART 2

Eligibility criteria

Residency

The police need to ensure that adequate and satisfactory vetting is undertaken for all applicants. Police forces require a three year checkable history. This is due to difficulties often faced with gaining vetting checks from overseas, to the extent required for those who have been resident in the UK. This could mean candidates may need to have resided in the UK for a three year period prior to application.

Will you have resided continuously in the UK for the three year period immediately prior to your application to join the police service, with any absence from the UK being no more than six months during this time?

  • No
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PART 2

Eligibility criteria

Tattoos and facial piercings

Tattoos and facial piercings are not a bar to appointment. However, the nature, location, prominence and appearance of tattoos will be considered by the force you apply to. The number and size of your tattoos will also be considered in terms of the impression they may give to members of the public or colleagues.

Similarly, the prominence and location of facial piercings will be considered as to whether they may undermine the dignity and authority of the police officer and whether there may be implications for an officer's safety.

Do you have any tattoos or facial piercings?

  • Yes
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PART 2

Eligibility criteria

Age

You must be 18 or over before you can apply to be a police constable.

Although there is no upper age limit for appointment, the compulsory retirement age for a police constable is 60 and new recruits are required to undertake a two year probationary period. The police must ensure they are getting an adequate return on their investment.

Will you be 18 or over and under 57 years of age when you complete the CKP and submit an application for police constable?

  • No
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PART 2

Eligibility criteria

Financial position

Police constables are in a privileged position with regard to access of information and could be considered potentially vulnerable to corruption.

Applicants to the police service should not, therefore, be under pressure from un-discharged debts or liabilities and should be able to manage loans and debts sensibly.

Have you been subject to an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA), had County Court judgments against you or been registered bankrupt with outstanding debts?

  • Yes
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PART 2

Eligibility criteria

Membership of BNP or similar organisations

Police officers should abstain from any activity which is likely to interfere with the impartial discharge of their duties or which is likely to give rise to this impression amongst members of the public.

Are you a member of the British National Party (BNP), Combat 18, the National Front or any similar organisation?

  • Yes
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PART 2

Eligibility criteria

Politics

Do you take an active part in politics and intend to continue these activities if successful with your application to become a police constable?

  • Yes
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PART 2

Eligibility criteria

Other applications

You are only able to apply to one police force at a time. Your application will not be accepted if you have previously applied unsuccessfully, in the last six months, to another police force in England and Wales that requires candidates to undertake the Police SEARCH® or the College of Policing PCSO Recruit Assessment Centre.

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PART 2

Eligibility criteria

Business interests

You must declare any other employment for hire or gain or any other business interests that you intend to maintain, when you apply to become a police constable.

A decision on whether you meet the eligibility criteria will be made on the basis of the full information provided during the recruitment and selection process.

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PART 2

Eligibility criteria

Eyesight

The required eyesight standards are summarised in the table below.

You may wish to seek advice on this from an eye specialist before committing to the CKP.

Uncorrected vision (without spectacles or contact lenses) 6/36
Distance vision with or without spectacles or contact lenses 6/12 or better with either your right or left eye

6/6 with both eyes together
Near vision with or without spectacles or contact lenses 6/9 with both eyes together
Colour vision The use of colour correcting lenses is not acceptable.

Monocromats are not accepted.
Eye Surgery Radial keratotomy, arcuate keratotomy or corneal grafts are not accepted. Other forms of refractive surgery such as LASIK, LASEK, PRK, ICRS and epiflap are all acceptable provided that six weeks have elapsed since surgery, there are no residual side effects and the other eyesight standards are met.
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PART 2

Eligibility criteria

That concludes the section on eligibility criteria.

Next you will learn about the selection and assessment process.

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PART 3

Selection and assessment process

When applying to join the police, some forces will require you be enrolled on a course to undertake the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing (CKP) qualification or hold the CKP. For many forces it is not a requirement, but CKP represents approximately 40% of the police initial training towards achieving the Diploma in Policing.

You can find out more about the CKP at the College of Policing.

There are four steps in the selection and assessment process

  • 1
    Complete an application form
  • 2
    Undertake and pass the selection assessment day
  • 3
    Undertake and pass the medical assessment and fitness test
  • 4
    References and security checks

Click on each step for more information.

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PART 4

Self-selection questionnaire

This questionnaire is designed to give you an indication of your suitability for the role of police constable and help you deicide whether to apply for the CKP or submit an application.

It is entirely optional and your responses or results will not be seen by anyone other than yourself.

You will be invited to respond to a number of policing scenarios. You should be open and honest in your responses to get the most out of the questionnaire.

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PART 4

Self-selection questionnaire

Looking and feeling the part

Becky is someone who really enjoys keeping up to date with fashion and trends in clothing, hair and jewellery. However, when at work in her role as a police constable, it is important that she puts her own personal sense of style to one side and instead complies with the strict uniform and dress code in order to ensure her personal safety and to portray the positive image of the police that the public expects. Although she has less choice about her appearance at work, when Becky wears her uniform she feels smart, professional and confident.

Would you be able to put aside your own sense of style and dress and comply with the police uniform and dress code?

No
Not sure
Yes
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PART 4

Self-selection questionnaire

Keeping fit

Kavita has been a police constable for the past year. In order to join the police service she had to pass the compulsory fitness test, and ever since joining she has continued to keep up with her own fitness regime which involves regular running and gym sessions to build strength, agility and stamina. The job can involve strenuous physical activity, and she knows that it is important to maintain high fitness levels to ensure she can effectively protect herself and others.

Are you committed to maintaining a high level of fitness throughout your career as a police constable?

No
Not sure
Yes
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PART 4

Self-selection questionnaire

Not just the normal 9-5

Jonathan is a police constable and he has been in the role for six months and he is really enjoying his new job. However, it has taken him a little while to get used to the shift work, which involves him working some weekend and night shifts.

Police officers are required to work unsocial hours and Jonathan had to seriously consider the impact this would have on his family life before deciding to apply for the role. He has had to adjust his social and family activities and there are times when the demands of work means he has to do some overtime during busy periods or when there are large scale events.

However, for Jonathan the unpredictability of his working hours is far outweighed by the variety of the role and the fact that no two days are ever the same.

Would working shifts and unpredictable hours affect the way you feel about being a police constable?

Very probably
Not sure
I’d enjoy the challenge
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PART 4

Self-selection questionnaire

Acting with impartiality at all times

Caroline has been a police constable for eighteen months. Since joining she has really enjoyed her new lifestyle, although a few things have had to change. For example, she used to be very involved as a member of a political party. Now she is in the police she cannot take an active part in politics as all police constables need to ensure they can carry out their duties with impartiality and in such a way as not to bring any discredit to the police.

Although she misses being involved in politics, she realises that it’s important for her to conduct herself in a way that is consistent with being a police constable, even when she is off duty.

Would any aspect of your life impact on you being able to act with impartiality as a police constable?

Yes
Not sure
No
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PART 4

Self-selection questionnaire

Never off duty

David has been in his role as a police constable for twelve months and has just had a week off work to move into his new flat. One of his friends has been very helpful in the move, lending him a van and helping to transport all of his belongings. On the Tuesday evening of the move, there were a couple of men outside the flats shouting aggressively and throwing stones at one of the windows of the building. They didn’t interact with him and his friend but David assessed the risk and challenged their behaviour, asking what they were doing, and encouraged them to leave the premises.

Although he felt nervous in this situation, he knows how important it is for him to conduct himself in a way that is consistent with being a police constable, even when he is off duty.

Being a police constable means that sometimes, in your day-to-day private life, you have to put yourself on duty as necessary. Are you prepared for that?

No
Not sure
Yes
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PART 4

Self-selection questionnaire

Accepting the authority of others

Amit has been a police constable for nine months. Previously he was a manager in a large security firm, but was keen for a change in direction. So far he is pleased with his new career, although he has had to get used to a different way of working. For example, it has been a big adjustment learning to take orders from others and being at the lower end of the rank structure within the police, especially as he is more used to being the one who tells others what to do. However, he accepts that the police is a disciplined service and it is essential officers follow rules and accept authority at all times.

How comfortable would you be following strict rules and authority to carry out the needs of the service?

Not very comfortable
Not sure
Very comfortable
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PART 4

Self-selection questionnaire

Dealing with distressing situations

Lawrence has just finished a long and difficult shift. He and his colleague were the first on the scene of a road traffic accident where a cyclist was killed. Lawrence had never seen a dead body before and found it quite distressing. He needed to take witness statements from a number of very shocked and distressed onlookers, including the driver who knocked the cyclist off her bike. He then had to visit the deceased’s family and tell them what had happened. The family was obviously very upset and Lawrence had to control his own emotions while supporting them as much as he could.

Lawrence finds this a difficult but rewarding part of his role, and prides himself in his communication skills and ability to deal with people in a sensitive and considerate manner.

Could you deal with traumatic and distressing situations with compassion and a level head?

No
Not sure
Yes
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PART 4

Self-selection questionnaire

Your place of work

Dympna has just finished her police constable training and is really excited about starting in her first post. She was given an opportunity to state her location preferences, although due to operational requirements she has been asked to take a post in a different police force area. This means that she needs to travel to another area and ensure she turns up for duty on time.

Although she was a little disappointed at first, Dympna realises the needs of the police force must take priority, and is looking forward to getting to know a new part of area.

Are you ready to be very flexible regarding your work location to fulfill your obligations as a police constable?

No
Not sure
Yes
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PART 4

Self-selection questionnaire

Being confident in your actions

Laura loves her new job as a police constable and particularly enjoys being part of a team. She knows there are always people to back her up and provide support when required. But there are times when she has to use her initiative and take difficult decisions on her own, especially in the heat of the moment or during a rapidly evolving situation.

Laura has learnt to have confidence in her own judgment and quickly draws upon the knowledge she gained during training and her previous experiences, in order to make the best and safest decision in a given situation.

Are you happy about working in a team and also confident about taking the initiative when needed?

It’s not for me
Not sure
Of course
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PART 4

Self-selection questionnaire

Doing the paperwork

Aisha has always wanted to be in the police and really enjoys her new role. Her favourite part of the job is patrolling the streets, meeting the public and dealing with the unexpected challenges that occur every day.

Aisha sometimes gets frustrated at the amount of paperwork that she is required to undertake as part of the job. She realises that she needs to keep detailed records to ensure that everyone knows what has happened on a case and to support successful prosecutions and outcomes.

Does doing paperwork and meticulously keeping records put you off being a police constable?

Yes
Not sure
Not at all
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PART 4

Self-selection questionnaire

Making your case

Tim has been in his new role as a police constable for six months and has been enjoying the variety of the work and being part of a wider team with common goals. However, he is feeling nervous as today he has to go to court and give evidence in support of the prosecution of a suspected thief. He is slightly daunted by the fact he will be in the witness box alone, and he knows he will have to answer questions from the prosecution and the defence.

Despite his apprehension, Tim is looking forward to the opportunity to do something new and he is keen to play a role in the successful prosecution of a known criminal.

How would you react if you were in Tim’s position?

I wouldn’t like it
Not sure
I’d love the challenge
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PART 4

Self-selection questionnaire

Overview

You have considered your suitability for working as a police constable, including the lifestyle you would need to adopt and some of the challenges you might face within the role. Now consider your overall ‘fit’ or suitability for this role.

Being honest with yourself, how much do you now want to be a police constable?

Not very much
Not sure
I can’t wait to apply
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PART 4

Self-selection questionnaire

Feedback

Score
45-60 Thank you for completing our questionnaire. We hope you found it useful. You sound like you would enjoy the role of a police constable. Therefore, you should consider applying to the police service and possibly undertaking the CKP.
26-44 Thank you for completing our questionnaire. We hope you found it useful. Not all of your preferences match what we are looking for in our police constables. We recommend you take some time to think carefully about whether this role is suited to you before deciding to apply to the police service and possibly undertaking the CKP. You may wish to do some further research.
25 and below Thank you for completing our questionnaire. We hope you found it useful. A number of your preferences did not match what we are looking for in our police constables, so you may want to reconsider whether this is the right role for you at this time. Please take the time to familiarise yourself further with the role of a police constable and think carefully about whether you are suited to this role before deciding whether to apply to apply to the police service or undertake the CKP.

To find out more information about the role of a new police constable visit the College of Policing.

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