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Fedster

Automated interviews to save police time when recruiting specials

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Fedster

'Our systems rely too much on people,' says inspector as he outlines new, high-tech, system.

Insp Thomas Welch and S/Sgt Nathan Selby at the Lord Ferrers Awards

Insp Thomas Welch and S/Sgt Nathan Selby at the Lord Ferrers Awards

Date - 6th November 2018
By - Ian Weinfass - Police Oracle
2 Comments2 Comments}

 

A new tech-led method of recruiting and interviewing specials could save a force the best part of £100,000.

Merseyside Police is set to remove the human involvement from the first stages of its recruitment of specials and other volunteers.

Under a pilot scheme funded by the Home Office, application forms will be sifted electronically and first interviews will be recorded on webcam or mobile phones at a time to suit the candidate. It is hoped other forces will follow suit if the project is a success.

Inspector Tom Welch and Special Sergeant Nathan Selby have been working on the initiative after identifying that candidates who want to give up time for the force for free are often frustrated after being left waiting a long time for updates during the application process.

Insp Welch said: “Our systems rely too much on people - we’re moving to a digital process here. There’s a big blockage in HR: if there’s a regular recruitment campaign on, specials recruitment goes to the back of the queue and also if someone’s off for the day in HR that causes a backlog.”

S/Sgt Selby added, during a presentation at a volunteers in policing conference, that the application form will be online and, if passed, an online test will follow. If that is also completed successfully an online, automated interview will follow, with the candidate recording answers to questions which appear on screen.

The force will save money through removing paper sifts and regulars or staff having to take out time to interview candidates during the initial stages of the process. Volunteers will be involved in the assessment which follows.

“We’ve estimated that in Merseyside, specials interviews alone cost us about £100,000 a year in time. If we can reduce that – a lot of volunteers will go in and mark the interviews – we should be able to make some significant cost savings there,” S/Sgt Selby said.

“We’re looking to trim down the process from months and months, to six to eight weeks in some instances.”

The pilot is being assessed by the Institute for Public Safety, Crime and Justice at Northamptonshire University, who organised the Citizens in Policing National Conference where the idea was explained.

S/Sgt Selby won the ASCO Leadership Award at the 2018 Lord Ferrers Award for innovation already introduced in the field of special constabulary recruitment.

He was recognised for the work on helping the recruitment of volunteer officers including by setting up a professional development unit for specials and a monthly event for applicants to explain the interview process and competencies required for the role.

View On Police Oracle

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SD

Meh! What’s the worst that could happen?

1F196062-55B2-4799-A93D-438DBC69A65B.jpeg

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David
Quote

Inspector Tom Welch and Special Sergeant Nathan Selby have been working on the initiative after identifying that candidates who want to give up time for the force for free are often frustrated after being left waiting a long time for updates during the application process.

Given that they were both initially selected by a human, wouldn't it have been ironic (if not just desserts) that at the time either or both had been rejected by the AI they are so keen on now?

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Goldfgy

Speeding up the process is a worthwhile goal. Applicants left waiting for extended periods are apt to lose interest in, as well as respect for the organization to which they are applying.

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SD
36 minutes ago, Goldfgy said:

Speeding up the process is a worthwhile goal. Applicants left waiting for extended periods are apt to lose interest in,

Then the can’t really want the job can they. 

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Beaker
2 minutes ago, SD said:

Then the can’t really want the job can they. 

I'd disagree there.  One lass I was training with got her acceptance to the regs before she got her acceptance in to the Specials.  Despite the Regs application being 3 months AFTER the SC application.  She was then given "Some time in the next 12 months" to start as a reg, and was told she could do the SC training while she waited.  My application took about 9 months from start to finish.  Nowhere in any industry anywhere else are the application to acceptance times averaging 6 months or more.  Especially for a voluntary role.  I knew before I started that Police applications run at glacial speed, it was still quite frustrating.  They don't even send you a monthly email saying your app is still in progress.  

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Indiana Jones
Then the can’t really want the job can they. 
I wonder if you'd feel the same way of it were you.

You need an Occ Health referral but it's taking months, and all Occ Health mutter (behind your back) when you tell them that you're going to have to go private, is, "well, they can't have really wanted it that much then" .

I think as an organisation(s) we've become accepting of poor practice in too many areas and justify it on others' behalfs.

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SD
1 hour ago, Indiana Jones said:

I wonder if you'd feel the same way of it were you.

You need an Occ Health referral but it's taking months, and all Occ Health mutter (behind your back) when you tell them that you're going to have to go private, is, "well, they can't have really wanted it that much then" .

I think as an organisation(s) we've become accepting of poor practice in too many areas and justify it on others' behalfs.

It was me and I stuck with it. I’d prefer a face to face assessment every time and I’d  rather wait for it then be triaged by AI.

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David
13 hours ago, Beaker said:

Nowhere in any industry anywhere else are the application to acceptance times averaging 6 months or more. 

Since when was the police an 'industry'?

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Burnsy2023
44 minutes ago, David said:

Since when was the police an 'industry'?

It fits the definition "An activity or domain in which a great deal of effort is expended."

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obsidian_eclipse

Times have changed since the days the Inspector came over for a cup of tea and a chat. Are we really so inundated with applications for the Specials though?

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Pathca

Okay I accept that this is potentially a good way to recruit volunteers, but for years we have gone on about Specials being on a par with regulars apart from the pay   . Why then are Specials being lumped in with all volunteers in this system?  If they are going to work as police officers then they should go through the same process as regular officers 

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Zulu 22

Better to take your time than act in haste and make a wrong appointment. I wonder why a Red ribbon is being worn when it is not a part of the Uniform or regalia allowed?

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David

Industry or not (and is the police really an 'industry'?) I can't think of many other 'industries' that might need to complete background checks as thoroughly the police have to, and frankly I'd rather be rejected by a suitably experienced human at any stage than computer algorithms simply saying 'no'.

Around 30 years ago I read a fascinating article on the obsession (at that time) with American-style psychometric tests and graphologists looking at handwriting when it came to job interviews and applicant suitability. An example was that a university professor, who was highly sceptical of that then-obsession, set up his own testing. What needs to be kept in mind is that the professor was highly-respected in his own field which was not graphology.

What he did was to 'employ' a ‘handwriting expert’ company (or companies) and set them up by ‘employing’ them to sift through the applications for a new post in his own team which was in itself set up.  Those applying, external and internal, knew the post did not exist but were asked to apply for the job based on a real application.

Along with others, whom the professor would have given an interview to if not taken on, the professor’s own application was rejected and was told that the applicant (the professor himself) was unsuitable in all sorts of ways. I personally can’t remember the reasons so can’t list them; but it was along the lines that he was unapproachable (discredited), that he was unable to work as a team (discredited), that he was unmethodical in his approach (discredited).

The point to this is that the professor would never have been given an interview for his own job based on the discredited advice of the graphologist(s) where the human element (who were similarly unaware of the exercise), going through the same applications, would have invited him for an interview...

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Reasonable Man
I wonder why a Red ribbon is being worn when it is not a part of the Uniform or regalia allowed?

It’s an awareness ribbon for heart disease, like the pink one for breast cancer or the orange one for leukaemia.
Guess it’s like allowing officers to wear things like poppies or black and white Union Flags with a thin blue line on, or the old Federation Rupert Bear pins. Not official regalia but generally allowed.
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