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The Police Recruitment Application Form

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This is one form which seems to cause so much confusion and worry, we thought we would try to assist where possible without actually completing the form for you !

At this stage of the application, it is vital that candidates can demonstrate the core competencies needed to be effective in the role of police constable.

You need to be able to demonstrate that you have the competencies for your application to proceed to the next stage.[/i]

Please answer truthfully as you may be asked to expand on these examples at assessment.
Do not use continuation pages. Continuation pages will not be scored.

Q1 It is vitally important that police officers show respect for others, irrespective of their background.

Try to recall an occasion when you have challenged someone’s behaviour that was bullying, discriminatory or insensitive. Do not use an example where the other person was simply angry or upset. Their behaviour must have been bullying, discriminatory or insensitive. You will be assessed in this question on how positively you acted, and on how well you understood what had happened.[/i]

Q2 Police officers often work in teams and it is important that you are able to work well with others, and are willing to share in the less attractive jobs.

Think of an occasion when it was necessary to work with others to get something done and where you played your part in getting a result.
You will be assessed in this question on how well you co-operated with others in completing the task in hand.[/i]

Q3 Police officers often need to remain calm and act logically and decisively in very difficult circumstances.

Recall an occasion when you have been in a very challenging or difficult situation and had to make a decision that perhaps others disagreed
with. You will be assessed in this question on how positively you reacted in the face of difficulty and challenge.[/i]

Q4 Police officers have to be able to communicate with a wide range of people, both verbally and in writing.

Try to remember an occasion when you have had to tell a person or a group something that they might have found upsetting or difficult to hear or read. You are being assessed in this question on how you deliver the message and the things you took into account when deciding how to do this.[/i]

In questions 5 to 10

We want to know something about your motivations to be a police officer, your expectations of police work and what preparation you have undertaken before applying.

These questions are important and you may not progress to the next stage if you do not answer these questions fully.

Your spelling, punctuation, handwriting and grammar are still being assessed in these questions[/i]

Q5 Tell us the reasons why you want to become a police officer.

Q6 Tell us why you have applied to your chosen police force.

Q7 Tell us what tasks you expect to be undertaking as a police officer.

Q8 Tell us what effect you expect being a police officer to have on your social and domestic life.

Q9 What preparation have you undertaken before making this application to ensure you know what to expect and that you are prepared for the role of police officer?

Q10 If you have previously applied to be a police officer, Special Constable or Police Community Support Officer, what have you done since your last application to better prepare yourself for the role of police officer?

Check out their application form HERE

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Forces now have advice which they are allowed to use in their various seminars on completing the form:

Differences in the information and support given to candidates in preparing to complete the competency elements of application form may induce differential pass rates and undermine the integrity and validity of the sift.

The application form has detailed instructions on how to complete the competency based elements, but forces sometimes want to know the limits on what they can give candidates without undermining the process.

Exposure to proper practice materials has been shown to narrow the gap between groups and produce a fairer result.

During any candidate preparation and positive action sessions candidates should be reminded of the following:

• This part of the application is important, so take your time and think about your answers carefully.

• Before you begin, ask for some honest advice on the standard of your written English. Don’t try to fill in the form unless you are sure that your spelling and grammar are good. If you make more than two clear mistakes in a page of writing you may well fail the written English standard.

• Do discuss your examples with other people. They may remind you of an example that you hadn’t thought of. However, remember the application has to be all your own work.

• If you know that you have dyslexia or know of any other factor that might impact your ability to complete the selection process you should let the police force you are applying to know so that this can be accommodated. They will want specific details of how your dyslexia may impact your assessment and work performance.

• Read all of the instructions before you start to fill in the application.

• Make copies of the blank form and practice filling it in before you make your final copy to send away.

• Read the question fully. Some of the questions can be quite specific about the kind of example we want from you.

• Make sure you answer the question. Don’t tell us about something just because you think it will impress us unless it fits the question asked. You may have been involved in a critical or serious incident which you feel relates strongly to police work, but which doesn’t really answer the question asked. This is unlikely to score well.

• Don’t spend too much time giving background information or details not asked for. You should be able to set the scene in less than a few lines. Don’t waste your limited space giving us names and other unnecessary details.

• In each question there are additional ‘prompts’ that ask you for details in particular areas. Make sure you answer all of the prompts. If you find your example doesn’t easily fit the prompts you may have chosen an inappropriate example to use.

• If you leave a question blank because you cannot think of an answer you will almost certainly fail, so do attempt all questions.

They can also be given the following advice about specific questions:

Q1. The key points are that you should clearly be seen to be ‘challenging’ and that the behaviour must clearly be ‘insensitive,’ ‘bullying’ or ‘discriminatory.’ If you don’t use an example which is very clearly ‘insensitive’ ‘bullying’ or ‘discriminatory,’ you will fail on this question. If you are in any doubt that people might not see the behaviour you challenged as ‘insensitive,’ ‘bullying’ or ‘discriminatory,’ then it is probably best not to use that example. Examples from your adult life are likely to score better than examples from your time at school, which might also have taken place a long time ago. Remember the application form wants recent examples. Examples that you found difficult or testing will tend to score more highly.

Q2. The question is about working well with others, not about how well you told others what to do, so avoid using examples where you have not actually been involved in the task yourself (for example, by delegating the work and monitoring others).

Q3. The example you use must be something that others would view as challenging. If you don’t use a challenging example you will fail on this question.

Q4. You must describe in detail the message you had to put across and how you did this in the way best suited to the person(s).

Q5. We want to know why you want to be a police officer, not what experience, skills and abilities you feel you have that will make you suitable.

Q6. We need to know why you are attracted to our force in particular as opposed to other forces

Q7. We need to see that you know what the job entails, so you should tell us exactly what tasks you expect to be undertaking. Don’t be vague. If you don’t know what you can expect to be doing, then find out before completing the application form. It may be that policing isn’t the job you thought it was after all.

Q8. Policing can be a demanding job that impacts upon your life out of work time. We need to see that you are aware of how the job may impact upon your social and domestic life. Avoid being vague about this.

Q9. Tell us what you have done to prepare, beyond preparing for and filling in the application form.

Q10. If you have applied before, you should tell us what you have done since your last application to enhance your skills and abilities or to overcome shortcomings that led to you failing the last time.

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Police Community

You can find more useful information HERE

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Very good post this - hopefully, people will see this first and get pretty much all their early questions answered regarding the form itself.

Good work black rat. 8)

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I agree, great post!

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Police Community

Thanks guys. Here to help as always :rolleyes:

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Police Community

When the application pack arrives on your doorstep, it will amaze you with its apparent complexity. Inside will be general recruitment information, brochures, salary scales, equal opportunities statements, and a number of long forms.

The most important item is usually a checklist, which will tell you what items need to be sent with your application. We recommend that you separate the forms from the brochures, and then further split the forms using transparent polythene pockets. You will then be able to see what you need to complete, and what is simply background reading material.

It cannot be stressed how important the form is! The application form has been carefully designed as a sift for the applications ahead of the more extensive assessment procedures. It was tested on large numbers of potential police applicants from a wide range of backgrounds to ensure it was fair to everyone, and reliable to score.

Forces on average can get up to seven applications for every place that they have to fill. This means that recruitment officers are quite ruthless when it comes to rejecting applicants at this stage. A typical force will get several thousand forms back during each recruitment campaign. Every force will have far more applications than they will ever need. They will take the slightest flaw in your application as an opportunity to screen you out, generally barring you from applying for another 12 months into the bargain.

General rules

  • Ensure that you have read the instructions carefully, and comply with them exactly.
  • Many forces insist that you complete the sections in your own handwriting, often in black ink. If this restriction is given, ensure that you actually comply with it.
  • Ensure that the form itself is kept neat, tidy and clean.
  • We strongly recommend that upon receipt of the forms, you photocopy them, and practice your answers on the copies until you are confident that they read exactly as you want them.

What the forms consist of

All forces now should be using the same national form. It can be completed online usually, and found by visiting the website of your local force. The form will ask for the following:

  • Personal information (such as name, education, employment history etc)
  • Supplementary or supporting information
  • Medical questionnaire
  • Eyesight form (to be completed by an optician)

There will also be a form asking for information about family members (to make sure you are not related to a drug dealer for example!).

Things you should avoid doing!

Remember, doing any of the following things will probably result in your application being rejected, and you being unable to apply for that particular force for another 12-month period:

  • Missing any part of the form out
  • Untidy presentation
  • Not following instructions
  • Using inappropriate language or comments

Personal information (About you)

Many people treat the section of the form is being a routine box-filling exercise. This is a seriously flawed assumption for several reasons. Candidates should be aware that the basic personal information is often scored. You may score a mark for example by being able to tick the boxes stating that:

  • You have keyboard skills (using any form of keyboard will do, you do not have to be able to type)
  • Having a driving licence
  • Having a life-saving certificate
  • Having first aid skills
  • Not putting anything in boxes that do not seem to apply to you. Always put “Not Applicableâ€

These marks are added up for each section of your forms. If you reach a high enough score, you will get an interview. If not, your form is rejected. It is for this reason that care must be taken with every single thing you write on your form.

One common error is to list previous employment in date order, starting with the first job you ever had, and gradually working towards the present day. Unless the form says otherwise, your most recent position should always be at the top - your last job is more importance than a paper round you had when you 14!

The police especially value award schemes such as the Prince of Wales adventurer award, or life-saving certificates. They are also likely to look favourably on people who have service as Scouts or guides. You may consider this in your past and largely irrelevant, but including them may get you that one extra mark which gets you the interview. If possible, and of course truthful, try to put something in every box. Playing sport for example, is evidence of self-motivation, discipline and a commitment to fitness. It also suggests that you are a team player, all things the police service like.

Competency Assessment section

This is undoubtedly the hardest section of the form to complete, and it is also the most important. The police service training and staff appraisal system has a number of identified skills and abilities. These areas, or ones very similar, will be the ones that recruiters are looking to evidence throughout the recruitment process.

Don’t think you can just say you have never done something due to your personal circumstances. The police logic is as follows: A police officer needs these skills to be effective. If you cannot evidence these skills, you will be rejected in favour of someone who can.

You will be asked:

  • When you have given good customer service
  • When you have shown respect for other peoples lifestyles?
  • When have you taken personal responsibility for something?
  • When have you had to do something under pressure?
  • Why do you want to join the police?
  • What are your expectations of police work?

How to tackle support questions

The key to success in this part of the form is to understand the purpose of the questions, and to spend some time finding the best example in your life experiences to illustrate the point required. Many applicants simply write down a very brief and superficial experience, with no depth. This is not enough. It is essential that the answer is as thorough as possible. As a simple guide, look at each question and consider the following before you write anything:

  • Firstly, try to identify what skills areas that recruiters are looking for
  • Having done this, outline briefly what the issue or the circumstances were
    State what actions you carried out to address the issue
  • Stay what effect this had on the group or others
  • Describe the result
  • Describe how there was a positive outcome, in that the issue was solved and all parties had a positive learning experience from it

To make life a bit easier for you, the form breaks down the space for your answers into different boxes. Make sure you read and understand what is supposed to go in each box. Try to fill most of the space if you can.

Core words or phrases to include in the answers include the following. "I identified", "I realised" and, "having spoken to him, I discovered that", “having identified the issue of whatever, I realised that one of my options was to".

Why people fail

The national assessors do send out general feedback to unsuccessful candidates. It is reproduced below to help those who have yet to put their forms in.


Assessors were looking for specific behaviours from the police competency framework. They wee looking for clear and explicit evidence of the behaviours, and are trained not to award marks unless they clearly see the behaviour.

We saw a number of common, lower scoring responses from within the applications. Whilst we cannot feedback individually as to which candidates exhibited these responses, we feel all candidates would benefit from knowing the type of response that scored badly.

Some candidates did not read or answer the questions fully. Accordingly, they chose examples, which were less likely to evidence the behaviours required to score, or to provide evidence upon which we could award scores. Some questions were very precise in the type of scenario that needed to be described. If the questions asked you for an example of a type of situation you had dealt with over a period of time, or when you had taken the initiative to do something that wasn’t your job or responsibility, you will have scored less well if you did not give that type of example. If you found it difficult to answer the follow up questions that prompted for additional information about the example used, it may well be that you were using an example that did not exactly match the original question being asked.

There was often a lack of focus on what the candidate actually said or did. The use of phrases without clearly evidencing what you did or said did not score. We were not looking for what you knew or thought about a situation, but specifically what you DID. Terms such as “I prioritised according to importanceâ€, or “I have a busy life and constantly have to juggle many tasks do not tell us what you actually did, and score poorly. We were looking for specific behaviours, and if you tended to write very broadly about the situation then you scored poorly. The space allocated to each answer has been carefully set out. Single sentence or very short answers rarely had the kind of detail we needed to see to enable the highest scores to be awarded.

There were a number of generalisations, where candidates did not tell us clearly what they did. Use of the word “we†rather than “I†led to reduced scores. Giving the detail about a particular initiative, without telling us for which elements you were personally responsible for, did not score well. If you wrote outside the space provided, the additional material or pages were not marked.

Specific Questions

1. Community and Customer Focus

You needed to describe in as much detail as possible how you had handled someone who was unhappy with the service they had been given, or the way they had been treated. The more specific you were in describing what you did, the better chance you had to score well. We wanted to see the detail of your interaction with the person, from first contact until the problem was resolved. We also wanted to see whether you could see the wider implications of what you did. If you chose an example where you mainly listened rather than doing something, you are less likely to have scored well.

2. Respect for diversity

This question is about your respect for other people and how they live their lives. Differences of opinion on routine matters between people from similar backgrounds will not have scored well when compared to major differences affecting how people live their lives There needed to be clear and specific evidence that you were prepared to do more than just think about and consider the differences, as the example specifically asked you how you had adapted. More challenging examples tended to score better. Simply telling us about your open mindedness to other people’s opinions, without specific evidence, is not a specific example, and if you did this you will have scored poorly. Similarly, telling us how you had explained your opinion to someone else, or have never had problems working with people from different backgrounds does not give us the behavioural evidence to award you the marks for respecting other peoples lives. If you chose an inappropriate example, you will have been awarded no marks for this question.

3. Personal Responsibility

The question wanted an example of when you had taken the initiative, even though it may not have been your job or responsibility. If you had chosen an example when you were doing something that was already your job or responsibility, you will have scored less well. You needed to tell us exactly what you did to score well. Answers that scored well tended to be more involved, and extended beyond a single act that was over in a few minutes or seconds.

4. Planning and organising

The most common mistake was not to talk about a specific occasion. The instructions were clear about this. Telling us that you have a busy life and have to manage work, home life and perhaps educational commitments all at the same time was not enough. We needed to see a specific example, and needed to see the order that you did things, and importantly, the reason for that. The questions also asked why you had chosen a particular way for doing things. If you did not tell us the things that you actually did, or why you did them in that order, you will not have scored well.

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^^ Great post, very useful and a great insight into the mind of potential assessors. :thumbsup:

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Great information for newcomers such as myself!

Having said that, there are a few errors hehe :thumbsup:



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Police Community

Do point them out old chap :unsure:

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Does anybody know of a psychoanalytical company who review your Application form? It was mentioned some months ago in the summer, now i can't find it! :blink:

Edited by snortbrick

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I will be receiving my application form in a few weeks. So I will be coming back to this post. :thumbsup:

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just about to start my PCSO application form in about 2 minutes as i recieved it this morning and this helps as it is all information i need:)

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I recently applied for TVP and I’d just like to say this site and most importantly this post helped me a lot with my application, so thank you very much!

I’m in the process of filling out the forms which I received earlier today. So much of the information is similar to the one on the application, hehe.

Anyway good luck to all other applicants! ;)

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Police Community was originally founded in 2014 by two serving Police Officers.

In 2016 it was incorporated as a limited company called RAW Digital Media Limited and then purchased 3 other forums; Police Specials, UK Police Online and Police UK to form the largest policing discussion forum network in the UK. In 2019 the decision was taken to merge all four forums into this main form of www.police.community

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