New Police Core Competencies: Clusters, Values and More!

As of 2018, the Metropolitan Police and the British Transport Police are implementing a brand new, fresh set of core competencies into their policing system. These new police core competencies are designed to be more accurate, more sustainable, and more reflective of current police work. In this blog, we’ll detail exactly what the new police core competencies are, and how they work! You can expect these competencies to start being used by the majority of forces in the UK, very soon!

What’s new?

Apart from being different competencies, the new police core competencies are also split into three levels. Now, instead of just being ‘competencies’, it’s all divided into:

  • Six competencies.
  • Four core values.
  • Three clusters.

The reason that the police have implemented this system, is that it provides a more accurate reflection on the different levels of thinking required for different ranking officers. The police see their system as a ‘pyramid’, with those at the top of the pyramid required to exercise more knowledge of all of the above elements, instead of just one or two.

Below we’ve briefly broken down all of the new police core competencies and different areas, to give you a better idea of what they mean.

Become a UK Police Officer

New Police Values

Public Service

The first value is Public Service. Public Service relates to how well you can deal with members of the public, and work in line with the view that the responsibility of the police is to protect the interests of society. Safeguarding the public is an essential element of police work, and takes a great deal of personal responsibility.


Transparency is an essential element of police work. Think about what comes under the term ‘transparency’ – terms like honesty, openness and integrity. It’s vital that police officers can be transparent, as they need to show the public (and their colleagues) that they are genuine and can be trusted.


Integrity is really important. Police officers must be able to set an example to the general public, and act as role models in society. In order to do this, you must be able to show that you are a person with integrity and strong moral principle. Integrity also means that you hold your professional performance to the highest possible standards.


The final value on the list is impartiality. As a member of the police force, it is your duty to act in a fair and unbiased manner, treating every single person that you meet in the same polite and respectful manner. Police officers must be capable of challenging discrimination, and should hold everyone to the same standards that they keep.

police special constable tests

New Police Clusters

There are three clusters in total, which you will need to be aware of and exhibit. These are as follows:

Resolute, Compassionate and Committed. This cluster relates to the way in which you conduct yourself as a police employee. Think about each of these terms, and what they mean, and how they relate to other vital personal qualities. For example, being compassionate means showing empathy for others, and demonstrating a high level of care and understanding for those around you. Once you learn to understand why people behave in the way that they do, you will be better equipped to understand the individual needs of different members of the public, and will be better place to provide them with support. The better you can do this, the better it will reflect on the police as a whole.

This cluster links in with the core competencies of Emotional Awareness, and Taking Ownership.

Inclusive, Enabling And Visionary Leadership. Leadership is a very important quality for any police employee to have. All police employees must be able to motivate and encourage their colleagues, and members of the public, to speak out and help those around them. This is what ‘inclusive’ means, it’s about helping everyone and getting everyone involved, not just particular people.

This cluster links in with the core competencies of Being Collaborative and Deliver, Support and Inspire.

Intelligent, Creative and Informed Policing. This cluster is all about being open to new ways of learning and development, to ensure that you are working to your maximum capacity. You must be able to think analytically, and form creative solution to problems. Being informed means that you take every available factor into account before making a decision – you must take an evidence-based approach to problems, to ensure that every decision is made with sound logic and reasoning.

This cluster links in with the core competencies of Analysing Critically, and Being Innovative and Open Minded.

New Police Core Competencies 2018

Now, let’s have a brief look at the core competencies!

Competency 1: Emotionally Aware

It’s very important for police officers to be emotionally aware. Not only do you need to be emotionally aware towards the needs and feelings of others, but you also need to be emotionally aware of yourself. You must be able to control your emotions when under high amounts of pressure, and exhibit strong levels of decision making. Police work is highly stressful, and will push you to your limits. Therefore, it’s vital that police employees can stay calm and collected, and manage their emotions.

Competency 2: Taking Ownership

In order to work as a police officer, it’s vital that you can take ownership and responsibility, and hold yourself accountable for your own actions. Part of this means accepting that sometimes minor mistakes will happen, but the way you deal with these is what is important. You must learn from your mistakes, and seek improvement-based feedback. Furthermore, it’s critical that you can take pride in your work, and recognise your own limitations.

Competency 3: Working Collaboratively

Teamwork is a fundamental part of working as a police officer, and the better you can work as part of a collaborative unit, the better level of service you can provide to the public. Good police work is about building partnerships, not just with your colleagues, but with members of the public too. You must be polite and respectful with every person that you meet, and show that the police value the ideals of teamwork, collaboration and social unity.

Competency 4: Deliver, Support and Inspire

It’s imperative that police officers understand the wider vision of the police service. You must use the police’s values in your day-to-day work, and show a dedication to working in the best interests of the public. Your positive contribution to the police is extremely important.

Competency 5: Analyse Critically

Working as a police officer involves large amount of critical analysis. You’ll be presented with a wide variety of data, and will need to use all of this data to come to informed decisions. This is essentially what ‘taking an evidence-based approach’ means. It’s about using the evidence available to you effectively and efficiently, to gather as many facts and hard info as possible, before using this data in the most logical way.

Competency 6: Innovative and Open Minded

The final competency challenges the mindset of the candidate. It’s extremely important that you can take an open-minded approach to police work. Not everything is straightforward and ‘by the book’. There will always be problems which require an innovative and creative solution, and it’s your job to come up with this! Furthermore, it’s essential that you can take an open mind to new ways of working, and understand that continuous development is a necessity for any police officer


19 thoughts on “New Police Core Competencies: Clusters, Values and More!

  1. Rachael says:

    Hi there, are these the core competencies that will be asked at a police staff interview ? I’m looking for more information of what type of questions I’ll get asked when at the interview. Thanks

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Rachael,

      It’s great to hear that you are interested in joining the police. It’s a tricky one, because it very much comes down to the role that you are applying for. It is likely that while some of the competencies will be the same, other ones will be different (again depending on the role). Which role is it that you are thinking of applying for? Let us know, and we might be able to give you some tips.


      The How2Become Team

  2. Sheharyar says:

    Hello, I have applied for the PC role and need to do an online video based interview, any tips on what sort of questions will be asked?

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Sheharyar,

      Good luck with your interview! It’s likely that the questions you will be asked will focus around your motivations for joining the police. For example, you might be asked:

      -Why do you want to join this police constabulary?

      -What do you know about this constabulary?

      -What qualities do you think you could bring to the police?

      Hope this helps, and that your interview goes well!


      The How2Become Team

  3. Lali says:

    Hello there, i have got my Day1 for a `PC role in less than 2 weeks time, what sort of questions i can expect under ” we are emotionally aware, we deliver, support and inspire and we are innovative and openminded” competencies ? Many thanks!

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Lali,

      Great news about your day 1 assessment, we hope it goes well. For questions surrounding these competencies, you can expect them to focus on areas such as:

      -How you provided others with emotional support or guidance.

      -How you reacted when faced with adversity.

      -Changes that you’ve implemented to your own working practice, to show that you are constantly learning and improving.

      Hope this helps, best of luck.


      The How2Become Team

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Lewis,

      PCSOs use a different set of competencies – however, the general expectation is largely the same. You are expected to be professional, hard working, and operate with integrity. You should consult with the force that you are applying to, to ensure you have a full list of their values and competencies, prior to application.


      The How2Become Team

  4. Gavin says:

    Hi there Jordan I wonder what questions I can expect for a video pre recorded interview by me for an inspector role. The guidance notes state that there will be competency based questions based on the csv framework.

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Gavin,

      Thanks for getting in touch, and it’s great to hear that you are interested in becoming a police inspector. If you’re due to sit competency based questions, then the questions will focus around times when you have displayed the core competencies for the role. They’ll ask you to give examples of when you’ve demonstrated that competency in the past, and to give a detailed account of how you used the competency. So, you might be asked, ‘Give us an example of a time when you’ve worked as part of a team to solve a problem’. Your task would then be to give a detailed account of a time when you’ve demonstrated teamwork skills, and any related attributes.

      There is also a good chance that you could be asked to elaborate on why the competency is important. For example, they might say to you, ‘Explain to us why teamwork is such an important element when working as an inspector’. Using your research of the role, you’d then have to show them why this is, and what teamwork means to you.

      I hope this all helps, and good luck with your interview =]

  5. Harry says:

    Afternoon. I was wondering if there was anything new for the core competencies? So its the ones in this forum? I havent received my pack yet so I was wondering what the pass mark was to pass the assessment centre?

    Regards Harry

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Harry,

      It largely depends on who you are applying to! Since 2018 the Metropolitan Police and a few other constabularies have been trialling a new selection process, which uses new competencies and assessment centre exercises. You can find out more about the difference between the regular police assessment centre and the new police assessment centre, via our comprehensive blog on the subject.

      We really hope this helps, and we wish you the best of luck for the assessments!


      The How2Become Team.

  6. Hugh says:

    I ordered the book advertising the new core competencies. How disappointed I was to receive the book which was published in 2017 and which contained the old core competencies. £15 wasted
    “Police Interview – Questions and answers – Richard McMunn

    • Gemma Butler says:

      Hi John, we did drop you an email after your last message, maybe it’s ended up in your spam?

      We’re very sorry that the book you ordered did not cover the core competencies you were looking for. Yesterday we dispatched a complimentary copy of our new How2Become a Police Officer guide book which covers the new core competencies (Emotionally Aware, Taking Ownership, Working Collaboratively, Deliver, Support and Inspire, Analyse Critically, Innovative and Open Minded) and new assessment centre that is being trialled by the Met and few other constabularies.

      Please let us know if there’s anything else we can help you with 🙂

  7. Chris says:

    Hello there,
    I will be going for my interview as a special constable on the 26th of this month and i can honestly say i am really nervous. I have wrote everything down that i feel is important but once i have revised what i need to know it feels like is has been wiped from my memory and i feel on the day i will be to nervous and forget everything i have learned. I have always wanted to become a police officer since i was a young lad now i have been given the chance to prove myself i feel i will blow it. Any pointers or tips to help me please.

    • Jacob Senior says:

      Hi Chris,

      The first thing to remember is that your nerves are completely understandable. If anything, it shows that you really care about the role. This is a good thing, and your passion for the role should shine through in the interview.

      Next, try to break all of your notes down into smaller chunks. The smaller the chunks are, the easier that they will be to remember. Learn each of these points one at a time, and only move on to the next one when you’re sure that the first has sunk in!

      Finally, try and conduct a mock interview with a friend or family member. This is a great way to find out what you can remember. The more of these mock interviews you can do, the better.

      Good luck with your interview!
      The How2Become Team.

  8. shabaz says:

    Hello there, i have got my Day1 for a `PC role in less than a week , what sort of questions i can expect under ” We are innovative and open minded, we analyse critically and we deliver support and inspire ” competencies ? Many thanks!

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Shabaz,

      Great news to hear that you’ve got through to the assessment centre. For questions like this, you can expect the assessors to ask about qualities such as:

      -Your ability to solve problems.

      -Your ability to help others in difficult situations.

      -Your ability to deliver exceptional work under tight time constraints.

      -Your creativity and flexibility.

      -Your tolerance for change.

      We wish you the best of luck.


      The How2Become Team.

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