The New Police Online Assessment Process 2020

This online guide outlines the new College of Policing Online Assessment Process, which is set to be used nationally by all England and Wales police forces throughout 2020. This online assessment process has been put in place for all police constable applicants.

Within this guide, we will look at what the new assessment will involve, the timeline for completion, how candidates will be assessed, how candidates can prepare, and some frequently asked questions on this brand new police selection process.

Contents:

  1. Who is the College of Policing Online Assessment Process For?
  2. How is the Police Online Assessment Structured?
  3. What Competencies are Assessed?
  4. Overview of the Police Selection Process
  5. The Online Assessment Process Breakdown
  6. Stage 1 – Situational Judgement Test
  7. Stage 2 – Video Interview (Competency-Based)
  8. Stage 3 – Written Exercise
  9. Stage 3 – Briefing/Presentation Exercise

Who is the College of Policing Online Assessment Process For?

The new online assessment process has been put together by the College of Policing as an assessment tool for police forces to use in the recruitment process of police constables/police officers.

How is the Police Online Assessment Structured?

The new police online assessment process can be broken down into four core exercises:

  1. Situational Judgement Test (SJT)
  2. Video Interview (competency-based)
  3. Written Exercise
  4. Briefing/Presentation Exercise

These exercises test the same competencies and values that are used in policing. As a candidate, you will be expected to demonstrate these competencies and values throughout these exercises.  

What Competencies are Assessed?

The competencies and values used in the new online police assessment centre are the same beliefs and behaviours expected of all those policing.

These include the six core competencies:

  • Emotionally aware
  • Innovative & open-minded
  • Analyse critically
  • Deliver, support, & inspire
  • Collaborative
  • Take ownership

And the four core values:

  • Transparency
  • Integrity
  • Public service
  • Impartiality

You can find out more about the core competencies in our police core competencies blog.

The Police Constable selection process will only assess Level 1 of the Competencies Value Framework.

Overview of the Police Selection Process

Register Interest with a Police Force

Submit Application Form and Undertake Eligibility Checks

Note: Some Forces will implement sifting exercises at this stage, such as a behavioural styles questionnaire and situational judgement test.

Police Online Assessment Process Stage 1:

Situational Judgement Test

Note: Police forces may use their own sifting tests, in that instance, candidates will be referred straight to stage 2.

You MUST pass Stage 1 to move on to Stage 2.

Police Online Assessment Process Stage 2:

Video Interview (competency-based)

You MUST pass Stage 2 to move on to Stage 3.

Police Online Assessment Process Stage 3:

Written Exercise

Briefing/Presentation Exercise

Note: Although both exercises make up Stage 3, you will receive invitations to these exercises separately, so they do not need to be taken together.

Force Interview (Final Interview)

A structured interview to establish your values and motivation for joining the police.

Note: It is up to the discretion of individual police forces if a final interview will be used. These can take place as a live video interview or may even take place in person.

Some forces will require the in-force interview to be passed before the Police Online Assessment Process stages and therefore will be conducted after the sifting tests.

Job Fitness Test, Biometric Vetting, & Drugs Testing

Upon successfully completing the three online assessment process Stages, candidates are required to undergo a Job fitness test, medical assessment, biometric vetting, pre-employment checks, non-biometric vetting, and references.

Police Online Assessment Process Training

The Online Assessment Process Breakdown

The below is a breakdown of the new police officer online assessment process:

Stage 1 – Situational Judgement Test

Test Length: 

  • 12 questions, approximate completion time 30 minutes to take within a maximum of 120 minutes.
  • The test must be completed in one session.

The test length will vary for most candidates and will be much quicker than 120 minutes to complete. 

Test Overview: 

  • The police situational judgement test consists of 12 scenarios and questions, each containing 4 potential answers. 
  • Once a question has been displayed on-screen, you will be required to select one answer from 4 potential answers. The answer you select should reflect what you would do in the situation described.
  • All of the situational judgement test questions are based on police constable scenarios.
  • You will not need any prior technical knowledge to complete the test, the questions are to access how you would best respond to a situation and the system will analyse if that matches with the police core competencies and values.

How to Take the Test: 

  • To take the test, you will need a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone with a good internet connection.
  • You cannot take breaks during the test; it must be completed in one sitting.
  • You must answer every question honestly to complete the test – you cannot skip a question.

How the Test is Assessed: 

  • This test measures your ability to make decisions that are effective and match the behaviours expected of those in the police: the competencies and values.
  • This test has been developed to give candidates a look into what it’s like to conduct the role of a police constable, and therefore, the answers you pick will need to reflect the same values and competencies the police use.
  • You will know if you have passed immediately after successfully completing the test via the system.
How to pass the new police online assessment centre

Stage 2 – Video Interview (Competency-Based)

If you are successful in Stage 1, you will be sent an email inviting you to take part in Stage 2 – the competency-based video interview.

Test Length: 

  • The test will last up to 30-minutes and consist of 5 questions.
  • You will have 1 minute to view the question and then 5 minutes to provide your answer.

Test Overview: 

  • You will be required to answer 5 competency-based interview questions using your webcam and microphone. Your answers are recorded live by the system.
  • You are presented with one question at a time, along with additional information in bullet points. You have 1 minute to read this information. The information will also be presented to you in the form of a pre-recorded video message by an assessor.
  • Candidates then get 5 minutes to answer the question.
  • You will not be able to rerecord your answers.

How to Take the Test: 

  • You will need a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone with a microphone and webcam (selfie camera on a smartphone) with a good internet connection.
  • Adobe Flash Player will need to be installed and enabled on your device. If using a smartphone, instead of Adobe Flash Player, you will be required to download the College of Policing’s “LaunchPad video interview” app.
  • You can refer to the information and material provided, but you are not allowed to take any notes or copies.
  • You cannot take breaks during the test; it must be completed in one sitting.

How the Test is Assessed: 

Candidates’ answers to the interview questions will be assessed against the following competencies and values:

  • Values:
    • Public Service
    • Transparency
    • Integrity
  • Competencies:
    • Innovative and Open-mindedness 
    • Taking Ownership

An assessor will review and score your recorded answers after you have completed the test. You will be sent a report on how well you matched the competencies and values being assessed against you. If you pass, you will be invited to undertake Stage 3.

Stage 3 – Written Exercise

If you are successful in Stage 2, you will be sent two separate invitations via email inviting you to take part in Stage 3 – the first of which is the written exercise.

Test Length: 

  • The total test time will last approximately 40 minutes.
  • Within this time, you will need to read all of the provided supporting information and complete the exercise.  

Test Overview: 

  • You will undertake the role of a PC (police constable) for this task, where you are required to complete an urgent written task for your direct manager.
  • This task is likely to focus on an issue in the community.
  • You will be provided four sets of information (such as, potentially, a letter or email from a member of the public) that you can use to help form your written report.
  • You are required to type the written exercise on your device in your web browser.

How to Take the Test: 

  • You will need a desktop computer, laptop, tablet with a good internet connection.
  • At the end of the exercise, you are required to use your webcam and microphone to record your name to verify your identity.
  • You cannot take breaks during the test; it must be completed in one sitting.

How the Test is Assessed: 

Candidates’ will be assessed against the following competencies and values during the written exercise:

  • Values:
    • Impartiality
  • Competencies:
    • Analyse critically
    • Deliver, support, & inspire
    • Collaborative
    • Taking ownership
  • It is essential that you only use the information provided and that you do not make any new information up in your report. 
  • You are not allowed to use any external resources to aid your preparation – such as the core competencies and values printed out next to you.
  • An assessor will review and score your written exercise after you have completed this assessment and the briefing/presentation exercise.

Stage 3 – Briefing/Presentation Exercise

The second part of Stage 3 id the Briefing Exercise. This is the final part of the new police online assessment process.

Test Length: 

  • The briefing exercise will last for a maximum of 46 minutes.
  • The test will be broken down into 10 minutes to prepare using the information provided and a further 36 minutes to answer the questions relating to this information.

Test Overview: 

  • You will undertake the role of a PC (police constable) for this task, where you are presented a scenario in which you are required to handle a series of issues.
  • During this exercise, you will be provided a set of questions relating to the issues from this scenario, which you must provide answers to.
  • You will be provided additional information and materials to aid your preparation within the first 10 minutes of the exercise.

After the preparation phase, you will have 36 minutes to present your answers broken down into the following stages:

Part 1 – Candidates are required to answer questions relating to the first part of the scenario for 12 minutes.

Part 2 – Candidates will be given further information and 4 new questions based on the second part of the scenario and given a total of 12 minutes to complete this stage.

Part 3 – Candidates will be given further information and 4 new questions based on the third part of the scenario and given a total of 12 minutes to complete this stage.

How to Take the Test: 

  • You will need a desktop computer, laptop, tablet with a good internet connection.
  • Candidates are recorded during the 10-minute preparation stage at the beginning of this exercise to ensure exam integrity, but you will not be assessed in these 10 minutes. Therefore, do not begin to proceed with providing your findings/answers until the next stage of this exercise.
  • You cannot take breaks during the test; it must be completed in one sitting.

How the Test is Assessed: 

Candidates’ will be assessed against the following competencies and values during the written exercise:

  • Values:
    • Public service
  • Competencies:
    • Emotionally aware
    • Innovative & open-minded
    • Taking ownership
  • It is essential that you only use the information provided and that you do not make any new information up in your report. 
  • An assessor will review and score your written exercise after you have completed this assessment and the briefing/presentation exercise.
  • Remember, you are undertaking the role of a PC, so you will be expected to answer the questions as if you are a PC with general knowledge on how the police are expected to build positive relationships and community relationships (see the competencies assessed). No technical knowledge of policing will be required.
  • You are not allowed to use any external resources to aid your preparation – such as the core competencies and values printed out next to you.
Police Online Assessment Process Training

20 thoughts on “The New Police Online Assessment Process 2020

  1. Molly Johnson says:

    Hi Joshua, thanks for this really informative guide. I have received an email from my constabulary to take part in the new online assessment procedure. I am prepared for the situational judgement test but I am struggling to prepare for the 2 competencies ‘We take ownership’ and ‘We are innovative and open-minded’ expected for the second part of the process. I wondered if there are any example questions for these competencies, as I am struggling to find them. Thanks in advance!

    • Joshua Brown says:

      Hi Molly, thank you for your comment. I am glad you have found the guide helpful! That is a good question, on our YouTube channel we have a Police Core Competencies video which may provide some useful insight. However, a great resource we have that details both the “taking ownership” and “Innovation/open-mindedness” competencies in detail, with example uses is our Metropolitan Police Service career guide. Although it is MET specific, all England and Wales forces now use the same competencies the MET have been using for the last 2 years and the interview and written exercises in this new Online Assessment Process might be very similar… I hope this helps & best of luck! 🙂

      • Molly Johnson says:

        Hi Joshua, thanks for your quick response it is much appreciated. I will look at purchasing that guide. I also saw you recommended a download on your website called ‘Police Officer Interview Questions and Answers’. Is it worth getting this for the new online policing assessment stages that I am about to take part in? (particularly stage 2, the competency interviews). Once again, really appreciate your help 🙂

  2. Molly Johnson says:

    Hi Joshua, thanks for your quick response it is much appreciated. I will look at purchasing that guide. I also saw you recommended a download on your website called ‘Police Officer Interview Questions and Answers’. Is it worth getting this for the new online policing assessment stages that I am about to take part in? (particularly stage 2, the competency interviews). Once again, really appreciate your help 🙂

    • Joshua Brown says:

      Hi Molly, no problem at all! The Police Officer Interview Questions guide will certainly help, but in full transparency, we will be releasing a new updated version of this guide next week specifically for this process. It is up to you if you want to wait for that version, however, if you do get the current version (which has a focus on the SEARCH assessment centre interview) we will also send you the new guide next week also. Tomorrow we are running a live police training course, specifically on this new process (final content for it has just been wrapped up today by a former MET Police Service trainer) so if you are around for that, I would recommend that highly. Keep an eye on this blog also as I will be updating it with further content over the coming days 🙂

      • Elizabeth Byrnes says:

        Hi there isn’t anymore space on the online courses. My tests are due next week. I’ve done lots of research but still not feeling confident about what questions may be asked on stage two of the new online form of testing. Thanks

  3. Geoff Fisher says:

    Hi Joshua,
    I was wondering which course would be suitable for the verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning tests. Many Thanks. Geoff

    • Joshua Brown says:

      Hi Geoff, we have a few police resources to help with the SEARCH numerical and verbal reasoning assessment preparation. The first is an online police course which is currently on offer for the first 14 days access. And the other is our core police officer training product which comes with a free trial to an online police test masterclass portal – this was only released recently and contains training videos for each question type and 100s of online numerical and verbal reasoning practices tests specifically for the police recruitment process. Any questions, let me know – I hope these resources help! 🙂

      • Joshua Brown says:

        Hi Elizabeth, if you have been invited to take part in the new online assessment process, you will not be taking numerical or verbal reasoning tests as far as we are aware (of all the forces we know using this new process, none are using numerical or verbal tests). Only those going through the old SEARCH process will take these tests, but considering the current pandemic, in-person assessment centres are on hold. Forces are implementing this new online assessment process to replace the traditional SEARCH assessment centre (where verbal and numerical tests are taken). Short answer: If you have been invited to take this new online assessment process, it is extremely unlikely you will take numerical or verbal tests unless your force specifies otherwise. I hope this helps 🙂

  4. Debbie Benzie says:

    Hi Joshua,
    This was an interesting read. Do you know if there is any updates to Police Scotland?
    On the site what would you recommend would be the most helpful for Scottish applications?
    Many thanks

    • Joshua Brown says:

      Hi Debbie, I am glad you enjoyed the guide. Yes, the Police Scotland Recruitment Process has changed. At the moment, it is not clear if they are making further changes to accommodate social distancing and make a more online recruitment process like England and Wales, however, the new Police Scotland selection process is structured like this:

        Online Application and sifting
        DAY 1 – SETs (Standard Entrance Exams) & Fitness Tests (Bleep test)
        DAY 2 – Assessment Centre: Group Icebreaker, Group Exercises, & Values-Based Interview, Drugs testing
        Medical and Vetting

      Some applicants who applied a while back are on the previous selection process.

      The resources I’d recommend for Police Scotland are: Police Scotland Tests & Police Scotland Interview.

      I hope this helps and if you have any questions or insight, please feel free to share here or contact me directly at: [email protected]

  5. Charley Smith says:

    Hi Joshua,

    Could you please confirm if this online process is being followed by all UK forces? I am awaiting news of the next stage to replace the SEARCH assessment centre due to Covid 19 restrictions. It would be helpful to know if this is what will likely be used? I was unsure as the beginning of my process varied from your guide.

    Thank you

    • Joshua Brown says:

      Hi Charley, great to hear you passed the application stage. At present, not all UK forces are using this new online process, but it is likely that they all will sooner rather than later. What that likely means is that the SEARCH assessment centre is on hold for you and the force you have applied for will adopt this new process which you’ll then likely take. However, this is just me theorizing here and it will be advisable to wait until you here official confirmation from the force you have applied to. May I ask how your process has varied so far? It’s not uncommon for different forces to add their own elements to the selection process.

      • Charley Smith says:

        Hi, thanks for your response. I have been advised my next steps (instead of the assessment centre) will be something online however no news yet as to what this could be. So I did an application followed by some competency based questions and am awaiting the next step. I have been advised that a face to face force interview will happen but obviously this will be postponed to a later date than usual due to covid 19. It is a tricky time right now as I am attempting to follow how2become guides however am in the dark regarding what assessments I may end up facing in replacement of the usual assessment centre activities.

        Thanks

  6. Lee Hare says:

    Hi Joshua,
    Will this process apply to ‘Crime Scene Investigator’ applications? I have already completed the how2become ‘Crime Scene Investigator’ course but wonder if that course now needs updating ?

    Kind Regards

    Lee

    • Joshua Brown says:

      Hi Lee, thank you for your comment. The Crime Scene Investigator recruitment process can be quite different from the PC recruitment process. There is no word that this new Online Assessment Process is being used for SOCOs from what we’ve seen. May I ask if you already have an application underway and if so what they have said to you regarding the application process? A lot of UK forces use online testing as part of their SOCO recruitment process anyway (such as online verbal reasoning and online abstract reasoning tests), with the interview normally being face-to-face. That part could well be conducted via a video interview now. However, there are many routes to entry, if you are able to provide a little more detail of your own planned route I might be able to shed some more light 🙂

  7. Shelly says:

    Hi
    I have got the subscription on your website. I am wondering if there any example of written exercise (stage 3) and with a specimen response. I can find it.
    Thanks

    • Gemma Butler says:

      Hi Shelly, please contact us at [email protected] with your order ID number or the email address used to place your order so we can send you some information on the Written Exercise for the new online assessment centre.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.