How to Pass The Police Scotland interview

Hello, and welcome to Scottish Police Interview Questions and Answers, the most comprehensive guide to the Scottish Police interview section available! In this guide, we’re going to give you a detailed run through of exactly what the Scottish Police Interview involves, and how to ace it. Using FIFTY sample questions and answers, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive chance to practise every single type of question that you could face in the interview.

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Police Scotland: An Introduction

Police Scotland, or The Police Service of Scotland (to go by its formal title) is a fairly new organisation, having been only formally established in 2013. Today, it is the second largest police service in the UK, with the Met Police being the biggest. At the top of the Police Scotland hierarchy is the Chief Constable, and this rank is closely followed by a Deputy Chief Constable and Assistant Chief Constables. The Police Scotland HQ is based in Fife, the same location as the Scottish Police College, where police training is held.

Police Scotland also has a number of specialist units, such as counter terrorism, major crime investigation, air support and canine training. Every year, Police Scotland publishes what is known as an Annual Police Plan, to ensure that they are delivering the best possible level of service to the Scottish Public. In this plan, the service outlines their yearly aims, strategies and priorities, for safeguarding the Scottish public.


Core Competencies

  • Communication is incredibly important when working in the police, and therefore it is essential that candidates can demonstrate an ability to put across their ideas in a clear and concise manner, in written form, and during the Scottish Police Interview. Working in the police will put you in contact with a wide variety of people, from different backgrounds, and therefore it’s vital that you can communicate effectively. Not only will you utilise your communication skills when dealing with members of the public, but you will also need to communicate with different members of the law enforcement team, and professionals from outside of the police.
  • Personal Effectiveness roughly translates to taking responsibility, and ensuring that you can achieve results to the level that Police Scotland expect. It’s about making sure that your own standards are up to scratch, and that you are always looking to improve and better yourself. In order to do this, you must be able to demonstrate qualities such as commitment, perseverance and integrity in the Scottish Police Interview, as well as a strong drive to increase the quality of your performance.
  • Team Working is extremely important when working in the police. Your ability to work in synchronisation with your colleagues, to create an effective and organised policing unit, will be paramount to the success of Police Scotland. The better police staff can work together, the stronger the level of care that you can provide to the public. Policing is not a one person job. It takes the combined efforts of the entirety of Police Scotland to fight crime successfully.

To find out more about these competencies, and all of the other Police Scottish Interview core competencies, check out our incredible guide!


Why are the competencies so important?

The core competencies are an essential part of the job application process, and your chances of success very much rest on how well you understand them, and how well you can demonstrate them. Throughout the application process, the police service will be constantly testing you, looking for you to demonstrate the core competencies. The interview questions will be heavily focused around the competencies, and each one will require you to demonstrate a different competency. So, you need to revise each one extremely carefully. Not only that, but you need to try and think of past examples/times when you have demonstrated this competency, and used it to resolve an issue.

Competency based questions

Competency based questions are questions which focus on, you guessed it, the core competencies! Each question will focus on one or two competencies.

During the Police Scotland application process, you will need to sit two interviews. The first interview will take place before you attend the assessment centre, and the second interview will take place at the assessment centre itself. Here’s a breakdown of what competencies each interview will test you on:

Interview 1

• Effective communication
• Personal effectiveness
• Team work
• Respect for diversity
• Personal awareness
• Service delivery
• Job knowledge

Interview 2

• Effective communication
• Personal effectiveness
• Job knowledge
• Personal awareness
• Leadership
• Partnership working

Motivations and Value Questions

Along with the competency based questions, you also need to be prepared to answer what are known as ‘motivations and values’ questions. These are essentially questions which focus on your reasons for joining Police Scotland. It’s extremely important for Police Scotland to establish that you are applying for the right reasons. They don’t want candidates who are joining the police just so they can ride around in a car with blue flashing lights, or because they want to impress their friends. They want candidates who are joining because they want to make a difference to the community, and safeguard the public.

You are most likely to encounter these types of questions during your application form, however it’s not unusual for them to appear during the interview too, so be prepared!


Sample Competency Questions

Now, let’s look at some sample competency questions. For the purpose of this page, we’ve provided you with 2 sample questions and a brief description of how to answer each one. Within our guide you will find many more questions just like these, plus full and in-depth responses!

Q1. Can you give me an example of a time when you have utilised your job knowledge, to resolve a difficult situation?

Job knowledge is a really important part of working as a police officer, and is one of the listed core competencies. The better you understand the core requirements of your role, and how they fit into Police Scotland’s wider objectives, the better you will be able to act as an exemplary representative of the police service. Police Scotland don’t just want a candidate who goes through the motions with their job, they are looking for someone who is enthusiastic and committed, who has made a conscious effort to understand every single element of the role. When answering this question, think about the following:

  • What was the situation? What needed to be resolved?
  • What would have been the consequences if you had not intervened?
  • What did you say/do? How did you utilise your job knowledge?
  • What was the end result of this?

Q2. Can you give me an example of a time when you have worked with a colleague, to help improve their performance?

This question is asking you to demonstrate the core competency of teamwork. It’s important that police officers can work constructively together, to achieve organisational goals. Part of being a good co-worker is helping your colleagues when possible, to improve their own methods, and become more valuable members of the police service. When answering this question, think about the following:

  • What was the situation? Did you approach your colleague, or did they approach you?
  • What steps did you take to help them improve?
  • Did you need to overcome any obstacles, or change your initial plan?
  • How did your colleague respond to your help?
  • What was the outcome?

Sample Motivations and Values Questions

Now, let’s look at some sample motivational and values questions. For the purpose of this page, we’ve provided you with 2 sample questions and a brief description of how to answer each one. Within our guide you will find many more questions just like these, plus full and in-depth responses!

Q1. Tell us about why you want to become a police officer.

This is an incredibly common opening question, and it would be a huge surprise if you didn’t hear this during your interview. The best response here, is to be honest! Think about the reasons for why you want to become a police officer. What has motivated you to apply? What is it about the police service that inspires you? Take a look at the goals and aims of Police Scotland on their website. Do you share these goals?

Q2. Tell me about yourself and what qualities you believe you have, that will be relevant to the role of a police officer.

This is another very common question. Remember, the purpose of this interview is to help Police Scotland find out more about who you are, and why you would be a great police officer. So, it’s not unusual for them to just ask you this outright!

Once again, your best response is to be honest in this situation. Think about what makes you a good fit for the role? What are your best qualities? How would they be of use to Police Scotland?

A word of caution when answering this, read the question! It’s pretty easy here to go off on a tangent and reel off a big list of qualities that actually have nothing to do with the police service. Remember, you need to keep it relevant, and link your qualities back to what the police are looking for.



  • An in-depth explanation on each of the core competencies;
  • What you need to say in order to demonstrate that you have these competencies;
  • Sample police interview scoring criteria.
  • Which competencies can be used in combination with each other;
  • Why the competencies are important to Police Scotland, and how;

2. HOw to answer competency based questions

  • An extensive overview of how to demonstrate every single competency;
  • How to avoid making critical interview mistakes;
  • The importance of structuring your responses concisely and logically;
  • Sample questions and how to answer them successfully.


  • Crucial information on both interview stages;
  • Competency questions which cover every single element;
  • How to structure your responses in order to maximise your potential;
  • How to focus on your individual success in order to achieve the desired results.
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Using our guide, you are guaranteed to better your chances of passing the Police Scotland interview! There’s no better resource available for aspiring officers. So, download your copy of the Scottish Police Interview guide TODAY!

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