Why so many people fail the police assessment centre

The police assessment centre process without doubt is the most difficult stage of the police recruitment process. Approx 70% are unsuccessful at this stage, and there are many reasons for failure.

The most common reason for candidates to fail is that they are not prepared. Initially they fail to read any of the pre-read documents made available to them prior to police assessment centre. This alone though, will not be enough, you need to do more and undertake some research and training. Nearly every candidate I have taught, at the end of the training course states “had they not attended, they are sure they would have NOT been successful.” Many ask, just how would anyone pass, without attending a course?

The assessment centre process is a tick-box exercise where the answers are predetermined. Assessors are looking at your ability to demonstrate these answers, so in simple terms you either state what they are looking for and pass, or you don’t and fail. On my course, you learn exactly what skills are required and why…

Another reason for failure is that candidates are just not used to having to perform under exam conditions. This again can be overcome by attending a course. On my policeapplication course you practice with myself under exam conditions. (TIP:) This helps alleviate anxiety and fears, plus prepares your body and mind for what’s coming up. You also leave the course with materials that you can again simulate exam conditions when practicing at home.

Another major reason for rejection can be found where applicants serve as Special Constables or PCSO’s. In the case of serving Specials, many believe they are doing the role, so will fail to prepare or give the assessment process the attention it requires. This is most certainly going to result in rejection. (TIP:) The assessment process does NOT test your police knowledge or your understanding of the role. It tests transferable skills such as Community and Customer Focus. For example: how many meetings have you ever attended where the chair of the meeting asks you what you want to achieve from today’s meeting? I’m guessing never…it just doesn’t happen in the real world – although actually this is a very good approach to meetings, as the outcome is put on the table, and you spend the meeting talking about how to achieve such outcomes, and managing any expectations. (TIP:) In the assessment process, in three of the four role plays, you are expected to ask the role-actor what they want to achieve from the meeting or see happen?

Another skill that is in short supply is the ability to apologise when required. In fact many companies train their staff not to apologise as this can be portrayed as admitting liability. This of course is not the case, you are merely just apologising and sympathising that they feel errors have been made, or (TIP:) more should have been done.

With few forces recruiting because of government cuts, and competition for places at an all time high, it is strongly recommended that you take my advice, attend a course, it will save you a lot of time and will significantly reduce the risk of failing. A full list of available police recruitment courses can be found at: policeapplication.co.uk

(TIP:) = Coaching tip and recommend action you should take

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Published by

David Vidgen

David Vidgen is a former police recruitment manager responsible for overseeing all police recruitment marketing including application form and assessment centre practice days, recruitment website, adverts and community outreach programmes such as Gay Pride.