How to apply to become a police officer…

This post is for candidates whom are unsure how to apply to become a police officer for forces in England and Wales.

Despite popular belief the police service is not short of candidates wishing to become police officers so you will find that most forces do not issue application forms 365 days a year. Smaller forces may only have one or two windows of opportunity throughout the year, while larger forces may be open for considerable months at a time.

Each force is responsible for issuing their own application forms and each have their own methods – some are online while others use a traditional paper-based application form. So to obtain an application form you first need to contact your chosen force – using Google simply search ‘the name of your force, followed by the word ‘recruitment’ i.e., Metropolitan Police Recruitment – this will narrow your search and save you time having to navigate through the whole of their website to find the page you really want.

Some forces only accept applications from candidates whom have attended a recruitment event, so be prepared to have to visit them. Others, if currently sending out application forms will simply send you one via the post, or as an email attachment.

The application form is a 22-page competency based document, so you will need to evidence your suitability for the role by answering a series of questions. This section is pass / fail so it is important that your answers provide the necessary evidence. 60% are rejected at application stage because their answers do not tick the correct boxes. If you would like helpwith your police application form I can provide this assistance, ensuring that your form meets the necessary standard.

Once you have had confirmation that your form meets the required standard you will then be called to attend a police assessment centre. An assessment centre is a process, not a place. It is during this process that you will again be asked to demonstrate your suitability for the role by completing a series of exercises. TheseĀ  include role-plays, written reports, interview, Maths and English test, in all it is a five hour day!

In order to pass an assessment centre there are four pass marks that must be achieved – Overall, Race and Diversity, Oral Communications an finally Written Communications. Written Communications is your spelling and grammar, so extra care and attention should be given to the written reports you write. Forces do have differing pass marks for assessment centres, so although you may be unsuccessful with your current force, others may accept your scores, this will prevent you from having to reapply at a later date. Please refer to my earlier post ‘Assessment Centre Pass Marks 50% or 60%’

Advice for Police Officer and PCSO Applicants: Spelling and Grammar

Both the police officer application form and police assessment centre are designed to test your ability to use correct written communications, in particular spelling and grammar.

In sections 4 to 10 of your police / PCSO application form, you must not exceed ten errors , while in the assessment centre this is limited to no more than 5 spelling or 4 grammatical errors in each written proposal exercise.

If you exceed this in your application form, or you exceed this amount in both written proposals, you will be rejected. To help candidates I have compiled the following advice:

Let’s have a look at when to use capital letters

Which is correct?

  • I attended School between the ages of four and eighteen
  • I attended school between the ages of four and eighteen

Answer: I attended school between the ages of four and eighteen

The word ‘school’ only needs a capital letter at the start when it is part of a name of a specific school. It does not need one when it appears on its own. The same is true for other places, institutions, organisations, and buildings.

When using capital letters in titles (for a film, book, ‘role’, period or event) however, be careful only to use them for the start of the first and key words, and not for small words within the title.

Which is correct?

  • an Officer and a Gentleman
  • An Officer And A Gentleman
  • An Officer and a Gentleman

Answer: An Officer and a Gentleman

The above examples throw up a few additional points to remember. People’s titles should always have capital letters, for example: Prime Minister, Princess Royal.

Periods have titles, and begin with a capital letter: Gothic, the Renaissance, the Depression.

Countries begin with a capital letter, but so too do languages and nationalities, for example: English, Kurdish, Chinese, Arabic, French, Polish. Note that all words that are formed from, or are connected to, these base words also begin with capital letters, for example: Frenchman, Arabia, Chinese lantern.

Which is correct?

  • It is far warmer in the south, especially in the summer
  • It is far warmer in the South, especially in the summer
  • It is far warmer in the south, especially in the Summer
  • It is far warmer in the South, especially in the Summer

Answer: It is far warmer in the south, especially in the summer

Note that although capital letters are used for days of the weeks and months of the year, they are not needed for the points of the compass, or for seasons.

Let’s have a look at when to use commas

Commas should be used in a sentence to indicate where someone reading the sentence would pause (for a fraction of a second only), perhaps to take a breath. As a rule, longer and more complex sentences are more likely to need commas than short sentences.

i.e. While teaching my recent assessment centre training course, a client whom I never met before, kindly introduced themselves on arrival as Julie Smith.