police career guide

Career Guides

Welcome to our police career guide.

How to become a police officer

(1) Entry-level requirements

For becoming a police officer in the UK, one needs to be a UK citizen for more than 3 years and must be above 18 years of age. It also has to pass through severe background checks and health test. One has to undertake Professional Policing Degree from University before giving application for joining a force. One can also get a degree in police Now graduate leadership scheme. 2 to 3 A level is also considered as an equivalent degree requirement. 

(2) Day-in-the-life

The job duties include responding to public calls, investigating offences and crimes and interviewing suspects before making an arrest. A police officer also presents evidence in the court and controls traffic in public events. Responsibility also includes advising the public on crime prevention and personal safety.  

(3) Career path

One has to spend two years working as a student officer before being promoted to a police constable. This can be followed by specialising in specific policing such as the criminal investigation department (CID), road traffic, counter-terrorism, firearms. With experience and training, one might also get promoted to the position of sergeant or inspector. 

(4) Job opportunities

Online job portal such as ‘Find a job service’ can help search Police Officer jobs. Indeed.co.uk and prospects.ac.uk are other online job portals full looking for vacancies.  

(5) Where to find more information

One can contact the ‘local police force’ for application to different force and to know about the recruitment rules. ‘College of Policing’ can be contacted for career information in the police force.  

Police situational judgement and aptitude career tests

If you’re applying to become a police officer, as well as fitness tests, you’re likely to encounter tests covering language, numeracy and information handling.

Numeracy tests – similar to numerical reasoning tests.

Language tests – the language test is not quite the same as verbal reasoning it is more testing knowledge of the language. Although some of the tests are tests comprehension skills, similar to our verbal reasoning tests.

The information handling tests – can contain elements of numerical and verbal reasoning along with data analysis.

One of the most important aspects of becoming a successful police officer is being able to make good decisions. Police officers in any part of the world are required to act efficiently in different positions where they need to make lawful, logical, and politically correct decisions. It has become imperative that officials behave in a manner that maintains a good image of the police service while at the same time it does not endanger the health and safety of the individuals concerned. Police officers are also required to comply with the code of conduct, Core competencies, and the values of the police force. To achieve these aims, the metropolitan police force and constables are now using situational judgement tests as an important tool to refine the selection process. In this blog, we can identify what is this situational judgement test, how it helps the police force to take important decisions, and certain example questions that can help candidates to get a glimpse of the test to help them crack it successfully. 

So what is a situational judgement test? In a layman’s term, the police situational judgement test is an aptitude test that provides the candidate with a series of passages describing police-based scenarios. Each of the situations has a series of answers that allows the police officers to decide how to respond to the particular scenario. For example, A candidate might be given a situation where a person has moved from her employer because her partner has been made redundant and they were struggling to support their family expenses. In such a situation, the policeman is informed that the one who has stolen the cheque has not cashed them and they are ready to repay the employer. The situation consists of various possible actions like conducting the relevant enquiries and punishing the offender or consulting with the employer and attempting to settle the dispute because of the personal circumstances of the perpetrator. Another solution can be to return the check and take no legal action because no harm has been performed. The candidate has to thank the answers in terms of effective, fairly effective, ineffective, counter-productive, and very effective categories. These categories reflect how useful they are in terms of resolving the issue. The categories are listed and explained below:

  • Very effective: this is the most Productive response since it can give the best possible outcome. 
  • Fairly effective: this is a reasonable choice but is slightly flawed. 
  • Ineffective: this is the response that does not help in improving the situation in any manner.
  • Counter-productive: this is the worst response because it does not improve the situation and in the due course of time it makes it worse while leading to more problems.

There is technically no wrong or right answer when choosing the options given in situations of judgement scenarios. However, the assessment identifies how the candidate reacts to a particular situation. Certain responsible responses are less favourable to the assessor. The candidate must ensure that it does not raise any red flags from its responses.

Joining the police force is a very challenging task both mentally and physically since it comes with a wide range of challenges that every individual is not capable of effectively handling. 

The assessment process for hiring police candidates is highly competitive and is grouped into three major themes. These are aptitude, physical and administrative. In the United Kingdom, there are three routes through which a candidate can enter the police force. The two most common routes are the PCDA or police constable degree apprenticeship and the degree holder entry program or DHEP. 

The assessment process that is followed in each of the degrees is somewhat similar and it is monitored by the College of policing. However, these two tests have slight variations depending on the force which is applied by the candidate. In all the cases there is a Competency and Value framework based on which the candidates will be assessed. The behaviours, competencies, and values which are expected from the police professions are assessed based on the value framework.

The Metropolitan Police regional force is the largest police force in the United Kingdom. The Metropolitan police operate in every borough of specific cities of England, especially in London. The Metropolitan police assessment process is divided into two phases. In phase 1, interviews are carried out to identify the decisions which are made by the members of the force when they fall into specific kinds of situations. 

It is expected that the police officers demonstrate appropriate behaviours and key values that are outlined in the competency and value framework. In the second stage, the medical aspects are closely evaluated. These tests include vision, hearing, BP, DNA, fingerprint, and even tests to determine substance misuse. 

The fitness assessment is also tested in this phase. The successful completion of both stage one and stage two needs to be completed so that employment can be made. A thorough background check also needs to be conducted.

There are a number of online assessments and aptitude tests that need to be carried out to determine the personality and skills of the candidate. The police numerical reasoning test is the most common that measures the arithmetical understanding of the candidate. It also helps the assessors to interpret the data analysis capabilities of the candidate. 

The police verbal reasoning test allowed the candidates to show a keen understanding of the English language and the way they interpret the information. Questions in the Police verbal reasoning test are either comprehension or situational. In the first instance, the candidates will be required to respond in a true or false manner. In the second case, the candidates will have to determine the inferences or the conclusions that can be made based on the evidence that is provided. The police competency-based interviews and situational judgement test and other important ways through which the aptitude of the candidates are evaluated.

Any candidate who is preparing for police officer tests needs to know the competency and value framework based on which the tests are developed. The candidates have to have a key set of behaviours, abilities, and values to become successful applicants.

How to become a firefighter

(1) Entry-level requirements

One can undertake Level 2 or 3 Diploma in the public services for applying for the position of a Firefighter. Entry requirements also include at least 2 GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) or any equivalent requirement for level 2 course. 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or any equivalent requirement would be needed for level 3 course. One also has to pass an online test for the assessment of judgement ability in real work settings and reading and number tests.  

(2) Day-in-the-life

The job duties of a firefighter include inspection and maintenance of equipment and undertaking practice drills for fire services. It also has to be responsive to emergency calls and rescue people, animals from accidents sides and burning buildings. They also have to deal with floods and bomb alerts and put out property fires. They also inspect buildings for ensuring that they are meeting regulations of fire safety. 

(3) Career path 

A Firefighter can work its way up to being a crew manager or station manager with experience and training. One can also move between different services and become Brigade manager or area manager. You can undertake professional qualifications to become a member of the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE).

 (4) Job opportunities

Apprenticeship vacancies are available online job portals and ‘Find an apprenticeship service’ can be helpful to find firefighter related jobs and to get alerts about new apprenticeships. 

(5) Where to find more information

For further information, ‘local fire and rescue service’ can be contacted for careers and firefighters and the recruitment packs.


Fire-fighter Career Tests

Firefighters call their tests ‘working with numbers’, ‘understanding information’ and ‘situational awareness and problem-solving’ – but these all align very much with the standard tests mentioned above. If you’re going through the Fire-fighter selection process you will also need to partake in physical ability tests. Some fire brigades also require candidates to sit a personality 

Rob Williams latest book 

Are you chasing a job that you really want, but need to take a verbal reasoning test to get it? With the help of this book, you’ll sharpen your skills and quickly become confident in your ability to pass. 

Brilliant Passing Numerical Reasoning Tests book – also available for download from the Apple Store. 

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