The recruitment process

There are five stages to the recruitment process for Police Community Support Officers.

The application form[+ / -]

The application form is the first stage of the recruitment process.

South Wales Police only accept application forms at certain times, namely, when we open our books for recruitment. We only accept online applications and you will need to register for an account to apply. Please visit our current vacancies to register and see what we have available.

The application form is a comprehensive document with guidance notes attached. Please ensure you read the guidance notes as they will help you to complete the application correctly. We require information about you and your family for vetting purposes and to ensure that you meet our eligibility criteria. This information is used only for recruitment purposes and is purely confidential. It is destroyed if you are unsuccessful in the recruitment process.

The application form also contains a competency section. There are a range of questions to complete, covering six competencies. It would help you if you could type up the answers to your questions and then copy them into the electronic site. This way you can do a spelling/grammar check and check your word-count, as you have limited amount of space to provide your answers. Please also make sure that you print off a copy – this will help you later on in the process when you have to attend an interview.

The answers you provide will help us to determine whether you are likely to have the skills and abilities necessary to become a good police community support officer. If successful, you will be invited to the next stage of recruitment – the assessment centre.

Here are some top tips for completing the form:

  • Answer all of the questions to the best of your ability. If you leave a question blank, it is highly unlikely you will move on to the next stage.
  • Follow the prompts given in each question. They will help to give your answers a clearer structure.
  • Use examples from your work, social, domestic or educational life to answer the questions. In these examples, we are looking for evidence of specific behaviours which research has shown to be essential to police work.
  • Be specific: we want to know what YOU said or did on a given occasion to deal with the situation. It’s therefore important that the examples you provide are your own experiences and as detailed as possible.
  • Try to use examples that you found difficult or challenging to deal with. These answers tend to achieve better marks.
  • Write clearly and concisely. We expect your answers to be focused, succinct and fluently written, as any police report or statement would need to be. This means writing in complete sentences rather than notes or bullet points.
  • Pay attention to your handwriting, spelling, punctuation and grammar. Remember this is a formal application so the use of jargon and slang is unacceptable.
  • Do not add extra sheets, write outside the space provided or write between the lines. No marks will be given for evidence outside the space provided.

Remember, if you are unsuccessful, you will not be able to re-apply for six months, so give it your best shot.

The assessment centre[+ / -]

If you pass the initial application stage of recruitment, you will be invited to participate in stage two: the assessment centre.

During the assessment, you will undertake an interview, a numerical test and a logical reasoning test.

The interview

This will be 20 minutes in total. You will be asked four questions based on how you have dealt with specific situations in the past, and you must answer each during a timed five minute period.

The timing will be monitored by the interviewer, who will stop you if you run over the five minutes allocated.

The questions will relate to the key competencies needed to be a successful police officer; for example, good communication skills.

The numerical and logic tests

In the numerical reasoning test, you will be asked to answer 25 multiple choice questions which will measure your ability to solve numerical problems accurately. You will have 12 minutes to complete the test.

In the verbal logical reasoning test, you must answer 31 multiple choice questions in 25 minutes, which will measure your ability to reason logically when given facts about events.

Background checks[+ / -]

If you pass the assessment centre stage of recruitment, we will carry out background security checks on yourself and your family or people you live with to see if you are eligible to become a police community support officer. We do this because you will have access to privileged information which may make you vulnerable to corruption. We also need to ensure that your associations are appropriate due to the nature of our business as a police service.

We will contact the referees you provided on your application form to verify the information you have given is correct. If your references are acceptable, your application will proceed to security clearance.

The aim of the security check is to verify your identity and background. It is extremely important that you update us with any changes to the information provided in your application form to expedite this process.

Medical assessment, drugs test and biometric vetting[+ / -]

Police community support officers need to be physically healthy in order to carry out their duties, so you will undergo an examination to ensure you have no serious health problems. This will also include an eyesight test and a drugs test.

You will also be asked to undertake a drugs test and provide information about any medication you may be taking.

Legislation has been introduced that requires applicants to undergo biometric vetting. Please refer to NPIA Circular 03/2012 which can be viewed on College of Policing website

On the day we will be asking you to sign a consent form to take your fingerprints and a sample of your DNA for the purposes of a speculative search and for your fingerprints and DNA profile to be retained on the Police Elimination Database (PEDb).

The purpose of obtaining fingerprints and DNA samples is to allow for a speculative search to be made against the local and national databases prior to your appointment to the police force. This is to ensure that you have not previously come to adverse police attention, which you have not informed us of, and also that you are not linked to any outstanding crime scenes.

We will ask you to take these tests after we have we have successfully completed all your background checks.

The fitness test[+ / -]

Policing can occasionally be physically demanding, so you will need to be in fairly good physical condition to pass the fitness test.

The test will basically measure whether your fitness levels are high enough; the two key areas being strength and endurance.

The strength exercise involves performing five seated chest pushes and five seated back pulls on a Dyno machine.

For the endurance test, you will be asked to run back and forth a 15 metre track in time with a series of bleeps. As the test goes on, the bleeps become increasingly faster.

If you don’t meet the standard first time around, you can take the test again up to a maximum of three times.

Formal training[+ / -]

If you are successfully recruited, you will be asked to attend formal training.

The training will use a mixture of methods, such as practical demonstrations, computer-based simulations and presentations.  It is designed to ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the police community support officer role and what will be required.

Please note that the training period is usually 9 weeks and during this time you will be unable to take any annual leave.  You will be given an opportunity to take some time off after the initial training period. Following this you will be working from the police station and allocated a mentor PCSO to work alongside who will support you through your 6 month probationary period.