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.

The application form is a comprehensive document with guidance notes attached. We require information about you and your family for vetting purposes and to ensure that you meet our eligibility criteria.

The application form also contains a competency section. There are a range of questions to complete, covering seven competencies.

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 and medical assessment[+ / -]

If you pass the assessment centre stage of recruitment, we will carry out background security checks to see if you are eligible to become a police community support officer.

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.

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.

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.