The recruitment process

There are six stages to the recruitment process for police constables:

Certificate in the Knowledge of Policing (CKP)[+ / -]

A professional certificate has been introduced for anyone who wants to join South Wales Police as a police constable.

The Certificate in Knowledge of Policing (CKP) is a new qualification which, from January 2014, is now a mandatory requirement, with applicants only able to apply to become a police constable once they have obtained this certificate and when the force advertises for new officers.

The CKP gives candidates an understanding of policing and police law and allows them to demonstrate some of the critical decision-making skills that are required for the job.

This means candidates will have a much stronger skills set when they start as constables, having detailed knowledge in vital areas of policing such as victim support, the use of police powers, interviewing witnesses and suspects, the criminal justice system, social and community issues and neighbourhood policing.

South Wales Police is the first force in Wales to make the CKP a requirement for those wishing to apply to become a police constable, although several forces in England have already introduced it including the Metropolitan Police, Surrey, Sussex, North Yorkshire and Hampshire.

There are several educational establishments offering CKP courses at various costs. However South Wales Police is offering a bespoke CKP Plus course at a cost of £1,190. This cost includes City and Guilds registration and National Centre for Applied Learning Technologies (NCALT) registration.

While this may be more expensive than some other establishments, this is a more detailed course specifically tailored for people wanting to join South Wales Police.

The benefits, compared to similar courses, is that candidates will be taught by operational officers who can give a practical insight into day to day policing and offer the perfect grounding to life in the job. Candidates who take the standard CKP course elsewhere will also have to sit and pass two further exams to make sure they are CKP Plus proficient before starting their police training with South Wales Police.

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 four out of seven competencies relevant to the role of police officer.

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 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.
  • There is a limit of 500 characters per question on the competency section which will automatically count down as you type information.

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.

You will receive an information pack around two weeks before your assessment, which will include details on how the assessment is structured and background material relating to the exercises.

During the assessment, you will undertake a competency based structured  interview, four interactive exercises, two written exercises,  a numerical ability test and a verbal ability 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 interactive exercises

These exercises take the form of role play, where you will assume the role of a newly-appointed Customer Services Officer at a fictitious retail and leisure complex.

There will be four exercises in total. For each role-play, you will be given five minutes to study information on the upcoming scenario. You can also make notes to use during the actual exercise.

Once the five minutes is over, a buzzer will sound and you will move to the ‘activity room’, where you will act out the scenario with an assessor. You will take the initiative and they will respond to you using a strict set of lines, which they will have rehearsed beforehand.

A trained assessor will be in the room making notes on how you deal with the situation. An independent observer may also be in the room.

The written, numerical and verbal ability tests

In the next stage of the assessment, you will complete two written exercises which will last 20 minutes each. Before you start you will receive a thorough briefing.

The numerical ability test lasts 23 minutes, and the verbal ability test lasts for 30 minutes.

Samples will be sent prior to the assessment centre and further information is also provided on the College of Policing website.

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 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 officers need to have a certain amount of resilience to cope with the pressures and demands of police work.

You will need to be physically healthy in order to carry out your duties, so you will undergo an examination to ensure you have no serious health problems.

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.

Training[+ / -]

There are three phases involved in police officer training:

  • Phase one takes place at a central location.
  • Phase two takes place at your allocated policing division and consists of operational duties.
  • Phase three consists of an independent patrol at your allocated policing division.