The recruitment process

There are six stages to the recruitment process for special constables.

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 six competencies. These are Serving the Public, Professionalism, Openness to Change, Service Delivery, Decision Making and Working with Others.

For information regarding these competencies please download Specials Information for Candidates

The answers you provide will help us to determine whether you are likely to have the skills and abilities necessary to become a good Special Constable. 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, but bear in mind that there is a character count on each of the questions.
– Pay attention to your handwriting, spelling, punctuation and grammar. Remember this is a formal application so the use of jargon and slang is unacceptable. It would be a good idea to use Word in the first instance to spell-check your answers and then copy and paste it into the on-line application form.
– Don’t leave it until the last minute to submit your application, once the closing time arrives the system closes automatically and your application will not accepted.

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[+ / -]

The Specials Recruit Assessment Process consists of the following:
– one written exercise
– a competency based structured interview
– a situational judgement test

Written Exercise
What will happen during the written exercise?
The written exercise will last for 20 minutes. We will show you into the exercise room along with the other candidates in your group. We will give you a thorough briefing before you start the exercise.

What will happen during the interview?
The interview will last for up to 20 minutes and we will ask you four questions about how you have dealt with specific situations in the past. These questions will be related to the competency areas relevant to the role of a Special Constable, which can be found in We will give you up to five minutes to answer each question.

The person who interviews you will assess your responses against the type of behaviours you need to perform effectively in the role. So that you can do your best please make sure you are familiar with the competencies and that your answer gives you an opportunity to explain how you have shown this behaviour.

Situational Judgement Tests
What will happen during the SJT?
The situational judgement test will last for 50 minutes. You will take the test in an exercise room and you will receive a thorough briefing before you start the test. During this assessment you will be presented with 25 questions. Each question describes a situation and provides you with a choice of four response options. You will be asked to use your judgement to rate the effectiveness of each of the response options. Once you have made your decision you will then fill in the appropriate spaces on an answer sheet we provide. We will give you full instructions before you start the test. We will assess the situational judgement test after you have finished the whole assessment process.

Background checks[+ / -]

If you pass the assessment centre stage of recruitment, we will carry out background security vetting and financial checks to see if you are eligible to become a Special Constable.

The aim of the security checks 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.
We will also write to the referees you provided on your application form to verify the information you have given is correct.

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 (to a weight of 34 kgs) and five seated back pulls (to a weight of 35 kgs) 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 and you will be required to run to level 5/4.

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

Medical assessment / Drugs Test and Biometric Vetting[+ / -]

Special Constables 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.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Your weight range will be assessed during your medical assessment

The healthy weight range is based on a measurement known as your body mass index (BMI). This can be determined if you know your weight and your height. The actual calculation is your weight (in kilograms) divided by your height (in metres squared).

Guidance and easy to use charts on how to calculate your BMI can be found on the NHS website

The NHS advises that a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 suggests a normal healthy weight. This means your body is not at risk of weight-related disease.

BMI standards for police officers are set by the Home Office. The current Home Office circular 59/2004 outlines this as between 18 and 30. Applicants who do not meet this standard may find their application delayed and / or will not be appointed.

Inaccuracies in BMI can occur if you are athletic or very muscular as this can give you a higher BMI even if you have a healthy level of body fat. In these cases, as part of the recruitment process, we will be able to provide a simple test to assess the percentage of your body fat.

Drugs Test and Biometric Vetting

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.

Formal training[+ / -]

If you are successfully recruited, you will attend formal training. This is usually in the evening or at weekends to fit around your other commitments.
In the training you will gain a good understanding of the many aspects of policing. You will learn about:
•    The police service and the duties of a police officer
•    Powers of arrest
•    Common crimes
•    How to prepare your evidence for court
•    Self-defense techniques