Assessment And Selection
Competency Based Application Form
The police service application form has been carefully designed to provide an initial assessment of people applying to be a special constable.
Many people find the competency questions in the application form difficult to answer. Listed below are the typical reasons why people fail at the application form stage. Applicants are advised to read this information as it will help them to complete the form to the required standard.
Some candidates do not read or answer the question fully
They choose examples that are less likely to evidence the behaviours required to achieve the scores necessary. If applicants find it difficult to answer the follow-up questions that prompt for additional information, it may be that the example used is not appropriate to the question.
Candidates need to focus on what they actually did or said
We are not looking for what you knew or thought about a situation but very specifically for what you did. Terms such as "I prioritised according to importance and urgency," or "my job is hectic and I constantly have to juggle many things" do not tell us what you actually did and therefore do not score well.
Generalisations, where candidates do not clearly tell us who did what, do not score well
The use of the word "we" rather than "I" will lead to lower scores. Giving the details about a particular incident, without explaining which elements you were personally responsible for, will not score well.
Your assessment centre will be demanding but also interesting. Unlike many interview processes, the programme includes a number of exercises, giving everyone a chance to settle down and several opportunities to do well. When the final assessment is made it will be based on evidence of your performance in all the exercises. You will be assessed on competencies identified as being essential for special constables:
- Community and Customer Focus - Focuses on the customer and provides a high-quality service that is tailored to meet their individual needs. Understands the communities that are served and shows an active commitment to policing that reflects their needs and concerns.
- Effective Communication - Communicates ideas and information effectively, both verbally and in writing. Uses language and a style of communication that is appropriate to the situation and people being addressed. Makes sure that others understand what is going on.
- Personal Responsibility - Takes personal responsibility for making things happen and achieving results. Displays motivation, commitment, perserverance and conscientiousness. Acts with a high degree of integrity.
- Resilience - Shows resilience, even in difficult circumstances. Prepared to make difficult decisions and has the confidence to see them through.
- Respect for Race and Diversity - Considers and shows respect for the opinions, circumstances and feelings of colleagues and members of the public, no matter what their race, religion, position, background, circumstances, status or appearance.
- Teamworking - Develops strong working relationships inside and outside the team to achieve common goals. Breaks down barriers between groups and involves others in discussions and decisions.
- Planning and organising - Plans, organises and supervises activities to make sure resources are used efficiently and effectively to achieve organisational goals.
How Are Assessment Centres Run?
You will be one of a group of up to eight people at an assessment centre. The assessment centre will consist of a competency-based interview, a written exercise and a Situational Judgement Test. Your performance will be measured against the competencies above. Respect for Race and Diversity will be assessed in all exercises.
Generally the best way to approach the session is to attend with an open mind and to behave as naturally as the circumstances allow. For each exercise, it is important that you listen to the instructions and are aware of the time you have available. It is not an easy procedure, but is thorough and fair and, as many people feel in retrospect, even enjoyable.
You will be invited to attend either a morning or afternoon session. All assessments currently take place at West Mercia Police Headquarters, nr Worcester.
You are advised of your results by letter approximately 3 to 4 weeks following your attendance.