Online assessment process

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Everything you need to know about the online assessment process with links to the candidate guidance.

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Written by College of Policing

After you've applied to join a force, you will complete an online assessment process. This is a series of exercises that test the key competencies and values that are important for the role of police constables.

The assessment was originally done face-to-face and called SEARCH or Day One. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic the assessment process is currently being run online. The online assessment process will continue until at least March 2022 and we'll review this as the situation changes.

Online assessment exercises

The online assessment process consists of up to four exercises. The exact number of exercises depends on the force you apply to.

Exercise 1 – situational judgement test (SJT)

This test measures your ability to choose the appropriate action in situations similar to those you are likely to face as a police constable. This test will measure your judgement and ability to make effective decisions against the competency and values framework for policing. If your hiring force is already using a sift, this stage may not be mandatory.

Exercise 2 – competency-based interview (CBI)

You will be asked a series of questions about how you have dealt with specific situations in the past. This is your opportunity to provide some examples of the key competencies and values that are important for police constables. You can use examples from both your work and your personal life. If you have completed exercise 1, you will be required to take exercise 2 immediately upon completion.

Exercise 3 – written exercise

In this exercise, you will assume the role of a police constable and will have to complete an urgent written task for your line manager. You will receive four items of information to help you with this task.

Exercise 4 – briefing exercise

In this exercise, you will assume the role of a police constable and will have responsibility for dealing with some issues presented to you. You will be tasked with providing a response to a number of questions in relation to this issue. You will be provided with preparation materials to consider your answer.

Reasonable adjustments and accommodations

Some people taking online assessments need extra help or more time.

If you have any condition that might cause you to be disadvantaged during the online assessment process, temporary or otherwise (for example, pregnancy, injury, medical conditions, disability or neurodivergence such as dyslexia and autism) you may be entitled to accommodation or reasonable adjustment.

Any accommodation or reasonable adjustment provided for the online assessment process will be based on the supporting information provided to your recruiting force in a relevant report, produced by an appropriately qualified professional.

Reasonable adjustments may include additional time in the exercises or other adjustments as recommended by a specialist.

If you believe you may have a condition that could disadvantage you, contact the force you are applying to directly. They will be able to assist you with your application for accommodation or reasonable adjustment.