Help in filling out the Police application formsJuly 4th, 2009
On police recruitment applications, there are usually four main competency questions on the application form. Broadly speaking, these cover the areas of:
- Diversity and respect
- Team working
- Working under pressure
Each of these police competencies is broken down on the form into a number of specific segments. Each segment asks the candidate for certain specific parts of the example. Photocopying the pages and practising your answers will pay huge dividends before you write anything onto the real form. The best way to go about completing these questions is to consider each one separately. Without worrying too much about the specifics of the example, compile a list of potential examples for each question. Once you have some examples in mind for a given competency, you can then start comparing each one to the specific parts of the question.
Your examples must be about you, in terms of showing “you” in the best possible light as being the one who has contributed to the scenario. They should not be instances where you merely observed something happening, or were just a minor player. Anyone can watch a film – the police service are looking for people to work in front of the camera!
Use “I” not “we”
This is a common failing by candidates both on application form and interview. Most of us play down our involvement in situations due to modesty. In this recruitment process though, the form is looking for specifically what you did. Therefore, your answers must always refer to the word “I”. It is you being assessed and your actions, not the person you happened to be with at the time the incident occurred. Using the word “we” often suggests that in the reality of the situation you’re describing, you simply happened to be there and the other person who you are speaking about actually did all the work. This is a particular problem with special constables and police support staff applicants. The application form is no place for modesty.
What if you can’t think of any examples?
This is a common cry from police assessment candidates. However it is unacceptable. If you have no evidence of a certain skill area, then quite simply you will fail. One student on a course lived in a small village in rural South Wales. There were only thirty or so residents, all from the same ethnic background and religion as the student. She was only 19 and had never lived or gone to school outside the village. She therefore made the point, and it is not an unreasonable one, that she had had no opportunity to gain experience of diverse communities. However, from a police recruitment perspective, this would be unacceptable. Quite simply, the police assessors would consider that this candidate has no evidence to convince an assessor that she would be able to deal with a diverse policing environment. No one is saying that she could not do it, just that she’s not evidenced it. There are 60,000 other applicants to choose from. There will be more than enough of those people who do evidence such qualities. If you were the police service, would you choose the candidate who cannot produce any evidence, or the one that can?
Consider this when you are filling out your police application. The same skills of course need to be displayed throughout the police recruitment process.