SEARCH Assessment Process

To find out how we can help you pass your SEARCH Assessment, click here.

To book a course, click here, and select the one you want, but make sure you know which course is right for you.

This is the long-established process that most forces are still using. It should not be confused with the new system that the Metropolitan and West Midlands police are using, which is imaginatively titled the “Day One Assessment”. There are significant differences, but the easiest way to tell them apart is that the SEARCH system places you as a Customer service Officer at a fictional leisure complex called the Westshire Centre. The NEW system assessment places you as a police constable into various situations. The two have several totally different exercises in, so this is why we offer separate courses. There are overlaps, but it is the differences that count. If you are doing the NEW system, click here.

The SEARCH system overview

This section explains what exercises you will face on the assessment day and the importance of the welcome pack


The SEARCH assessment itself will last approximately four hours. Candidates are assessed on the six core skills required to be a police officer, specifically:

  • Working with others
  • Community and Customer Focus
  • Service Delivery
  • Professionalism
  • Serving the Public
  • Openness to Change

The assessment is standardised across England and Wales, so regardless of which police force you are applying to, you will take the same assessment. On the day, you will be required to undertake the following exercises:

  • Two verbal and numerical reasoning exercises (IQ tests)
  • Four role-play exercises, each role-play lasting five minutes, but with a five-minute unmarked preparation phase before each one. The candidate takes the role of a Customer service Officer in a fictional leisure complex. A typical exercise may require them to meet an angry customer who feels that they have received a poor response when they have complained about, for example, abusive comments from someone else.
  • A 20-minute-long structured interview, where you will be expected to answer each question for up to five minutes without prompting. The four main questions change slightly each year, but always ask for specific examples covering four of the six “skill” areas.
  • The written proposal exercise tests your ability to absorb, collate and transfer information. It is designed to check many skills, of which spelling and grammar form only a small (but important) part. There are two types of written exercise involved in the assessment. You will learn the basic principles involved in dealing with observing an interview (on electronic media), making notes of that interview, and then using those notes to complete an incident report. The second written exercise involves collating a number of pieces of information in order to complete an incident report form. Our course explains what these tests are looking for, techniques to use, gives practice exercises, and explains common errors.

You will normally get the results of the assessment after about two weeks or so.

In Force Procedures

After passing the assessment centre, some forces may call you back for what we term an “in force” interview. (Some forces do this BEFORE you do your assessment). We cover this on our day long preparation course as well.

To find out how we can help you pass your SEARCH Assessment, click here.

Click here to find out about course costs and locations and to book your place.