The application process to become a Special Constable
The skills and attributes required
Special Constables are volunteer police officers with the same responsibilities and powers as regular officers, who are required to give a minimum of 16 hours a month.
We need people with strong communication skills who act with confidence, coupled with a responsible attitude.
We are looking for people who:
Stay calm in a crisis
Are able to respond effectively in confrontational situations
Can communicate clearly
Resolve disputes sensitively and appropriately
Think laterally and solve problems
Plan and take the initiative
Are tolerant and work well in a team
Are honest, fair and impartial
Act with integrity
Treat people with respect and courtesy
We are committed to creating a Special Constabulary which reflects the community it serves and encourage people from all communities and backgrounds to apply, especially those where the Constabulary is under-represented.
Take your first step on a new and exciting journey with us…
Due to the nature of policing, our recruitment process may be more comprehensive than others you have experienced, below are details of each stage.
We are here to help you at each stage. Please visit our events page for our Insight sessions.
The first stage is to complete a national application form which requires you to submit basic personal information such as contact details and eligibility information such as your right to work in the UK, tattoos you have, disability declaration and convictions and cautions.
Answer the questions on the form as carefully and as fully as you can.
Disability: please disclose any mental and/or physical disabilities so we can offer reasonable adjustments where possible.
A medical report will be required for dyslexia, please attach this when submitting your application.
After you've applied, the next step is SIFT, a national online shortlisting that consists of a situational judgement test (SJT) and a behavioural styles questionnaire (BSQ).
The situational judgement test is used to assess your judgement and decision-making skills in situations which are similar to those you could face as a police constable. It will take around 30 minutes to complete the 15 scenarios you will be presented with. The behavioural styles questionnaire is used to see if you will have the right attitude and behaviours for the role. It is untimed and usually takes around 20 minutes to complete, you will be given 80 statements and asked the extent to which you agree or disagree with each.
If you pass the SIFT process, the next step will be to attend an in-force interview. This will last approximately 30 minutes and will consist of five questions.
The interview has been designed to test your motivations and values, relevant to the role you have applied for.
You will need to bring photographic identification (ID) with you to the interview, such as a passport or driving licence.
If you pass the interview stage, the next step is pre-employment checks.
These consist of a medical, five-year reference check and recruitment vetting, as well as completing a fitness test to level 5.4, DNA and Biometric Vetting (where a mouth swab and fingerprints are taken).
You will need to bring photographic identification (ID) with you to the fitness test, such as a passport or driving licence.
At this stage you will be required to complete a recruitment vetting e-form which will ask for details about you and those you live with. You will also be required to undertake biometric vetting, which involves your DNA and fingerprints being obtained. Further details will be provided at the time.
If you, or any of your associates, have any previous criminal convictions you must declare these on the vetting form. If the conviction does not relate to you and you are not aware of specific details please include any information you do have. Failure to disclose such information could lead to the termination of your application due to honesty and integrity.
Candidates will be provided with a work health questionnaire that must be completed and sent directly to the Occupational Health Department. A full medical history must be disclosed as failure to do so may result in your application being rejected. Please complete the questionnaire carefully and thoroughly – if in doubt, disclose it.
Medical requirements for a Police Officer include a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) and good eye sight.
The NHS advises that a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 suggests a normal, healthy weight.
BMI standards for Police Officers are set by the Home Office. The current Home Office Circular 59/2004 outlines this as between 18 to 30. Applicants who do not meet this standard may find their application delayed and/or will not be appointed.
You will be required to provide an up to date record of your eye sight from your optician. You will need to be able to read down to the seventh line or further (equates to 6/6), with both eyes, corrected if necessary, and read down to the fourth line or further (equates to 6/12) with either the left or right eye.
You also need at least 120 degrees horizontal field of vision. Abnormal colour vision may be acceptable in some cases, but those that can only see in black and white will be rejected.
You will be asked to complete the bleep test: running between two lines (approximately 15 metres) in time with a series of bleeps. If you arrive at the end line before the bleep sounds you need to wait for
the bleep before resuming running, adjusting your speed. All elements of the fitness test is treated in accordance with Government guidelines and Covid-19 regulations.
The timing between bleeps is slow at first but becomes faster as the test progresses. You will run until you can no longer keep up with the set pace. You will need to reach a minimum of level 5.4 to pass which equates to 35 shuttle runs over a time period of 3 minutes 35 seconds.
You will need a good general level of fitness to pass this test but can prepare beforehand if needed.
Taking part in cardio or aerobic sporting activities for 30 minutes three times a week or more will help you prepare for the level of fitness required. Football, netball, swimming, squash or jogging are good activities to take part in.
Try jogging for 20 minutes or more and as you improve, increase the distance covered in that time. Alternatively jog a set distance from home and back again and try to reduce the time taken to cover the distance. If you are not used to exercise you should start with gentle sessions lasting no more than 15 minutes.
New Specials will take part in a 13 week blended learning programme, including an induction day, distance learning webinars and face to face classroom lessons.
The blended learning will involve webinar learning sessions that can be accessed via PC and/or tablets as well as classroom based practical lessons (evenings and weekends) which will allow for consolidation of knowledge.
You will be encouraged to self-learn and be directed to a portal of interactive learning materials which will include audio notes and electronic student notes.
Specials also undertake six consecutive days of training, which includes Officer Safety Training with police equipment, role plays and practical use of law knowledge.
Attendance at all training sessions is mandatory and may include weekdays so if you are in full time employment you may need to book annual leave to attending the training.
Other mandatory classroom based training includes safeguarding, role play scenarios and Airwave radio training, which is a mix of weekends, weekdays and evening classes. You will be notified of all dates at the beginning of your training. All training undertaken will be in line with government guidelines.
You will need to be able to dedicate a large amount of time to completing your training; roughly 30 hours per month for the duration of the course.
Throughout your initial training you will be assigned a tutor who is a member of staff to help you with any questions that may arise. This can range from keeping progress of your online learning record to uniform queries. Your tutor will make contact with you once you have been accepted on to the initial training and they will be on hand to help until your attestation.
If you successfully pass your initial training, you will be invited to an attestation ceremony where you will be sworn in as a police officer by a magistrate. You will be able to invite family and friends to watch the event.
Your uniform and Warrant card will also be issued to you.
Once you have been attested you will be able to book on duty for your first shift as a police officer.
You’ll then continue your on-going development with mentored, accompanied patrols within our Response Policing and Safer Neighbourhood Teams.
You will be assigned a tutor who will accompany you for each shift, teach you new skills and help you complete your Police Action Checklist (PAC). Your PAC consists of different areas of policing that need to be completed before you are signed off as Fit for Independent Patrol (FIP). These areas include arrest, stop search and traffic offences.
You will never be patrolling on your own before you reach FIP status and even as a FIP officer you will not have to patrol alone.
Following your initial training and your subsequent integration into one of the policing teams, you will be in close contact with a tutor and also be supported by your Special Sergeant and regular colleagues.
We have a welcoming, supportive culture and you will soon feel part of the team, working within the community that you have chosen to serve. You’ll be supported by a friendly team and welcomed, whatever your background.
Policing never stands still, so you are expected to keep yourself abreast of changing law, policy and procedure. There will be various duties and continued training events to assist with the on-going changes.