College of Policing

Prepare for the College of Policing recruitment process with tailor-made practice materials.

College of Policing Aptitude Tests

Careers with the College of Policing

If you're a natural problem-solver, thrive when challenged and are motivated by the thought of keeping your community safe, pursuing a career in the police force may be a great career match for you.

Founded in 2021, the College of Policing now employ over 600 people across England and Wales. The organisation is an independent professional body and supports the professional development of individuals working in the forces, sets standards and shares knowledge across all policing sectors.

The College of Policing is known for its comprehensive development schemes, regardless of what level you are at in your career. On top of this, the organisation offers good employee benefits packages, diverse networks, and inclusive and accessible recruitment processes across a wide range of rewarding careers.

Types of College of Policing Jobs

The College of Policing recruits for all types of roles which go beyond the traditional Police Officer and PCSOs you might expect - although they do recruit for these positions. Roles that require alternative skill sets include Crime Analysts, Communications Officers, Command and Dispatch Roles, Prosecution File Preparation Officers and Human Resources.

How to Get a Job With the College of Policing

There are three main routes to joining the police force in the UK. Firstly, via an apprenticeship (PCDA), secondly by the degree-holder entry programme (DHEP) or thirdly the 'traditional' initial police programme (IPLDP).

Regardless of route, you will participate in a multi-stage online assessment referred to as 'sift' that offers the hiring force an objective view of your competencies relevant to becoming an officer.

College of Policing Application Process

Joining the police force has a high responsibility attached to it. This is why the college of policing has developed a practical and unbiased approach to its recruitment to ensure they proceed with the most adept candidates for a job in the police force.

The recruitment procedure comprises of an online application, online aptitude tests and following this, final assessment exercises which all create a picture of your strengths. By familiarising yourself with each stage, you will be more likely to succeed.

Online Application

As with many jobs, you will initially complete an online application form where you will upload your CV along with personal details and some screening questions that will determine which recruitment route you will take - PCDA, DHEP or IPLDP.

Though this stage is reasonably standardised, don't become complacent. Attention to detail is a core skill required of anyone joining the police force, spend some extra time combing through your application, ensuring everything is correct and where appropriate allow your passion for joining the police force to shine through.

Online Tests

Right at the beginning of the application process, you will undertake several online aptitude tests. The College of Policing uses these to objectively identify where candidates' strengths lie. From here they can shortlist candidates, being sure to progress those that are well suited to a career in the police.

While these may vary depending on the force, application route or role, the following tests can be expected across the board.

Situational Judgement Test

The situational judgement test (SJT) is designed to measure your ability to take appropriate actions in realistic policing situations. The College of Policing has a specific competency and values framework you will be measured against, so be sure to study this in detail and come to understand the ethical guidelines you would be expected to uphold as a police officer.

Police SJTs are 12 questions long and candidates are given 2 hours to complete them. Whilst they're not made to be challenging, they can be confusing if you aren't familiar with them. Practising free online SJTs is a great way to prepare for your College of Policing application.

Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning tests assess your ability to comprehend and analyse written passages of information, as well your grasp of the English language. You'll be presented with various paragraphs of text, which is followed by a statement relating to the information. You're required to determine whether the statement is true, implied truth or false. College of Policing uses this to highlight candidates with strong communication and comprehension skills, all essential for any future in policing.

Expect 'distractors' within the questions that can throw you off. Focus on extracting the key information each question is asking for.

Numerical Reasoning

Some level of mathematics is required in any job, policing too. Numerical reasoning testsare designed to challenge your mathematical skills.

You'll be presented with several questions to complete in 23 minutes. The assessment will test your core mathematical skills such as subtraction, addition, multiplication, division, ratios and percentages, and crucially incorporate your ability to interpret data effectively.

The timed nature of the test will require you to work with speed and accuracy. So we'd definitely recommend brushing up on some of your core maths skills.

Online Assessment Exercises

If you meet the benchmark criteria for the online aptitude tests, you will progress through to the final online assessment exercises. This will include a Competency-Based Interview (CBI), Written Exercise and Briefing Exercise.

All three assessments are far more specific to the role of a police officer, incorporating role-play and experiential response styled questions for the College of Policing to gain a richer understanding of how you would behave and develop as an employee.

Competency-Based Interview

Firstly, you will undertake a Competency-Based Interview (CIB) which lasts approximately 40 minutes. The interview is made up of five pre-recorded questions, you will be given 60 seconds to prepare a response and then up to 5 minutes to record your response.

The interview allows you to demonstrate how aligned to the competency and values framework you are by using personal experience, think about referencing specific areas such as ownership, inclusivity and integrity.

To avoid getting flustered when answering, follow the failproof STAR method to respond. Outline a situation, task, action and result to submit coherent, impactful responses.

Written Exercise

In this assessment, you will be required to immerse yourself in a role-play frame of mind. You'll be assuming the role of a police officer and given four pieces of information to complete a written task, set by your line manager.

You will have 2 hours to complete your written assignment, and must remember that this is a role-play scenario, so whilst good grammar and vocabulary will be useful, the main purpose of the assessment is to understand how you would employ critical analysis, collaboration and objectivity to produce a high-quality report.

Briefing Exercise

Similar to the written exercise, you will be playing the part of a police officer. But this time you will be expected to verbally respond to four-eight questions. You will be given information relating to a hypothetical situation which will take around 10 minutes to read carefully.

When asked questions relating to the information, you will be given 60 seconds to formulate an answer and three minutes to record it via video. Remember, you are being given this information for a reason, focus on the detail and avoid embellishing or paraphrasing.


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