Career Planning

By: Thumalina Rodrigues



In order to work in the police service you must be able to meet the entry requirements. Before you can even apply you must be 18+ and you must be a British, Irish or a Commonwealth citizen. You must be able to pass background and security checks, and give details of any previous convictions. You will need to have a full driving license. Your physically fitness and health level must be great to join. You got to perform the push and pull test where candidates must sit on a special pulling machine and pull and push a bar to a required level again within a certain time. Also you will be asked to run to along a 15 meter track in time with a series of bleeps which become increasingly faster as you go to the next level. You must have good eyesight though wearing glasses may fall within the acceptable limits. If you wear spectacles or contact lenses, or are uncertain about your eyesight standard, it will be necessary to submit an optician's report. Anyone who has a tattoo which could be construed as offensive to any religion or belief, or is in any way discriminatory, violent or intimidating, will not be accepted to join. Tattoos on the face, visible above a collar line or on the hands are not acceptable for any role. All tattoos must be covered up.

Candidates will need to show evidence of the following:

  • Effective communication skills;

  • Community focus;

  • A confident and calm manner;

  • Good literacy skills in order to accurately record details;

  • Team working skills and the ability to work independently;

  • Professionalism, honesty and trustworthiness;

  • Sound judgment and a proper respect for confidentiality;

  • Ability to act with resolve, tolerance and restraint.

You will need a GCSE’s grade C or above or a level 2 functional skills in Math and English. You would also need to be physically healthy in order to carry out duties and you will also need to be examined to ensure you have no serious health problems.


You can apply to become an officer if you are a man or a woman, although, some units recruit men only. To join as a regular soldier you need to be at least 16 years old, although you can start the application process earlier, with your parents' permission. To join a regular officer you need to be between 18 – 25 years and 11 months. You can apply to become a Reservist soldier when you're 17 years and 9 months - ready to start when you turn 18. The Army welcomes applicants from certain countries and overseas territories, but you may need to have lived in the UK for a set period of time to be eligible for certain roles. You need to be fit and healthy Your GP must fill in a medical questionnaire and you will have to pass a full Army medical. The standards fitness to become a soldier you need to go through a range of strength and stamina tests as well as a 1.5-mile run. The standards you need to meet in these tests depend on your choice of unit and job.

You would need to undergo fitness test which are:

  • Beep test- Males: Level 10.2 Females: Level 8.1
  • Sit-ups- Males & Females: 50 in two minutes
  • Press-ups- Males: 44 in two minutes Females: 21 in two minutes
  • 1.5 mile run- Males: 10 min 30 sec Females: 12 min 45 sec

Everyone makes mistakes and a criminal conviction doesn't have to stop you from joining the Army. Be honest about your past history. If your tattoo is offensive, obscene or racist it will prevent you from joining the Army. Small tattoos that aren't offensive in any way are not normally a problem, depending where they are on your body and how visible they are. Tattoos on your head and face are not acceptable. If you've used drugs in the past, it won't normally prevent you from joining the Army, but after you join, you must not misuse drugs. To go from serving soldier to officer, you'll need GCSE's equivalent in 5 subjects, including English Language and Mathematics at Grade C. If you've used drugs in the past, it won't normally prevent you from joining the Army, but after you join, you must not misuse drugs.


The police Service

The application process

stage 1 check out eligibility: if you don't meet any of these criteria it is likely your application form will be rejected.

Stage 2 Attend a Recruiting Information Seminar and sit a suitability test: they do not normally give dates of seminars over the phone unless the request is under reasonable adjustments. You do not need to book a space but it is important that you arrive early as places will be allocated on first come basis.

Officers from the Recruiting Department, and newly appointed officers, will be available to explain the role of a police officer in more detail, and to answer any questions you may have at the end of the two hour presentation. They will also be able to give you practical guidance on the application form, which you will receive only if you pass the suitability test. Usually the test consists of maths and spelling questions. You can re sit the suitability test as often as you like by attending a recruitment seminar.

Application forms to successful candidates are posted usually within 48 hours of sitting the suitability test.

Stage 3: Complete a competency based application form

The application form has been carefully designed nationally and has been pre-tested to ensure it is fair to everyone.

Your answers here will be used to decide whether your application will proceed to the next stage. It is important therefore to think carefully about your answers. Each competency question asks you to provide detailed examples of situations from your recent past experience.

In all parts of the application please write clearly and concisely. Your spelling, grammar, handwriting and punctuation are assessed. You could be rejected if your written work is difficult to understand, spelling is poor, or if you have more then 10 spelling or grammatical errors.

Write your answers in draft before completing your application. The application must be all your own work. Be honest and expect to be questioned on any answers that you give.

Read and follow all the instructions that accompany the application form and ensure you return the application form within the time stated on the covering letter. You should normally get the results in approximately four weeks from the closing date.

Stage 4: Fitness test and assessment centre workshop: It is a good idea to prepare for your fitness test as soon as possible. You may also be invited to an assessment centre workshop which will give you more information on what is involved at the assessment centre and how to plan for it.

Stage 5: Assessment Centre

The Assessment Centre is a series of written and verbal tests designed to determine skill and education level.

You will be assessed on identified as being essential to the role as a police officer. These are:

  • Effective Communication
  • Customer and Community Focus
  • Personal responsibility
  • Team working
  • Respect for diversity
  • Resilience
  • Problem solving

The exercises you will undertake are as follows: - A competency-based interview lasting 20 minutes - four questions will be asked giving you five minutes per question. - Two written exercises - you will have 20 minutes per exercise. - Four interactive (role play) exercises - 5 minutes per role-play. - Numerical test lasting 12 minutes. - Verbal Logical Reasoning test lasting 25 minutes. - Respect for Diversity will be assessed in all exercises.

The overall pass mark is 60%, however you also need to meet the pass mark in the three main categories of Respect for Race and Diversity, Written Communication and Oral Communication.

If you fail to attend the assessment centre on the date allotted, you may not be eligible to re-sit it on another date.

Stage 6: Force interview board

The interview will usually comprise of a panel of two members of the police force and will last approximately 45 minutes where you will be asked competency based questions.

Stage 7: Medical/eyesight/security checks

The next stage is to look at your medical and eyesight with our Force Medical Advisor and Nurse which may involve requesting additional information and tests from your GP.

Security checks are carried out on yourself, partner, close family and anyone else living at your address.

Stage 8: References

If you pass your medical we will request references. The references must cover five years and we will obtain a reference from your current employment after seeking your permission. We may also need to obtain character and/or education references.

Stage 9: Appointment and 17 Weeks Training Phase

Once you have completed all of the recruitment stages you will be issued with a letter of appointment and information on your initial 17 week, non-residential training programme.

We reserve the right to alter the order of the above stages if required due to operational reasons. You can only apply to one Force at a time. If you fail any stage after receipt of the application form then you will have to wait six months before re-applying

The Army

Step1: Choosing a role

Step2: Interviews and recruitment tests

Once you have submitted your application, you will be invited to an initial interview where you will speak with an Army Careers Adviser. They will be able to answer any questions you may still have about joining the Army, check that you are suitable, and give you any necessary advice on how to prepare for your new Army career. Interviews with Army Careers Advisers are important during the selection process, as it allows them to find out more about you, decide whether this is the path for you and help guide you into the right role. Don't forget that this is a 2-way process, so try not to feel nervous and ask them all the questions you have - they will do their best to answer them so you feel ready for the next stage. During your first formal interview, you will be asked about you’re: Physical fitness, Achievements and Interests Remember - they are not there to catch you out. So answer confidently and honestly, and be enthusiastic.

Step3: The selection process

Providing you pass all the required standards, you will then be invited for a 2 day stint at an Army Development and Selection Centre (ADSC).This is intended to assess your potential to be a soldier. You will also undergo a medical examination to ensure you are fit and healthy enough to begin your Phase 1 Initial Training. A part of your time at the ADSC will be spent completing the following tests: Fitness, Memory and Teamwork

Step 4: Initial training

Once you have finished your session at the Army Selection Centre, you will be given a grade. This impacts on how long you will have to wait to be invited to start your Initial Training. In addition to this, your final role depends on the number of places the Army has available for each specific trade. Don't worry though - at this stage you will have the opportunity to sit down and talk through your options with an Army Careers Adviser.

Step 5: Trade training

When you have completed your Initial Training, you will be considered as a fully-trained soldier, which allows you to start your specialist training at one of the Army's dedicated centers. Here you will be taught all the skills you need to perform your first job in the Army.


The Police Service

One of the skill that you are required to go in police service is behaviour. If you behave badly to the public they might see the service as unprofessional. You must consider your behaviour and its impact on others and if the public lose faith in a service they may lose respect for them and the work they do.

Another skill that you are required to go into police service is cooperation. Police service would work efficiently with other services to achieve a common goal. The police service will cooperate with each other physically and mentally in order to complete a task quickly, particularly if someone’s life depends on it.

Another skill that you are required to go into police service is problem solving. The police service will think on their feet by finding solutions even in the most difficult of situations. The police service must be able to solve problems quickly and are able to agree on solutions such as if there was a disagreement over a task then the police must be able to discuss the problem and find a way where they can agree on the same thing.

One of the quality that you are required to go in police service is leadership. An effective leader must be able to lead the team to achieve goals in an effective and motivating way. To be an effective leader you must be able to remember that you are part of the team too, be approachable and encourage your team, be confident in your abilities and those of your team, looking after your team by ensure they receive the correct training and their welfare is looked after, reflect on the progress of the team and making changes if appropriate, be inspiring so others may follow your lead through example and loyalty.

Another quality that you are required to go into police service is combining individual skills. It is important that every team member plays a part and that the individual skill they bring to the team are used effectively to make the team a success. For example in the police service an officer may have undertaken additional medical training that could be used in an incident with large number of casualties.

Another quality that you are required to go into police service is achieving aims. It is important that every member of the team is aware of what these are so that everyone is working towards a common goal. Police services are usually set aims, objectives and goals, this then makes achieving the aims much easier.