Career Planning for Public Services

The Selection and Qualities Required in the Public Service.


Age to Join the Police

You have to be 18 years old to be able to apply and join the Police Service in the UK.

Age to Join the Fire Service

You have to be 17.5 years old to be able to apply and join the Fire Service in the UK.

Police Educational Requirements

You must have at least a minimum of a level 3 qualification, for example, an A Level or L3 NVQ or equivalent. You must have atleast 300 UCAS points.

Fire Educational Requirements

You need to have a GCSE equivalent grade.

Some Brigades require you to take the Level 2 Award/Certificate/Diploma in Fire and Rescue Services in the Community.

Police Physical Requirements

You have to do a fitness test, which is a 15 metre straight line and you have to run to each side before the bleep goes of. You have to get to a level of 5 to pass.

Fire Physical Requirements

You will be required to do these tests:

  1. Ladder Climb
  2. Casualty Evacuation
  3. Ladder Lift / Lower Simulation
  4. Enclosed Spaces
  5. Equipment Assembly
  6. Equipment Carry

You will need to pass all of these to join.

Police Medical Requirements

All medical criteria will be checked – including eyesight, hearing and Body Mass Index; BMI must be at least 18 and no more than 30. You need to pass these to join.

Fire Medical Requirements

You need Hearing Test, Step Test, Lung Function, Physical Stamina, General Tests and Chest X-Ray. If you pass these you will be able to join.


There are two different types of application forms:

The first one is Online Application Form. With an online application form you can download it to your computer and edited and spell check it on word, some sites let you store the form online and you can come back and edit it whenever you feel like it. Sometimes Online Application forms can be harder than paper forms.

The second one is a Paper Application Form. With a Paper Application Form you print it of the computer and fill it out by hand. But if you make a mistake you will have to print a new one out. When you are filling out this form you may be asked to fill it out in block capitals but some employers ask you not to so they can see you hand writing. You must write in black ink for this.

For both of these application forms you must tell the truth and not lie as you could get disciplined or not get the job at all.

The selection process for the UK Police Service is:

  1. You should read on the website to check if you eligible to join the police, this will have information on it like age, place of origin and more about what the police will check for.
  2. Attend a Recruiting Information Seminar and sit a suitability test, the seminar also has discussions and presentations of the role of Special Constable, you also get to meet some people who have the job you want.
  3. Compete a competency based application form, this will determine whether you will go on to the next stage as many of the questions are difficult to answer and you have to give examples on when you have done certain things.
  4. You will have to do a fitness test and assessment center workshop, the fitness test is a test where your fitness will be tested to a high level, you will do the bleep test, grip test, press up test, push up test and many other fitness related tests. The Assessment Center Workshop is a session which will prepare you for the Assessment Center and give an idea of what you will have to do and know.
  5. You will have to go to the assessment center where you will have many assessments such as Effective Communication, Customer and Community Focus, Personal Responsibility, Team Working, Respect for Diversity, Resilience and Problem Solving. You will also do role play and have a 20 minute interview. You will need to get an overall mark of 60% to pass this stage.
  6. You will need to have a Force Based Interview which usually has 2 police staff which normally lasts for 45 minutes, you will be asked competency based questions.
  7. On the next stage you will have a medical test to see if you are eligible to join if you have any illnesses, an eye sight test to see if your eyes are healthy enough to join and finally security checks to see if you have any previous criminal activity which the police may be concerned with.
  8. If you pass all your medical tests you will have to send in references, your reference must cover five years and one must be from your current employer, you must ask the person who will write its permission before you put their name down to do it. In some cases the Police will ask for Character and/or Education Reference.
  9. If you have passed all of the stages you will get a letter of appointment which will give you information about the the initial 17 week non residential training program. When you start the program you will get paid full salary.

The selection Process for the UK Fire Service is:

  1. You fill in the Application Form either online or in paper form and send it to the Fire Service.
  2. You will get a letter for an Interview, you then attend the interview and answer questions in front of 2 Fire Service personnel.
  3. You will be invited to attend a Written Assessment and answer questions on scenarios.
  4. You will have a Medical Test where you eyes and fitness is up to standard.
  5. You will be invited to attend a swimming Test where you will dive and jump into water, swim 50 meters in under 70 seconds and other swimming related tests
  6. You will attend the Occupational Ability Assessment Stage where you will do many tests such as the ladder clime, casualty evacuation and ladder lift.
  7. You will go to Final Assessments where several activities will happen such as Role Play activities, Group Discussion and Personality Questionnaires.
  8. You will receive a letter which is called Offer of Employment which will give you a date and time to arrange when you will be starting.



You need good Teamwork Skills to be in the Police Service as may be required to work with other Officers to look through files and find personal information of a suspect or witness.

You need good Self Confidence to be in the Police Service as you may have to interview a witness or suspect and may will have to get them to give a witness statement or statement.

You need Excellent communication skills to be in the Police Service as you may be in pursuit of a suspect and may have to work with other officers to locate and stop/arrest the suspect.


You need good Community Interest to be in the Police Service so you know where drugs are sold, or other criminal activity. You may also need it so you can get information from people which is relevant to a case you or a fellow officer is working on.

You need to have Commitment to be in the Police Service so you put all you effort into a case and into your job in general so you get the best outcomes.

You need good Initiative in the Police Service so if you see something what looks suspicious you go over and see what is going on and maybe get an arrest.