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Recruitment process

Police officer recruitment process

If you are successful at the application shortlisting stage, you will be invited to attend an interview with two senior officers.

Should you be successful following an interview, you will be invited to a College of Policing assessment centre. The police constable assessment centre comprises four elements:

  • an interview
  • four interactive exercises, such as role play
  • two written exercises
  • two psychometric tests (verbal and numerical).

If you are successful at the assessment centre and achieve a 50 percent or higher pass mark, you will be required to undertake a fitness test and a medical examination.

Fitness test

All new police officers are required to achieve a minimum level of fitness.

Fitness level is tested by measuring cardio vascular efficiency and our requirement is to achieve 5/4 in a bleep test, i.e. to run at level 5 speed for at least four lengths in the test.

You are entitled to three attempts at the fitness test, within 12 months of the assessment centre.

Following this, we require each individual to work towards a fitness level of 7/1 before they complete their probation period.

Medical examination

The medical examination is conducted with an occupational health nurse advisor and a further examination with a force medical advisor. The occupational health nurse will look at:

  • your previous medical history
  • height and weight
  • urine testing
  • hearing test
  • lung function
  • eyesight, including colour blindness – applicants must be able to read the first two lines of an optician’s chart without help.

DNA and fingerprint vetting

All police officer and Special constable applicants are required to have samples of their DNA and fingerprints taken during the recruitment process. This is used for crime scene elimination and to check whether applicants have been involved in any previous crimes before they are officially recruited.


The nature of police work requires good eyesight. Your sight will be tested by distance, near sight and colour vision.

If you don’t pass the eye test, you can ask to postpone your application on medical grounds for six weeks if you choose to undergo refractive surgery.

If you have previously had, or are due to have, eye surgery we will require a report from an optician.


If you have dyslexia, you will be required to include a report with your application confirming your condition so we can take it into account during the selection process and ensure you receive the right support during selection, interview and training.

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Special constable recruitment process

Once your application has been submitted online, it will be reviewed by a member of the recruitment team.

After successfully passing the application shortlisting stage, you will be invited to attend an assessment centre. This will involve a formal interview, written exercise and psychometric (PIRT) tests.

During the interview you will be asked five competency-based questions and assessed on the answers you give. The core competencies include:

  • decision making
  • openness to change
  • service delivery
  • professionalism
  • public service
  • working with others

The PIRT tests involve:

  • verbal usage
  • checking information
  • working with numbers
  • verbal reasoning

On successful completion at the assessment centre you will be required to pass:

  • fitness test
  • medical examination
  • security vetting checks
  • employment references

Once you have satisfactorily completed the pre–employed checks, you will be invited to join the next Special constable intake.

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Recruitment process stages

  • Stage one - Following online application, you will be sent an      email informing you whether or not you have passed the shortlisting stage.

  • Stage two - If successful, you will be invited to attend the      Police Recruit Assessment Centre      (which is held      online due to COVID-19). Here you will undergo tests consisting of:
    • Situational Judgement Test
    • Competency-based Interview
    • Written Exercise
    • Briefing Exercise
  • Stage three - candidates who achieve the pass mark of 50 per cent or above at the national assessment centre will then proceed to the next stage of the recruitment process. Your assessment centre ‘pass’ only remains valid for 24 months from the date of the assessment and this timeframe may only be extended in exceptional circumstances.
  • Stage four - You will be invited to attend an interview with two senior police officers. If successful, candidates will undertake the next stage – pre-employment checks.
  • Stage five - Pre-employment checks, which include security and financial checks, your current and previous employment references (and/or education/character references) covering a five year period.
  • Stage six - The force medical advisor will assess your suitability to be a police officer and you will take a fitness test.
  • Stage seven - When you have successfully passed all of the pre-employment, fitness and medical checks and development course, you will receive your contract of employment via email for your allocated intake.

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Unsuccessful applications

If you’re unsuccessful at any stage of the recruitment process, you will have to wait six months before you re-apply to any force. You will also have to wait six months from the date of rejection before you can re-apply to Cambridgeshire.

If you have any further queries please contact our recruitment team on confident employer



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