What’s the process?

We aren’t going to lie – applying to join us is a fairly long and challenging process compared to some other jobs. It’s a bit more involved than sending in a CV, having an interview and finding out if you’ve got the job.

There’s additional steps like assessments and vetting in our application and selection process, but you probably aren’t surprised to hear that if you’re considering a career in policing.

It takes time to make sure we are getting the best people who are capable of delivering a police service we can all be proud of.

Please note...
Both our student officer entry programmes are currently closed for applications as we are over subscribed. Please register your interest below and we will be in touch when we reopen for applications.

We are proud to say that our selection process is robust and fair. We have designed our processes to get the best from you and give you the opportunity to demonstrate your values, experience and competencies in a variety of ways. You do not need any experience or qualifications related to policing to be successful through this process.

It is important for us to be transparent with you and make you aware that the process can take several months to complete but we are committed to keeping you updated at every stage. Have a look at this recruitment timeline:

We only ask for information that we require so it is really important you follow the guidance at each stage and include the information requested.

The regular stages involved in our recruitment and selection are outlined below, however please note that part of our process has had to change as a result of restrictions in place as part of the response to Covid 19.

In 2020 we were chosen as the first force to trial an online assessment centre, provided by the College of Policing. This is now part of our normal business, with all of our PC applicants going through the online assessment centre from now on.

As a result of the changes to our recruitment processes, we have extended the validity of SEARCH / Online Assessment Centre results to 24 months. We’ve also shortened the time that applicants have to wait before applying again if they have scored 45% or higher. Anyone in this situation can retake their assessment after three months rather than six.

Online Assessment Centre

Please note – this replaces stage 3 of the previous six-stage recruitment process, which is detailed below. You will only be invited to complete this assessment if you pass our Values Based Assessment.

In response to this, the College of Policing developed an online assessment process that enables effective assessment of the required competencies and values that are important for Police Constables, and meets the current standards for assessing new recruits.

To ensure consistency and fairness to candidates the online assessment process will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

The online process allows us to continue recruitment without face-to-face contact while social distancing measures are required. It also enables secure online assessment to be part of an efficient and user-friendly candidate journey in the future. The process incorporates a progressive sifting approach to effectively identify those most suitable for the role of a police officer.

Online process – the details:

The online assessment process consists of two stages designed for the efficient assessment and recruitment of police constables. They are:

1 – Competency-based interview

You will be asked a series of questions about how you have dealt with specific situations in the past. This is your opportunity to provide some examples of the key competencies and values that are important for police constables. You can use examples from both your work and your personal life. If you have completed stage 1, you will be required to take stage 2 immediately upon completion.

2 – Written assessment and briefing exercise

2a – Written assessment – In this exercise, you will assume the role of a police constable and will have to complete an urgent written task for your line manager. You will receive four items of information to help you with this task.

2b – Briefing exercise – In this exercise, you will assume the role of a police constable and will have responsibility for dealing with some issues presented to you. You will be tasked with providing a response to a number of questions in relation to this issue. You will be provided with preparation materials to consider your answer.

Please note that you will receive and be able to take the assessments for 2a and 2b separately.

The below film explains the online process in more detail, however West Midlands Police is not using the Situational Judgement Test, which is explained in this film, as we already use a separate assessment, which is detailed below under the box for Stage 2.

Required Technology

You can complete the exercises on any internet-enabled device with a camera (laptop, tablet or phone), but to ensure full compatibility with the online platform, the following should be set up.

Your operating system should be Windows 7 (or higher) or Mac OS 10.11 (or higher).

Your browser should be the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari (Apple products only). You should have the latest version of Adobe Flash installed, and you require a webcam and microphone to record responses.

For further information on the recruitment process, please refer to the College’s online assessment candidate FAQ.

  • Stage 1 - Application Form

    Stage 1 - Application Form

    The first stage of the process is to complete an online application form to join as a police officer with West Midlands Police.

    Before you begin your application please make sure that you have read through the relevant pages on the website to gain a full understanding of the role, expectations, eligibility criteria and assessment process.

    There are a number of items you will need to hand when you complete your application:

    • Details of your Level 2 qualifications in English and Maths plus scans of those certificates ready to upload to your application. Please click here to check your qualification are at the required level
    • Details of your Level 3 qualifications that equate to 64 UCAS points or more plus scans of those certificates ready to upload to your application. Please click here to view the UCAS Tariff Calculator and if you still aren‘t sure check out our FAQs
    • Details of any qualifications you have achieved at Level 4 or above (only if applicable for you)
    • Pictures of any tattoos on your hands, face or neck ready to upload to your application. You will need two photos for each tattoo, one close up showing the detail and a second from further away to enable us to see the position on the body
    • Basic details of your education history - for example where you studied and when
    • Details of your employment history including companies, roles and the dates you started and left
    • If you require any reasonable adjustments due to a disability, please have a scanned copy of a medical report that supports any adjustments

    Our application form asks for quite a lot of detail, please make sure that you fully complete it, including attachments, within 10 days of starting it. This will allow us to assess your eligibility to join us and ensure there are no unnecessary delays for you throughout the selection process.

  • Stage 2 - Online Assessment

    Stage 2 - Online Assessment

    The online assessment consists a ‘values based questionnaire’. We use a platform provided by an organisation called Tazio to conduct this stage. You will need a mobile phone, tablet or a computer with a camera to complete this part.

    You will receive a separate link to your usual application login for this part of the application.

    Our online values based questionnaire looks to assess your values in action and how you make decisions in given circumstances. You will not have to prepare for the online assessment; these will be completed online in your home (or convenient place of your choice, such as a library). You do not need any policing experience to do well in the assessment.

    These assessments are based around the College of Policing ‘Competency and Values Framework’ at level 1; you can find out more about this framework and the values within it by clicking here. We would recommend you view this information before you begin your assessment.

  • Stage 3 - SEARCH® Assessment Centre

    Stage 3 - SEARCH® Assessment Centre

    The Police SEARCH® Assessment Centre is a rigorous and standardised process involving observation of your performance across a variety of exercises, to assess your potential to perform the role of a police constable effectively. All police forces, with the exception of the Metropolitan Police Service, require candidates to pass this process to become a police constable; SEARCH® assessment scores are valid for 12 months.

    You can find out lots of information about the Police SEARCH® Assessment Centre on the College of Policing’s website here.

    If you have recently attended a SEARCH assessment centre and were unsuccessful you will need to wait a period of 6 months to be able to retake the tests.

  • Stage 4 - Vetting, Medical and Fitness

    Stage 4 - Vetting, Medical and Fitness

    Background Vetting

    To be a police officer you need to go through security vetting and counter terrorism clearance. You will be required to complete information regarding yourself, your parents and family and any close associations that you have that may make you vulnerable as a Police officer (for example - a friend who you know has a criminal history who you see frequently).

    We ask that you are honest on these forms as anything missed off will result in failure to obtain the required clearances and your application maybe discontinued at this point. If you are honest about your information each individual is looked at on a case by case basis and it may not affect your application.

    Your financial position will also be assessed.

    Medical and Fitness

    You will be required to complete a medical history questionnaire (signed by your GP) and attend a medical examination which includes a pre-employment drugs screening. Our Occupational Health department will assess your suitability to carry out the role you have applied for. This may include a medical report request from your family GP.

    The fitness test, also known as the bleep test, is a continuous series of shuttle runs between the two lines, 15 metres apart. The time allowed to run the distance is indicated by an audible “bleep”, and the interval reduces over time, so that the runs have to become progressively faster. There is a standard national achievement level required of a minimum of four shuttles at level 5 to pass.

    You will also have a drugs test - for this you will be required to provide a saliva, urine and hair / fingernail sample.

    Biometrics

    You will attend a biometric appointment at your fitness assessment where your DNA and fingerprints will be taken to make checks against appropriate databases and eliminate you from future crime scenes should you be successful and appointed.

  • Stage 5 - Initial Needs Assessment

    Stage 5 - Initial Needs Assessment

    You will attend an Initial Needs Assessment (INA) with our partner university to check your eligibility for the apprenticeship programme. This will include double checking your Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications and also any prior knowledge, skills and behaviours in relation to policing. Don‘t worry, you aren‘t expected to have those skills at this point, it‘s just to make sure you don‘t already have competence in this area. If you are joining us on the graduate programme, this will involve checking the relevance and content of your already held degree.

  • Stage 6 - References

    Stage 6 - References

    Once you have given us permission to do so, we will contact you referees. We will require a total of three references; one of which will be your most recent employer or volunteer placement, or if you haven‘t yet been employed / volunteered, the last educational establishment you studied at.

  • Stage 1 Application Form
  • Stage 2 Online Assessment
  • Stage 3 Search Recruit Assessment Centre
  • Stage 4 Vetting, Medical and Fitness
  • Stage 5 Initial Needs Assessment with Staffordshire University
  • Stage 6 References

Stage 1 - Application Form

The first stage of the process is to complete an online application form to join as a police officer with West Midlands Police.

Before you begin your application please make sure that you have read through the relevant pages on the website to gain a full understanding of the role, expectations, eligibility criteria and assessment process.

There are a number of items you will need to hand when you complete your application:

  • Details of your Level 2 qualifications in English and Maths plus scans of those certificates ready to upload to your application. Please click here to check your qualification are at the required level
  • Details of your Level 3 qualifications that equate to 64 UCAS points or more plus scans of those certificates ready to upload to your application. Please click here to view the UCAS Tariff Calculator and if you still aren‘t sure check out our FAQs
  • Details of any qualifications you have achieved at Level 4 or above (only if applicable for you)
  • Pictures of any tattoos on your hands, face or neck ready to upload to your application. You will need two photos for each tattoo, one close up showing the detail and a second from further away to enable us to see the position on the body
  • Basic details of your education history - for example where you studied and when
  • Details of your employment history including companies, roles and the dates you started and left
  • If you require any reasonable adjustments due to a disability, please have a scanned copy of a medical report that supports any adjustments

Our application form asks for quite a lot of detail, please make sure that you fully complete it, including attachments, within 10 days of starting it. This will allow us to assess your eligibility to join us and ensure there are no unnecessary delays for you throughout the selection process.

Stage 2 - Online Assessment

The online assessment consists a ‘values based questionnaire’. We use a platform provided by an organisation called Tazio to conduct this stage. You will need a mobile phone, tablet or a computer with a camera to complete this part.

You will receive a separate link to your usual application login for this part of the application.

Our online values based questionnaire looks to assess your values in action and how you make decisions in given circumstances. You will not have to prepare for the online assessment; these will be completed online in your home (or convenient place of your choice, such as a library). You do not need any policing experience to do well in the assessment.

These assessments are based around the College of Policing ‘Competency and Values Framework’ at level 1; you can find out more about this framework and the values within it by clicking here. We would recommend you view this information before you begin your assessment.

Stage 3 - SEARCH® Assessment Centre

The Police SEARCH® Assessment Centre is a rigorous and standardised process involving observation of your performance across a variety of exercises, to assess your potential to perform the role of a police constable effectively. All police forces, with the exception of the Metropolitan Police Service, require candidates to pass this process to become a police constable; SEARCH® assessment scores are valid for 12 months.

You can find out lots of information about the Police SEARCH® Assessment Centre on the College of Policing’s website here.

If you have recently attended a SEARCH assessment centre and were unsuccessful you will need to wait a period of 6 months to be able to retake the tests.

Stage 4 - Vetting, Medical and Fitness

Background Vetting

To be a police officer you need to go through security vetting and counter terrorism clearance. You will be required to complete information regarding yourself, your parents and family and any close associations that you have that may make you vulnerable as a Police officer (for example - a friend who you know has a criminal history who you see frequently).

We ask that you are honest on these forms as anything missed off will result in failure to obtain the required clearances and your application maybe discontinued at this point. If you are honest about your information each individual is looked at on a case by case basis and it may not affect your application.

Your financial position will also be assessed.

Medical and Fitness

You will be required to complete a medical history questionnaire (signed by your GP) and attend a medical examination which includes a pre-employment drugs screening. Our Occupational Health department will assess your suitability to carry out the role you have applied for. This may include a medical report request from your family GP.

The fitness test, also known as the bleep test, is a continuous series of shuttle runs between the two lines, 15 metres apart. The time allowed to run the distance is indicated by an audible “bleep”, and the interval reduces over time, so that the runs have to become progressively faster. There is a standard national achievement level required of a minimum of four shuttles at level 5 to pass.

You will also have a drugs test - for this you will be required to provide a saliva, urine and hair / fingernail sample.

Biometrics

You will attend a biometric appointment at your fitness assessment where your DNA and fingerprints will be taken to make checks against appropriate databases and eliminate you from future crime scenes should you be successful and appointed.

Stage 5 - Initial Needs Assessment

You will attend an Initial Needs Assessment (INA) with our partner university to check your eligibility for the apprenticeship programme. This will include double checking your Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications and also any prior knowledge, skills and behaviours in relation to policing. Don‘t worry, you aren‘t expected to have those skills at this point, it‘s just to make sure you don‘t already have competence in this area. If you are joining us on the graduate programme, this will involve checking the relevance and content of your already held degree.

Stage 6 - References

Once you have given us permission to do so, we will contact you referees. We will require a total of three references; one of which will be your most recent employer or volunteer placement, or if you haven‘t yet been employed / volunteered, the last educational establishment you studied at.