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Application and Recruitment Process

Citizen in PolicingThe interview and selection process is designed to test the following seven core competencies, deemed suitable for the role of a Police Officer which is constantly assessed through the full assessment process.

The seven competencies are:

  • Problem Solving
  • Respect for Race and Diversity
  • Resilience
  • Effective Communication
  • Team Working
  • Customer and Community Focus
  • Personal Responsibility

Stage One – Online Application

You must complete the initial application form online. You may also be subject to preliminary vetting checks at this stage.

Stage Two – Telephone Interview

If your application form is shortlisted to progress to the next stage then you will be offered an initial telephone interview for us to ascertain your suitability to progress to the Special Constabulary Assessment Centre. The interview will assess whether you understand the role of being a Special, the commitments required and your motivation for wanting to do it.

Stage Three - Assessment Centre

You will be invited to attend an Assessment Centre at either Bedfordshire Police Headquarters or Halsey Road Police Station in Kempston. The Assessment Centre will last for approx. half a day consisting of the following assessments:

  • Job Related Fitness Test
  • One group assessment
  • One observational test

Dress code: You will be required to undertake a fitness test as the first stage of the assessment.  Therefore, please arrive at the assessment centre dressed in training/sportswear with sensible footwear appropriate for jogging/running.  Please do not wear fashion trainers, converse or plimsolls as you will not be permitted to participate in any part of the assessment centre.

You must first pass the fitness test in the first instance to progress further through the assessment centre.  If you do not pass the fitness test then you will be provided with feedback and advice and invited to attend a subsequent assessment centre.

You will need to complete all elements of the assessment centre successfully to enable you to progress to the pre-employment checks (vetting, references, medical).

Job Related Fitness Test

You will be asked to complete the bleep test: running between two lines (approximately 15 metres apart) in time with a series of bleeps. If you arrive at the end line before the bleep sounds you need to wait for the bleep before resuming running, adjusting your speed.

The timing between bleeps is slow at first but become faster as the test progresses and it becomes more difficult to keep up with the required speed. You will run until you can no longer keep up with the set pace. You will need to reach a minimum of level 5.4 to pass.

To prepare yourself and improve your stamina you should take part in sporting activities which last 30 minutes or more and get you out of breath such as football, netball or squash or activities which create a large aerobic demand such as jogging, cycling, swimming or rowing.

Try jogging for 20 minutes or more and as you improve, increase the distance covered in that time. Alternatively jog a set distance from home and back again and try to reduce the time taken to cover the distance. You should exercise three times a week for 20 minutes but if you are not used to exercise you should start with gentle sessions lasting no more than 15 minutes. 


View advice and tips about how to improve your fitness in preparation for the Assessment Centre tests.

Stage Four - Training

The Initial Learning for Special Constables (ILSC) is a training programme consisting of training in criminal law, legal powers, traffic offences, policies, procedures, communication and radio use, practical policing skills, IT systems, self-defence and first-aid.

Prior to undertaking any police patrol duties, you will undergo an initial training course. The course is currently delivered over an eight week period which will consist of classroom and computer based learning which cover many aspects of law and procedure.  This will take place on a Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Your Personal Safety training will be delivered on each Saturday during the course.

We are sometimes able to offer a three-week intensive course and the Special Constable Training Officers can provide more information on this course. Options can be discussed once you have successfully completed the Assessment Centre.

There is an attestation at the end of training to mark the successful completion of the course.
After initial training and attestation you will have further training sessions as well as being out on patrol as a Special Constable. During your first 2 years you will be working towards the completion of your Police Action Checklist (PAC). The checklist consists of units which relate to arresting, searching and responding to incidents and needs to be completed before you can patrol independently.

Policing never stands still, so you are expected to keep yourself abreast of changing law, policy and procedure. There will be various duties and continued training events to assist with the ongoing changes.

More information


At this stage you will be required to complete a recruitment vetting e-form which will ask more details about you and those you live with.  You will also be required to undertake biometric vetting, which involves your DNA and fingerprints being obtained. Further details will be provided at the time.


Candidates will be provided with a work health questionnaire that must be completed and sent directly to the Occupational Health Department. A full medical history must be disclosed as failure to do so may result in your application being rejected. Please complete the questionnaire carefully and thoroughly – if in doubt, disclose it.


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