Thank you for your interest in applying for a position with us. Due to the nature of policing, our recruitment process may be more comprehensive than others you have experienced.
The application process starts by simply submitting your personal details, qualifications, and experience. Visit our application timeline page to learn more about the stages and predicted timings for completion.
Now that we know you are interested, we will contact you to offer support sessions and send over some help PDF with tips on what is coming next.
You will then progress onto the National SIFT, which is an online process.
National SIFT consists of two exercises to test for competencies and values for the role. You will complete a situational judgement test and a behavioural style questionnaire.
The situational judgement test measures your ability to choose appropriate actions in situations that you could face as a police constable and ability to make effective decisions against the competency and values framework.
If you are successful, you will move onto the Online Assessment Centre (OAC). We will offer you help sessions and give you some of our tips before you attend the OAC so you feel prepared and can do your best.
The OAC consists of a:
You will be asked a series of questions about how you dealt with specific situations in the past. This is your opportunity to provide some examples of the key competencies and values that are important to the PC role.
Police officer competencies
Bedfordshire police offers must be able to show that they have these skills:
Demonstrates a real belief in public service, focusing on what matters to the public and will best serve their interests. Understands the expectations, changing needs and concerns of different communities, and strives to address them. Builds public confidence by talking with people in local communities to explore their viewpoints and break down barriers between them and the police. Understands the impact and benefits of policing for different communities, and identifies the best way to deliver services to them. Works in partnership with other agencies to deliver the best possible overall service to the public.
Positive about change, adapting rapidly to different ways of working and putting effort into making them work. Flexible and open to alternative approaches to solving problems. Finds better, more cost-effective ways to do things, making suggestions for change and putting forward ideas for improvement. Takes an innovative and creative approach to solving problems.
Understands the organisation's objectives and priorities, and how own work fits into these. Plans and organises tasks effectively, taking a structured and methodical approach to achieving outcomes. Manages multiple tasks effectively by thinking things through in advance, prioritising and managing time well. Focuses on the outcomes to be achieved, working quickly and accurately and seeking guidance when appropriate.
Acts with integrity, in line with the values and ethical standards of the Police Service. Takes ownership for resolving problems, demonstrating courage and resilience in dealing with difficult and potentially volatile situations. Acts on own initiative to address issues, showing a strong work ethic and demonstrating extra effort when required. Upholds professional standards, acting honestly and ethically, and challenges unprofessional conduct or discriminatory behaviour. Asks for and acts on feedback, learning from experience and developing own professional skills and knowledge. Remains calm and professional under pressure, defusing conflict and being prepared to step forward and take control when required.
Gathers, verifies and assesses all appropriate and available information to gain an accurate understanding of situations. Considers a range of possible options before making clear, timely, justifiable decisions. Reviews decisions in the light of new information and changing circumstances. Balances risks, costs and benefits, thinking about the wider impact of decisions. Exercises discretion and applies professional judgement, ensuring actions and decisions are proportionate and in the public interest.
Works co-operatively with others to get things done, willingly giving help and support to colleagues. Is approachable, developing positive working relationships. Explains things well, focusing on the key points and talking to people using language they understand. Listens carefully and asks questions to clarify understanding, expressing own views positively and constructively. Persuades people by stressing the benefits of a particular approach, keeps them informed of progress and manages their expectations. Is courteous, polite and considerate, showing empathy and compassion. Deals with people as individuals and addresses their specific needs and concerns. Treats people with respect and dignity, dealing with them fairly and without prejudice regardless of their background or circumstances.
In this exercise you will assume the role of a police officer and complete an urgent written task for your line manager. You will receive items of information to help with the task.
In this exercise you will assume the role of a police constable and deal with issues presented to you. You will need to provide a response to several questions in relation to the issue. Materials will be given to you to help shape your response.
There will also be an in-force interview. This interview will be with a senior officer and a member of the public. They will ask you a series of questions based on the competency framework. We want to know about you - why you want to join, what inspires you and what you want to achieve with policing. It is also an opportunity for you to ask about the force and get to know our officers.
We have help sessions and tips for each element of the process to help you feel comfortable and perform your best at each stage.
Reasonable adjustments and accommodations
Some people taking online assessments need extra help or more time.
If you have any condition that might cause you to be disadvantaged during the online assessment process, temporary or otherwise (for example, pregnancy, injury, medical conditions, disability or neurodivergence such as dyslexia and autism) you may be entitled to accommodation or reasonable adjustment.
Any accommodation or reasonable adjustment provided for the online assessment process will be based on the supporting information provided to your recruiting force in a relevant report, produced by an appropriately qualified professional.
Application and selection process
If invited to interview you will be notified by telephone and email, usually at least seven days before the interview date. You will be required to produce valid identification at the interview (a list of suitable ID will be emailed to you). If your recruitment process includes attendance at an assessment centre all information will be provided via email, for example certain roles may require you to complete a Police Initial Recruitment Test (PIRT) or computer test. Police officer candidates will need to attend a Police online assessment centre.
Officers, detectives and PCSOs need to be able to run after an offender, to help a victim or to a colleague in need. Which is why they need to reach a certain level on the job-related fitness test at the start and throughout their time with us.
To pass the fitness test you will need to reach level 5.4 on the 15m bleep test which is just under 6 minutes of running. Watch our video about the test and our hints and tips to help you prepare.
If you are successful following the selection process you will receive a conditional offer and we will start progressing your pre-employment checks, including: vetting, medical, references and for some roles, a fitness test.
Until these checks are complete you should not hand in your notice with your current employer. For some roles if you are successful at the interview/selection stage you will be advised that you will be placed on a waiting list until the next available intake.
Vetting and what we check
Regardless of which role you are interested in, including regulars, specials, PCSO, staff, agency, volunteers, cadet leaders, cadets, interns, apprentices and those working for us indirectly, like contractors, everyone is required to go through a police vetting process and in some cases, an additional national security vetting process. These processes continue at regular intervals throughout your career.
Vetting by its nature is intrusive into your personal life and varies depending on your role. There are different levels of vetting and/or national security vetting. But vetting is about how we can include you in the workforce, and not about trying to exclude you, unless it’s necessary of course.
If you have not lived in the UK all your life, you (and in some cases your associates) will need to have what is known as a ‘checkable history’, this generally means that you / they must have been resident in the UK for at least the last three years. In some cases this will need to be a longer period and in others it may be a shorter period.
There are four main areas in police vetting;
your criminality / offending (if any) including allegations of criminality / offending. This includes a criminal record check but also, for example, if you were arrested but released with No Further Action. Also a variety of other disposals; Fixed Penalty Notice, Police Information Notice, Penalty Notice for Disorder, etc. Having a criminal record per se, may not be a reason for us to refuse your vetting clearance.
your personal finances. This includes a credit reference check, particularly for county court judgements, individual voluntary arrangement, defaults, arrears, financial association, etc. For your own peace of mind, we suggest you obtain a copy of your credit file from one of the three main credit reference agencies in the UK, so you can understand your own personal financial position.
your online and social media presence, including Facebook, Twitter, etc. Is anything that might reasonably be considered as discriminatory, abusive, oppressive, harassing, bullying, victimising, offensive or otherwise incompatible with policing principles? And any material published online or elsewhere, or offered for publication, that might undermine your own reputation or that of the policing profession or might run the risk of damaging public confidence in the police service?
your association to those involved in offending or past offending (if any) including allegations of criminality / offending. By association we mean the people you live with, your family (parents, children, brothers / sisters, etc) and your friends / acquaintances.
The background checks that we conduct far exceed those conducted for the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). We search many national and local information databases, so it is essential that you are open, honest and transparent with us when completing the initial application form and also the vetting questionnaire form.
This may sound daunting, but we look at each person on a case by case basis. An average 95% of applicants pass our vetting process.
If do not initially pass our vetting process, there is an appeals process. Whilst the success rate varies, on average about 30% - 40% of appeals are successful.
The vetting questionnaire form is fairly lengthy so take your time and allow sufficient time to complete it. You may need to partly save it so you can find specific information and come back to it another time. You must provide complete and accurate information in response to all vetting enquiries. If you fail to tell us about requested information, it is likely to be regarded as evidence of unreliability and will be taken into account in assessing your suitability for clearance.
The questionnaire may be online via a secure weblink that will be sent to you by email, with username and password protection, or via an interactive PDF sent by email. Look out for emails in your Inbox and Spam.