Stage 1 - Application form & CBQ

Apply now buttonDuring the recruitment window, you will be able to complete the national police officer application form. The closing date for completed applications is Wednesday 31 January 2018 at 11:55pm.

You will need to submit original certificates, exam slips or letters from the relevant educational establishment as proof of your qualification.

If you have any tattoos, please ensure you enclose a photograph of them as per the application form guidelines.

Any mistakes/errors cannot be rectified, therefore you should ensure the information you enter is accurate at the time of submitting.

Competency Based Questionnaire (CBQ) - Hints and tips

Four competency based questions

There are four competency based questions and the spelling, grammar and punctuation throughout the application must be excellent, as this is marked as part of the paper sift process.

The personal qualities tested are:


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.

Working with others

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.

Decision making

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. Exercise discretion and applies professional judgement, ensuring actions and decisions are proportionate and in the public interest.

Service delivery

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.

Answering the questions

Each question asks you to provide an example of a specific occasion from recent or past experience either work or personal life.

It is important that you use real examples of situations that you have been involved in so that the Force can see, in as much detail as possible, exactly how your behaved. If necessary, you should quote exactly what was said.

Generalisations about what you usually do, what you did on a number of occasions, or what the group/team has done previously will not score well.

We need to know what part you played on that occasion that is over and above what you would normally do.

Example - Question 1

Please describe a specific occasion when you have intervened to take control of a situation. Why was it necessary to intervene in the situation?

Use an example that you found difficult or challenging to deal with, which is not normally your role or responsibility to take control of. The strongest candidates will be able to provide an account whereby he or she has encountered a challenging scenario, in their workplace, in their club or society or on the streets.

A situation should then be described where there are differing options. For instance:

Before completing the competency based questions through the recruitment portal, start by:


*All candidates are assessed under national guidelines, on our behalf, by an approved external company.

*On a yearly basis, the College of Policing review how the Competency Based Questionnaire is scored, which can have the potential to change scores significantly. Therefore, a Competency Based Questionnaire scored on one occasion can achieve different marks if scored at a later date. Please note, it is good practice to review the evidence you are giving relates to the skill area the question is asking for. You also need to make sure you have provided everything that is being asked for and in as much detail as possible.

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