I was considering going in for it, I have been told I can do part 1 during probation but obviously have to wait till end of probation before acting up or going for part 2 etc.
Does anyone else have to do a pre part 1 exam? or is it just my force?
You have to have served 2 years and be confirmed in post by the 30th November of the year in which you take the exam (I'm sure it used to be October though) in order to be eligible to take the exam.
If BTP uses the new NPPF method of promotion (workplace assessments rather than Part 2) then part of that framework has a suitability check prior to taking Part 1. as part of the full OSPRE method of promotion some forces might require a suitability check before allowing your application for Part 1, though that's not part of the national procedure and therefore an pre-exam-exam isn't something that's required in my force or most others as far as I'm aware.
No you pass part 1 and then have to take part 2.
If there are no vacancies then if an opportunity comes up you might be asked to "Act Up" so will take in a Sgt role, but still be on your PC pay.
Or if there are no posts, and no option to act you up stay as a PC until there is.
If you Act up then you get paid pro-rata at the lowest sergeants pay scale, but only after you've done X hours Acting (I think it's 120 hours in my force, and I'm not sure if it varies from force to force or not?). It can be a decent amount of money obviously if you've not made it to top wack PC yet - I've had some very healthy pay packets from it! If you're made Temporary then you get paid from the outset at Sergeants rates starting at the lowest pay point and moving up the scale as you do more than a year etc (and stints as Temporary accrue, so if you do 100 days Temporary then go back to pc for a while and do 400 days as Temporary you'll have moved to year 2 on the pay scales for Sergeant and that will continue when you're made Substantive).
Also, when you're made Temporary you hold the rank of Sergeant which is why you can carry out the role of Custody Officer where if you're Acting you're only carrying out the duties of a Sergeant while still holding the rank of Constable and therefore can't (although I think some forces have in the past allowed this, despite the law!).