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Crunch time

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Hey guys, so I’ve been holding off writing for a few days so I could report on my Assessment day with Staffs Police. I expect you’ve read other blogs on the same topic, but here’s my contribution. Please remember that you’re asked to sign a confidentiality form, so I won’t be revealing any details of the questions asked. I also have some news about the blog, and I’d appreciate your input.

So, I had a fire drill at twenty to six in the morning. Not the best start to possibly the most important day of my life so far…(fortunately, as a drummer I brought my ear defenders with me to uni- the high pitched, loud and continuous tone didn’t bother me ;)). I woke up, put on my best suit and set off for the train station. On the way, being panicky I received a phone call from a fellow student who is currently a serving special for Herts. He was kind enough to give me a lot of help in regards to my interview questions and examples, which I’ll get around to later.

Having caught the train, and being desperate, but failing, to start up a conversation with a couple of BTP officers on the station platform, I jumped in a taxi and arrived at Staffs Police HQ.

It was the wrong one.

There a two HQ’s/stations in Stafford, but on the map only one is marked as the HQ. Luckily I realised this with enough to time to get taken to the correct location, with time to spare. It was nearly a costly mistake.

I signed myself in at 10 to 1 and took a seat next to another young lad, who was doing a policing course, where one of the requirements is to be a special constable for two years.

One of the assessors came along and took us into a room upstairs, where she proceeded to inform us about the day, asked us to sign confidentiality agreements, and got us started on our 20 minute written test. I felt I did quite well with this and managed to cover what they asked, however I feel that I may have missed out on a covering a couple of the core competencies with my answer.

This would become a common theme throughout my day, but I expect it was mostly nerves and paranoia. I had the mindset that, while I’d try and hit as many of the positive indicators as possible I’d still be true to myself. I wouldn’t say I’d do something that as an officer I wouldn’t. Fortunately this wasn’t really relevant for me.

After around and hour or so, at around 2 we moved into another block for, yes, the dreaded interview. I was in the second group of four who would get interviewed, so I was stuck waiting for about half an hour while the other group did their interviews. It did give me the opportunity to talk to some of my fellow applicants one of whom is from this forum no less, although I did plan to drop PS.com into the conversation somewhere, to fish for other members, so to speak.

All too soon it was time for my interview. My main problem, when doing something important, is that my mouth dries out, so ensure you had a cup or bottle of water during the interview, just to buy some thinking time, if nothing else. My interviewer was a nice bloke, although don’t expect much chit chat aside from a greeting. The questions weren’t quite how I expected, but fortunately, and this a definite recommendation, I had two examples for each competency that I could alternatively to each other. It was a big help as my primary examples weren’t always relevant, although I should have used them for at least one question. This is no doubt paranoia though, again.

I was trying to avoid watching my interview tick things off, like you do on your driving test, but I noticed some questions got more marks than others. Fortunately the process is averaged over all, so we’ll see. I even managed to drop some jokes, in, or at least make the interviewer laugh, which is always good, even for something where the interviewer’s opinion counts for little, if anything. You do get asked question to expand your answer, so use these to add more detail to your replies. I didn’t get asked about my strengths or weaknesses, or why I wanted to join the Police, so while I would recommend that you do prepare for that, as all forces are different, just be genuinely yourself when answering that.

After my 20 minutes was up I went out of the room, with about a minute to spare before the others came out of their interviews, and we headed back into the main reception/canteen block for the final part of the assessment- the multiple choice test.

Do not be fooled by this- it is, at times, fiendishly difficult. Expect to be challenged. My advice would be to think about how, as you would want the officer to act, if you were involved or an observer. Try not to think about the competencies too much, it will distract you to an extent, and really you should just be honest about what you would, or wouldn’t do in each situation, because you may well have to deal with it one day.

We finished the test after an hour, and were debriefed and allowed to leave. I shared a taxi to the train station with one of my future colleagues (Hopefully!), bought a cuppa (I was gasping) and, after getting messed around with platform changes got a train back home. Got the bus and got back with 30 whole minutes before hockey training. What a lucky young man I am. ¬¬

All in all I’m now feeling quite good about how it went. There will definitely have been worse candidates, not that you want to be the lesser of two evils, and a lot of the negativity that you may feel will be a passing phase. As soon as I left the HQ I felt a kind of serenity wash over me (two Firefly references in one sentence, anyone?), and while I am slightly nervous, of course, I was not nearly as panicky as I thought I would be. I think I’ve made the grade :D

Still- 10 days until judgement day, well, 9 when you read this.

Onto the second part of my blog (“Oh God, there’s more of this?†– Yep, sorry): I’ve recently been thinking about getting a wider audience base for this blog, because really do enjoy writing these, so I’ve been considering hosting this externally for the general public, as well as posting them on here. MikeBrum’s been kind enough to offer to help me host it.

I’ve been trying to think of some decent names for the blog too and came up with a few suggestions:

Here comes the fuzz

Stabproofs and Tunics

A study in blue (A play on a Sherlock Holmes novel)

Boys in Blue

I personally prefer the first one, but if you like another, or have a better recommendation, please let me know in the comments section.

Again, if you liked the blog, let me know, give me 5 stars in the top corner and recommend me to other people on the board, and even other people in general.

Thanks very much,


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A very different experience to my assessment by the sounds of it. The process in Scotland is very different!

On the title of the blog, I think the first option is a little clichéd. A study in blue gets my vote.

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Good read there pal...

Good luck for your results.

Which station you hoping to be based at?

Newcastle, because i'll be living there, hopefully. Failing that, Stoke. I can't afford to travel further than that really, unless it's on the bus, which is slooooow, and irritatingly irregular when you need it.

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