Recruitment Process & Timeline

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Please see below for our approximate recruitment campaign timeline and structure




For more detail, check out the five steps below.

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 5

Online Assessment (stage 1)

The start of the recruitment process for you will be completing the online assessment tool. It is important that you are open and honest with your responses so that you gain the most benefit from the questions. The online assessment will be divided into three elements. The first element comprises applicant registration, a realistic job preview and eligibility assessment. The second element is a behavioural styles questionnaire and the third element a situational judgment test. Access to the online assessment can be made at any time during the day or night for each element and from any location that has internet access.

The system is designed to enable you to complete each element of the online process without timing you out. We recommend that you complete each element in one sitting. Whilst the online tool remains open you can take the assessment at any time during that period. If however, you do not allow yourself enough time before the closing deadline you will not be able to complete your application. If you have a query, before contacting us, please ensure that you have read this document carefully and you have followed all of the online instructions. Due to the expected volume of applications we will not be able to answer telephone calls. However, we will aim to respond to emails within 48 hours if you have a query.

The online assessment tool consists of:


This is where you enter your personal details such as your full name, full residential address, driving licence details and your national insurance number. You will also be required to provide proof of these details later on in the application process.

Realistic Job Preview Questionnaire

The purpose of this section is to give you a real view of what it is like to undertake the work of a police officer and decide whether or not it is right for you. You will be asked to give your open and honest responses to different situations. There is no right or wrong answer. At the end of the questionnaire, the system will give you an overall rating of your suitability for the role of police officer based on your responses. You can then make a decision if you would like to continue with the application.

Eligibility Screen

This screen checks your eligibility in line with the national recruitment standards. You will be advised at the end of the questionnaire if you have met all the eligibility criteria and then able to progress to the behaviour styles questionnaire. If you are referred as a result of any of your answers, a member of the recruitment team will contact you to let you know the outcome. The eligibility criteria are set out in the appendices of this document.

Specific Learning Difficulty

If you require an adjustment to the recruitment process in relation to a Specified Learning Difficulty e.g. dyslexia, confirmation via relevant report or medical certification will need to be provided along with the application form. 

If you believe you have a Specified Learning Difficulty that has not been assessed to date you would be required to source and undertake an assessment (at your own expense) in order that we are able to consider reasonable adjustments at the assessment centre stage (if applicable).

Behaviour Styles Questionnaire

This questionnaire invites you to review a number of statements and indicate which statement you completely agree with or completely disagree with on a sliding scale. In order to progress to the next stage, you must pass the behaviour styles questionnaire. At the end of this questionnaire you will be advised of the result and a feedback report.

Situational Judgement Test

If you have passed the behaviour styles questionnaire you will be asked to complete the situational judgement test. This is the final stage of the online process. You will be presented with a number of different situations that you might face as a police officer with a choice of different actions that might be taken. You will be asked to identify which action will result in an effective or counterproductive outcome. You will be provided with a feedback report and if you are successful, you will then be invited to complete an application form.

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Application Form (stage 2)

If selected to receive a Devon & Cornwall Police application form this will be sent via email attachment. It is very important that you follow the instructions as incomplete forms will not be accepted.

All applications received will be acknowledged by email approx. 2 weeks following the closing date.

Please note application forms can be printed then handwritten or typed.

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Assessment Centre (stage 3)

Following successful completion of the competency based application, as spaces within Devon and Cornwall Police are limited, only the highest scoring candidates will be selected to attend a national SEARCH (structured entrance assessment for recruiting constables holistically) assessment centre. These are generally held at Devon and Cornwall Constabulary Headquarters in Exeter.

The date of the assessment centre has yet to be determined.

The assessment centre consists of:

  • a Competency-Based Structured Interview with four questions, lasting 20 minutes in total
  • a Numerical Ability Test lasting 25 minutes

  • a Verbal Ability Test lasting 30 minutes

  • four interactive exercises lasting 10 minutes each

  • two written exercises (approximately 30 mins each)

These exercises are designed to test your ability to think on your feet, make quick decisions based on sound judgement and also measure your basic numeracy and literacy standards. You will be required to bring two forms of identification with you to the assessment centre (including one photo ID). If you do not bring these with you, you will not be allowed to progress any further with the application process. You should receive your results approximately three weeks later. Highest scoring candidates, who are successful at this stage, will then be invited to attend a force interview at Police Headquarters, Exeter.

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Force Interview/Fitness Testing (stage 4)

If successful at the Assessment Centre you will then be required to attend an in force interview at Force Headquarters.

This will be a structured interview with a panel of interviewers consisting of both Devon and Cornwall Police Officers and Staff.

The interview is expected to last up to 30 minutes. The questions in the interview are aimed at exploring your values and motivation to join Devon and Cornwall police as a Constable, these will be structured against the role profile for a Police Constable on the Policing Professional Framework.

We will also take Biometric Vetting samples and you will be required to complete a fitness test.

Shuttle Run Test

We test endurance through a fitness shuttle run commonly known as the Bleep test. Detailed information about the content of the fitness test will be provided to you at a later date.

Swim Test

Devon and Cornwall Police have over 500 miles of coastline and as such Police Officers serving in the two counties must be able to swim. Prior to appointment as a Police Constable you will be required to demonstrate your ability to swim by completing a 50 metre continuous swim in a recognised stroke in 1 minute and 30 seconds. During your training you will also be required to pass the Police Lifesaving Certificate.

Biometric Vetting Checks

We will need to take your fingerprints and DNA samples to carry out some final vetting checks against our databases. As part of the recruitment process you will be asked to sign a consent form for this to take place.

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Pre-employment checks (stage 5)

The role of a Police Officer is demanding. During the application and selection process we will be assessing your mental and physical fitness to undertake the role.

Medical Assessment

A medical assessment will be carried out by our Occupational Health Support Unit. They will check the following:

  • BMI (Body Mass Index)
  • Eye sight test – see Appendices
  • Colour vision – see Appendices
  • Lung function
  • Hearing

You will be asked to complete a confidential medical history questionnaire. You are advised not to pay for your GP to sign these forms until you know you have been successful though the earlier stages. Depending upon your medical history, we may have to contact your GP/ specialist for further information.

Once you have been declared medically fit we will then progress your application to the next stage.


We send reference requests to all your previous employers in the last 5 years. If you haven’t been employed for 5 years, we will ask for a character reference or an educational reference.

Vetting Checks

The vetting process is entirely confidential and the outcomes (other than pass/fail) are not shared with anyone else in the organisation (including trainers, future line managers or fellow trainees) or anyone outside of the organisation (including family).

We will carry out security checks on you and your:

  • Spouse/Partner
  • Father
  • Step father/mother’s partner
  • Mother
  • Stepmother/father’s partner
  • Brothers/sisters (full/half/step)
  • Children/children of your partner (only those age 10 years and over)
  • Any other adult living at your address
  • Financial circumstances – applicants will have their financial status checked.

These checks are carried out because Police Officers have access to privileged information, which may make them vulnerable to corruption.

Applicants with outstanding County Court Judgements (CCJs), Individual Voluntary Agreements (IVAs) or who have been registered bankrupt with outstanding debts, will be rejected. If you have discharged bankruptcy debts then you will need to provide a Certificate of Satisfaction with your application. At least three years will need to have passed since the date of discharge.

Applicants with cautions/convictions/reprimands, other than some motoring offences, may not be accepted.

Drugs Testing

As part of the Vetting process you will be required to undergo drugs testing. All drug testing processes are entirely confidential and only the presence of illegal substances will be disclosed to the Force Vetting Unit (by the third party drug testing laboratory).  Prescribed medication, including that for individuals with certain disabilities or individuals that may be transitioning, is not tested for in the process.

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