What happens after I apply?

The PCSO Recruit Assessment Centre is a rigorous, standardised process involving observation of candidates' performance across a variety of exercises, to assess their potential to perform the role of a PCSO effectively.

The information below relates to candidates sitting an assessment centre after 31 August 2015.

While some forces use the College of Policing assessment process when recruiting PCSOs, others may have their own recruitment processes in place.  Please check with your chosen force about their recruitment process.  The information below related to the College of Policing PCSO Assessment Process only.

Once you submit your application it will be reviewed, and if it passes an initial assessment, you may be asked to come to an assessment centre to:

  • undertake an interview
  • take part in two interactive exercises

All candidates will also need to demonstrate competence in written communication.  Forces can choose from a number of ways to assess written communication:

  • By requiring candidates to sit two written exercises either in advance of or as part of their assessment centre.  Each written exercise lasts for approximately 30 minutes.  Further details of these exercises can be found in the Information for Candidates document
  • By requiring candidates to have, or obtain, a qualification in written English.  Forces can choose the level of qualification required, however this must be equivalent to a minimum of Functional Skills Level 2 English. 

The force that you are applying to will let you know which method they have chosen to assess your written communication.   

If these tests go well, you will need to undergo background and security checks, and a basic medical examination.

Pre-read and familiarisation materials

Please have a thorough knowledge and understanding of them before you attend the Assessment Centre.

You can also download familiarisation material for interactive exercises, and other useful documents.

The College of Policing does not endorse any companies providing training, or any training material, in relation to the recruit assessment centres.

Feedback and appeals

You will receive written feedback on your results by competency area and exercise, indicating how well you have performed.

If you wish to lodge an appeal, you must do so in writing to your Force Recruiting Department within seven days of your attendance at the RAC, in line with the Appeals Procedure outlined in the Information for Candidates.

The College of Policing does not handle appeals/enquiries directly from candidates.

Reasonable adjustments and accommodations

If you have any condition (e.g. pregnancy, injury, disability including dyslexia etc.), temporary or otherwise, that might cause you to be disadvantaged during the assessment centre, you may be entitled to accommodation or reasonable adjustment. If you believe you may have a condition that could disadvantage you at the assessment centre, please contact the force you are applying to. They will be able to assist you with your application for accommodation or reasonable adjustment.

Any accommodation or reasonable adjustment provided for the assessment centre will be based on the information provided to us in a relevant report produced by an appropriately qualified professional. Reasonable adjustments may include additional time in the written exercises, interactive preparation, or other adjustments as recommended by a specialist.

Please consult the College of Policing Selection & Assessments’ Policy on Accommodations and Reasonable Adjustments Version 1.0 for guidance.

Candidate feedback questionnaire

The content and delivery of the Police SEARCH® Recruit Assessment Centre are continually evaluated. It is important to capture candidates' views and experiences, as this feedback can provide important information on how the College and forces can improve and develop the process. Please help us to do this by completing our online questionnaire.

If you have any queries about the questionnaire or you cannot open it, please contact your Force Recruiting Department.