Recruit Assessment Centre for Police Constables

The Police SEARCH® Recruit Assessment Centre is a rigorous and standardised process involving observation of a candidate's performance across a variety of exercises, to assess their potential to perform the role of a police constable effectively.

If you want to join the Police Service of England and Wales as a police constable, you must be successful in a number of recruitment stages. One of these is the Police SEARCH® Recruit Assessment Centre.

Please note: Between April 2018 and October 2019, some forces across England and Wales will be piloting a new assessment centre format, called Day One Recruit Assessment Centre.

ForceOperating Day One Recruit
Assessment Centres from
​Metropolitan Police Service​April 2018 – October 2019
​Thames Valley Police
​August 2019
​Surrey Police*
​August 2019
​Sussex Police*
​August 2019
​West Midlands PoliceTBC
​South Wales PoliceTBC

* these forces are operating Day One Recruit Assessment Centres in partnership with other forces. If you have applied to one of these forces please check with the force which assessment centre you will be taking.

If you are attending an assessment centre with one of the forces specified, during this time, the format of the centre will be different to that listed below. For more information, visit: Day One Recruit Assessment Centre pilot

Assessment Process

The information below relates to candidates sitting a Police SEARCH® Recruit Assessment Centre after 31 August 2015.

At the Assessment Centre, assessors will evaluate your performance in exercises which relate to specific competency areas relevant to the role. Information from all the exercises are used to produce the final results. The assessment exercises include:

  • a Competency-Based Structured Interview with four questions, lasting 20 minutes in total
  • a Numerical Ability Test lasting 23 minutes
  • a Verbal Ability Test lasting 30 minutes
  • four interactive exercises lasting 10 minutes each.

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.   

All candidates undertake the same exercises and are assessed on an equal basis. The Assessment Centre lasts approximately half a day.

All relevant information will be sent to you at least two weeks before the date of your Assessment Centre.

Pre-read Material

Please have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the following documents 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 material in relation to the Assessment Centre.

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 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.