Recruit Assessment Centre for Special Constables

The Special Constabulary is a force of trained volunteers who provide a valuable link between the police and the local community. With the same powers as regulars, they work in their free time on a variety of police duties.

The National Specials Recruit Assessment Process is a rigorous and standardised selection process involving the observation of candidates' performance across a variety of exercises, assessing their potential to perform the role of a Special Constable.

Assessments are made based on what candidates do and how they do it. Trained assessors evaluate candidates' performance in exercises which relate to specific competency areas relevant to the role. Information from all of the exercises is used to produce the final results.

Assessment Process

All candidates undertake the same exercises and are assessed on an equal basis. The assessment process lasts approximately three hours. All relevant information will be sent to you at least two weeks before the date of your assessment.

The assessment exercises include:

  • Competency Based Questionnaire (optional) - for forces wishing to sift prior to running further assessments
  • Written Exercise lasting 20 minutes
  • Situational Judgement Test lasting 50 minutes
  • Competency Based Structured Interview with four questions lasting 20 minutes in total

Pre-read and familiarisation materials

The following documents are important pre-read materials for the assessment process. Please have a thorough knowledge and understanding of these materials before you attend the assessment process:

You can download the following familiarisation material for the written exercise and interview:

Candidate guidance


Candidates will receive written feedback on their results by competency area and exercises indicating their performance.

Candidates wishing to lodge an appeal must do so in writing to the Force Recruiting Department within seven days of attending the assessment process, in line with the Appeals Process outlined in the Information for Candidates document.

The College of Policing does not handle appeals / enquiries directly from candidates. Please direct these to your recruiting force.

Reasonable adjustments and accommodations

If you have any condition, temporary or otherwise (e.g. pregnancy, injury, disability including dyslexia), that might cause you to be disadvantaged during the assessment process, you may be entitled to accommodation or reasonable adjustment. If you believe you may have a condition that could disadvantage you at the assessment process, please contact the force that 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 process will be based on the information provided to the College of Policing in a relevant report produced by an appropriately qualified professional. Reasonable adjustments may include additional time in the written exercises 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

The content and delivery of the National Specials Recruit Assessment Process is continually evaluated. It is important that the views and experiences of candidates are captured, as this feedback can provide important information on how the College of Policing and forces can improve and develop the process.

If you have attended the assessment process please complete the questionnaire.

Other standards

Candidates should be prepared to meet the same fitness, medical and eyesight standards as regular officers. Candidates are required to take the following two fitness tests:

  • Dynamic Strength test (upper-body strength). This requires the candidate to perform seated chest pushes and five seated back pulls on a specially designed device.
  • Endurance Fitness. This endurance fitness test involves running to and fro on a 15 metre track in time with a series of bleeps.

The medical standards comprise a number of conditions with advice to forces about how to proceed with each. Any assessment of a candidate's health will be specific to the time of application - and will therefore not include any assessment about their future condition of health.

You can obtain more information about these standards from your Force Recruiting Department.