Recruitment Process and Timeline

Recruitment Process and Timeline

Please see below for our approximate general recruitment campaign timeline and structure.

For more detail, check out the five steps below.

Stage 1

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

Stage 2

You will be required to complete the national application form following the online testing section and attached any relevant documentation.

Stage 3

Following successful completion of the competency based application, as spaces within Dorset 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 Middlemoor Police headquarters, Exeter.

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 Force Headquarters, Winfrith.

Stage 4

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

This will be a structured interview with a panel of interviewers consisting of Dorset 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 Dorset 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 3 years. If you haven’t been employed for 3 years, we will ask for a character reference or an educational reference.

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.

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.