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Police Scotland Competencies / CVF

Two Police officers on patrol

The Police Scotland recruitment process is underpinned by the competency and values framework, love them or not, they are here to stay.

About Police Scotland Competencies and CVF

During the Police Scotland interview process, it is important to know the competencies and values, as the questions asked will revolve around these. It is also important to understand Police ethics, values, and behaviours when applying. The Police play an extremely important role in our society and have to conduct themselves in a professional, integral and honest manner to ensure that the public will trust their work. Police Scotland has specific values and competencies they require candidates to showcase during the recruitment process. These are known as the Competency and Values Framework (CVF), and they cover the competencies and clusters, which we have listed below.

What are the Police Scotland Competencies?

The Police Scotland competency and Values framework has 6 Competencies. These are;

What are the Police Scotland Values?

The Police Scotland Values framework has 4 values. These are;


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Police Values

The police values form an integral part of the behaviour guidelines for every police officer. Being among the top respected forces worldwide, Police Scotland has values which they require all applicants and officers to abide by as well, abiding by the strict code of ethics. Police Scotland recognises the importance of candidates with good ethics and values, and the selection process reflects this. You will be asked questions during the interview which focus on your values and ethics.

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Police Scotland Values


Respect is a fundamental aspect of being a police officer. It’s about taking pride in your work and demonstrating the ability to be considerate and understand the needs of others. Police officers need to appreciate how important it is to uphold the law and make a difference in the communities of Scotland. Whoever you’re in contact with, regardless of whether an innocent individual or detained person, they must be treated with dignity and respect at all times. You must also show respect for different cultures, values and beliefs.


In the interest of fairness, officers need to take an open and tolerant approach to social and community issues and perform each of the responsibilities they are assigned in a fair and non-discriminatory fashion.

Human rights

Understanding human rights is essential for the role of a police officer. It is vital, that the actions you take as a police officer are carried out in a manner that shows respect for the rights of individuals and doesn’t violate their human rights. All personnel at Police Scotland must understand the proper use of force and should not use it in situations where it would not be considered illegal or unjustifiable. Before taking any action, officers need to take into consideration the human rights of the person. Additionally, police officers must know that everyone has a right to freedom and private life. Human rights should be upheld at all times.


Police officers must understand that their position with Police Scotland requires them to behave with integrity every day, even if its their first shift. Police officers must behave in a way that is in line with the values and ethics of Police Scotland and be aware that they are accountable for their actions. Police must put the interests of the community above their own goals and avoid any behaviour that could be considered to compromise impartiality.

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Police Scotland Clusters

Clusters are, in essence, a collection of behaviours and relate to how police officers should behave. For each cluster, there are two competencies, making 6 competencies in total and at the centre of the clusters are the values and code of ethics.

Resolute, Compassionate and Committed.

This refers to how you perform and conduct yourself as a police officer. You must be resolute, compassionate and committed whilst carrying out your role. For instance, compassion is showing care and understanding for people around you. Being committed is rather self-explanatory and is doing the best for the community. This cluster links to the competencies of Emotional Awareness and Taking responsibility.

Inclusive, Enabling And Visionary Leadership.

Leadership is an essential quality for every police officer to possess, you should always lead by example. All police officers are expected to be motivated, help their colleagues and even help the general public to speak up. Inclusive refers to helping everyone and engaging with everyone no matter who they are and enabling them to speak up. This cluster is linked to the competencies of being collaborative and deliver, support and inspire.

Intelligent, Creative and Informed Policing.

This cluster is about being open to new methods of learning, growth and thinking outside of the box critically to come up with innovative solutions to issues. Being well-informed ensures that you have considered every element before making the decision, which ties into evidence led policing.

This cluster connects with the fundamental skills of we analyse critically and we are innovative and Open-Minded.

Police scotland logo on uniform

Police Scotland Interview Competencies

These competencies are a set of behaviours that all candidates must demonstrate. They are behaviours you’ll need to show consistently during your time as a Police officer and throughout the recruitment process. You must prove that you know them (inside out) and have previously used these skills.

There are three different levels for each skill; Constables are evaluated at Level 1.

Emotionally Aware

It is crucial for Police officers to become emotionally aware. You need to be mindful of the needs and emotions of other people; however, you should also be aware of your feelings. You need to be able to manage your emotions under pressure and show solid decision-making.

Level 1 The Emotional Awareness Level is the fundamental degree of competence. Applicants must demonstrate the following qualities:

  • Treating others with respect and kindness.
  • Accepting other people’s opinions or values as long as they are within the legal guidelines.
  • Asking for assistance when you need it.
  • Recognising your limitations and seeking help to overcome these limitations.
  • Remaining calm under pressure
  • Understanding the value of diversity

We Take Ownership

To be a police officer, you must take responsibility and be accountable for your actions. A large part of this is accepting that mistakes occur; however, the most important thing is how you respond to these situations. You must always be upfront and transparent about any mistakes made. You must also learn from your mistakes and take on feedback.

Take Ownership Level 1 is the fundamental stage of competency. Candidates need to show qualities such as:

  • Accurately identifying and reacting to issues or problems.
  • Recognise where you can help others and willingly take on additional tasks to support them.
  • Working with enthusiasm and optimism.
  • Accepting responsibility for your actions.
  • Giving others helpful and constructive feedback about their work.

We are Collaborative

Collaboration is an essential aspect of being police officer. The more effectively you can work in a team, the greater level of service you can provide to communities and achieve better results. This includes building genuine and long-lasting partnerships that focus on collective goals and not just on the organisation. Being a good officer involves connecting with the community, working with them to help them. You must always remember to be courteous and respectful of everyone whom you meet.

At Level 1, applicants must demonstrate the following qualities:

  • Collaboration and harmony together with professional colleagues and colleagues from different organisations.
  • Being approachable
  • Showing genuine interest in the views of others, as well as their opinions and perspectives, to establish a sense of common ground and trust. 
  • Respect every person you meet as a person.
  • To be clear and appropriate in my communications.

We Deliver, Support and Inspire

Police officers must understand the bigger picture. You should apply the Police’s values to your day to day role, demonstrating a commitment to perform in the people’s best interest. Police officers must recognise how their behaviour affects the police force’s image and ensure to make an impactful contribution to the force image at all times. Your focus should be on helping your fellow officers reach high standards while keeping your own standards high.

In Level 1, candidates need to demonstrate the following qualities:

  • The ability and willingness to face complex tasks to improve the performance of the police force.
  • Understand that your work affects the entire police force.
  • Adopt a responsible and determined approach to work and always strive to offer the highest quality service.
  • Utilise resources efficiently to have a more significant impact.
  • To be a role model for the behaviours you expect to see in others and act in the public’s best interest.

Analyse Critically

As a police officer, your job will require a lot of critical thinking. You’ll receive an array of information and have to use this to make informed decision-making under pressure. This is what informed policing is. It’s about using the available information efficiently and effectively, collecting as much information as possible before making a decision.

Candidates at Level 1 have to demonstrate skills such as:

  • Understanding how important critical analysis, thinking and careful evaluation is, before making a decision.
  • Assessing and analysing data accurately and efficiently.
  • Solving issues by using logic and sound reasoning.
  • Balance out the advantages and drawbacks of the actions before taking action.
  • Recognising and pointing out any flaws in information or data.

Innovative and Open-Minded

The final competency tests the mindset of the applicant. It’s crucial to take an open approach to working in the Police. It won’t always be easy, unfortuanately. There will be issues that require an inventive and out of the box solution, and it’s your responsibility to find a way to do this. You must have an open attitude to new approaches to work and recognise that constant improvement is essential for all police officers.

This is the most fundamental stage of competence. At level 1, applicants should demonstrate the following qualities:

  • Being open to new ideas and perspectives.
  • Sharing ideas and suggestions with colleagues to improve the practice of police officers.
  • Reflecting on their work method and how it can be improved.
  • Adjusting to new circumstances and demands.

Why are these being implemented?

Police Scotland wanted to create competencies that reflect actual police work. The new competencies/clusters/values not only provide all police officers with a more specific set of ethics and behaviours on exactly how they should behave. Instead of having all-encompassing competencies, every officer can know precisely what is expected of them and how they should behave. These play a large part in the day to day role of an officer and Police Scotland want to know you can uphold these ethics and behaviours if you were succesful.

What will they be used for?

The selection process for joining Police Scotland involves a variety of tests. A majority of these will test your abilities when dealing with people. For example, you’ll be tested through role-play in the assessment centre through debates and problem solving activities. You’ll have to show your understanding of the above behaviour competencies and values in all these activities. Your score will reflect how well you showcase these, so make sure you know them before the selection process.

Additionally, you might be asked a few ethics-related questions which are based on the Police Scotland Standards of Professional Behaviour. These questions will focus on the requirements of police officers and the reasons for making an application to the Police. We strongly recommend reading your copy of the Police Scotland Standards of Professional Behaviour and the Code of Ethics from their website.

Police station in Scotland

Police Scotland Standards of Professional Behaviour

These are taken from Police Scotland’s website –

Authority, Respect and Courtesy

We act with self-control and tolerance, treating members of the public and colleagues with respect and courtesy in line with our values. We do not abuse our powers or authority and respect the rights of all individuals.

Diversity and equality

We act with fairness and impartiality. We do not discriminate unlawfully or unfairly.

Responsibilities and Duties

We are diligent in the exercise of our duties and responsibilities.

Honesty and Integrity

We act with honesty and integrity and do not compromise or abuse our position.

Instructions and orders

We give and carry out only lawful orders and instructions.


We treat information with respect and access or disclose it only in the proper course of our duties.

Fitness for duty

When on duty or presenting ourselves for duty, we are fit to carry out our responsibilities.

Discreditable conduct

We behave in a manner which does not discredit the Police Service or undermine public confidence in it, whether on or off duty.

Reporting and challenging inappropriate behaviour

We report, challenge or take action against the conduct of others which has fallen below the Standards of Professional Behaviour


Tom Brook

Tom Brook

I am a former Police Detective with years of knowledge and experience in investigating serious crimes across Scotland, working with communities and keeping the public safe. I aim to give back to the Policing community with this site!
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