Police Scotland Recruitment Guide
Welcome to our Police Scotland recruitment guide on how to become a Scottish Police officer. On this page, we’ll provide you with an extensive overview of how to join Police Scotland. From the application form all up to the last interview, we’ll explain the entire process and guide you through it.
About Police Scotland
Police Scotland, also known as the Police Service of Scotland, covers the whole of Scotland, which is roughly 28,000 square miles; and makes up a third of the United Kingdom’s landmass. Scotland contains a wide range of urban, rural, island, and remote communities.
The force is the second-largest force in the UK; only the Metropolitan Police has more officers. The Scottish Police have a workforce of 23,000 officers and staff working to keep the communities of Scotland safe.
Police Scotland was created on the 1st of April 2013. Before that, Scottish policing operated under eight regional police forces before they were later replaced by one force called Police Scotland. Police Scotland is led by Chief Constable Iain Livingstone, who oversees everything in the Police.
Under the Chief Constable’s leadership are Deputy Chief Constables and Assistant Chief Constables, with numerous other ranks below, including Constables, Sergeants, and Inspectors. All officers’ primary ethos and purpose in Scotland’s only force is to keep people safe and safeguard their communities.
The Police Scotland HQ is based in central Scotland at Tulliallan, where The Scottish Police College is also located. Most of the education for Scottish Police officers is conducted at these premises, the Scottish Police College. If you’re successful in your application, you will be expected to spend around 10 weeks at the college. In addition to Tulliallan, Police Scotland has numerous other headquarters located around Scotland.
Police Scotland is structured into 13 local divisions, each overseen by the Local Police Commander. The local Police commander is responsible for ensuring that the policing in that region is in good order and meeting the community’s needs.
In addition to being a uniformed officer in the police force, there are numerous specialist roles available at Police Scotland. These include opportunities to work with Major Crime investigation, Counter-Terrorism, Intelligence, Public Protection, Firearms, Dog section, public order, and many other roles.
Police Scotland also offer operational support jobs like Marine Policing and Air Support. So there are many career paths you can take within the Police.
Each year, Police Scotland publishes an Annual Policing Plan to ensure that they provide the highest level of services to the Scottish Public. In the plan, they outline their annual goals, plans, strategies, and priorities for the year (this is worth a read before your interviews)
Police Scotland Recruitment Process
The recruitment process for Police Scotland can be highly competitive as there are limited spots. Of the large number of applicants who apply, only a small percentage are usually successful. This could be seen as a scary statistic, but the Police want the best candidates to look after the people of Scotland.
The Scottish Police Officer Selection process isn’t straightforward, but if you put the time into learning the recruitment processes and techniques, you will have a great chance of getting through. The preparation and work you put into it must be focused on the right areas and be sufficient to provide you with the best chance of success. You will also need to improve your understanding of Police Scotland’s core competencies. The process revolves around these competencies and values, so make sure you know them.
Through our website, you’ll discover the essential competencies of the Police Scotland, which provide the foundation for the recruitment process. The recruitment process is detailed below;
Firstly you will need to complete your application form and send it to your relevant Police Scotland Recruitment Office. This asks for a personal statement and numerous other questions to ensure you match the profile of a Police Officer. The application also asks if you have any tattoos, work experience, or other personal details. The application form includes the essential criteria you must meet to apply to as a Police Constable. We go into more detail on our Police Scotland Application guide. Recently this form has changed to an online application form.
Once you pass the application form, you will be invited to undergo the new Police Scotland Entrance Test. This consists of one exam paper comprising three core elements – numeracy, literacy, and information handling. The exam involves answering 57 questions in 60 minutes. Again, you must pass this test to proceed to the next stage. Read more about the Police Scotland Entrance Test.
The next stage consists of a fitness test or assessment as being Police Officer requires you to be physically fit and healthy. It is expected that you have trained before attending your fitness assessment. The Police Scotland Fitness Assessment involves either a mile and a half run, or more recently a hybrid bleep test. Again you need to achieve the pass mark to proceed to the next stage. You can read more about our Police Scotland Fitness Test Guide.
If you make it to the assessment day, it is usually held at one of your local selection centres. During the day, you’ll undertake several exercises to showcase your strengths and your potential to become a police constable. These exercises include ice breaker exercises, group exercises, and a formal interview. View our Police Scotland assessment centre guide for more info.
If you are successful through the process, you will undergo the final stages, which include a complete medical examination to ensure you are fit and healthy to be a Police officer; this includes an eyesight test and hearing test. In addition, you will be required to undergo a drug test, and formal vetting will be carried out to ensure your background is clean. Once these are all finished, you will receive an offer of employment and a date to start your Police Scotland career.