The recruitment process is made up of a number of different stages (For some roles an appointed contractor may be responsible for certain stages. Applicants will be advised as appropriate detailing stages where the appointed contractor has responsibility), all of which you must successfully complete to be offered appointment within the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Following this, you will then start your exciting journey of becoming a member of police staff in the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Click into the pods below to get more information on each of the stages of the recruitment process.
When the application form is submitted, the Equality Monitoring information will be separated from the application form. None of the information in the Equality Monitoring section of the application form will be used to assess your eligibility to be appointed.
Please be aware that neither Police Staff Recruitment or Equality have access to the application/equality monitoring forms until after the competition has closed.
* For those candidates who are invited to assessment stage we require proof of qualifications and if required, dependent on the requirements of the role other specific academic, professional or technical qualifications/accreditations.
If you do not have original copies of your qualifications please contact the school/college/university where you sat your examinations. If they cannot provide this information you should contact the appropriate examination board and/or relevant awarding authority NOW, in order to request either replacement certificates, or a final certifying statement of results (you will be given a period of time to try to obtain these). Please note that all certificates must be dated on or before the competition closing date (unless specified otherwise on the person specification). In exceptional cases, where the qualification has only recently been completed but not yet certified, exceptions to the certification date may be considered, providing formal supporting evidence is available.
If your certificates are in a name other than that which you applied in, you will need to provide us with documentary evidence (i.e. either your Marriage Certificate, Civil Partnership Certificate or Change of Name Deed Poll Certificate) to verify that your certificates relate to you.
Where professional qualifications are required as part of the selection criteria, candidates must hold current full membership of professional bodies prior to shortlisting taking place. (Certificates will be validated if invited to attend interview.)
A copy of all qualification certificates and identity documents must be brought to or provided during assessment stage. The copies of this documentation are placed on your personal file.
Any candidate for whom it has not been possible to validate formal qualifications must have these validated as a pre-employment check before any offer of appointment can be made. If we do not receive copies of your qualifications within the specified time frame you will not be appointed to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
*If your educational qualifications were obtained outside the United Kingdom, please see the guidance on equivalent qualifications at http://ofqual.gov.uk/help-and-advice/comparing-qualifications/. Please note if your qualifications are not comparable under this guidance, it is unlikely that your application will proceed beyond Assessment stage.
Please note that it is the responsibility of all candidates to ensure that their academic, professional or technical qualifications meet the criteria required, as detailed in the Person Specification of the advertised role.
Below is a screenshot from the Application Form.
Shortlisting is carried out on the basis of the information contained in your application form.
Only the relevant details provided by you on your application form required for shortlisting will be provided to the shortlisting panel for the purpose of determining whether you satisfy the eligibility criteria stipulated for the job you have applied for. Please note that CVs will not be accepted.
Candidates are therefore strongly advised to provide sufficient details on the application form, using examples and relevant timelines, to demonstrate to what extent you meet each essential and desirable criteria identified in the Person Specification of the advertised role. It is not sufficient to simply list your duties and responsibilities. The shortlisting panel will not make assumptions from the title of the applicant’s post or the nature of the organisation as to the skills and experience gained – you must explain clearly.
Please note that responses to each criterion are standalone and will not be cross-referenced to other sections of the application form. The shortlisting panel will not make assumptions or take account of information presented in another part of the application form, such as Education/Qualifications, Current Employment and Employment History, when they are scoring your response to a specific criterion. It is therefore essential to provide all relevant detail in the responses section to each question in the Skills/Experience section. Any appeal against the decision made by the shortlisting panel will be reviewed by Head of External Recruitment and their decision is final.
If your application is successful, following shortlisting, you will be invited to the next stage in the recruitment process.
If your application is successful, you will be invited to attend assessment stage. This may be in the form of a selection test, presentation/interview or another form of assessment where appropriate. You will be informed of the form of assessment at the onset relating to the job you are applying for.
All candidates will be given an opportunity to state on their application form if they consider that a reasonable adjustment is required. Any adjustment must be in the context of an expectation that the adjustment will enable the candidate to compete on a level playing field with other candidates.
If the date is not suitable, PSNI will try as far as possible to offer an alternative date or time for your assessment. However, this is not always feasible.
Employers often use selection/ability tests to assess an applicant’s aptitude and skills for a particular role.
The decision as to whether a selection test will be used as part of a recruitment process will be determined based on the nature of the role being advertised and the skillsets required.
The most common selection process we use are competency based structured interviews (sometimes referred to as a behavioral interview, or a criterion interview) where candidates are asked a series of questions based on your knowledge and experience in relation to the activities and responsibilities of the post. All candidates will be asked the same set of questions, but any probing questions may differ according to your response.
The interviewers will normally be a panel of three people, one of whom will be a subject matter expert. Remember the interview is your opportunity to provide examples of your experiences in your responses to questions, in the context of the role for which you are applying.
PSNI currently use the Competency and Values Framework (CVF)* as the structure for interview criteria assessment. Please refer to Police Staff Guidance for Applicants for more information on the CVF* and also the next pod.
* Source: College of Policing Ltd
Contains information licensed under the Non-Commercial College Licence
Presentations may also be used as a selection tool, particularly in more senior jobs. If a presentation is being used, it is normally held immediately prior to your interview and you will be informed of the topic when you arrive.
On your invitation to interview if a presentation is involved you will be informed of the following:
On completion of the presentation, you will immediately move onto the interview phase.
Assessment Rating Scales
The following rating scale will be used to assess your performance during your interview/presentation:
5. Consistently High Performance
Candidate has maintained consistently high level of performance across all aspects of the described competency. In some respects, their performance is outstanding - very limited room for improvement.
4. Good Performance
Candidate maintained consistent good level of performance across the board -some areas for improvement, but not significant ones.
3. Suitable Performance
An acceptable performance across the described competency, there are definite areas for improvement, but it should be possible for the candidate to address these following experience in the role.
2. Unsatisfactory Performance
Candidate’s performance in some areas acceptable but further development required to bring overall performance within required competency to satisfactory level.
1. Consistently Unsatisfactory Performance
Consistent unsatisfactory performance against competency - substantial development required to bring candidate up to satisfactory level.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland currently use the Competency and Values Framework (CVF)* as the structure for Interview criteria assessment.
The CVF* sets out how all Police Service of Northern Ireland employees should work against nationally recognised behaviours and values to support all policing professionals. It puts the values of Public Service, Impartiality, Transparency and Integrity at the heart of everything the Police Service of Northern Ireland does.
The competencies are the skills, knowledge and behaviours that lead to successful performance. The framework outlines six competencies, which are grouped into three clusters. The competencies are intended to be discrete and cumulative, with each level building on the levels below i.e. a person demonstrating competency at level 3 should be demonstrating levels 1 and 2 as a matter of course.
For each job, the person specification will indicate which values and which competency levels the candidates are to be assessed against. It is therefore important that all candidates familiarise themselves with the competency framework as this forms the basis of the assessment process.
More detailed information outlining the key elements of the CVF* against which you will be assessed can be found by accessing the CVF* document, please click on the following link:
The Competency Values Framework has six competencies that are clustered into three groups. Under each competency are three levels that show what behaviours will look like in practice. All of the competencies are underpinned by four values that should support everything we do as a police service.
Whilst preparing focus your attention on this document as follows:
CVF Values: Pages 5-6
CVF Clusters/Competencies: Pages 7-18
* Source: College of Policing Ltd
Contains information licensed under the Non-Commercial College Licence
If you are successful in a recruitment process, you will be placed in merit order, onto a merit list of candidates assessed as having reached the required standard for appointment. You will be notified of your merit position in your outcome letter. Please note that Police Staff Recruitment make offers of appointment in merit order.
On occasion, the number of successful candidates may exceed the total number of vacancies. A merit list will generally last for 24 months and will be used to fill future vacancies during that period.
All candidates, whether successful or not, will be notified of the outcome at each stage of the process.
If you are successful in a recruitment process and within the appointable band that we intend to recruit from, for a particular competition, Police Staff Recruitment will issue a provisional offer of appointment, subject to successfully completing all of the following stages in order to be considered for appointment:
All appropriate documentation will be issued to the candidate. Please note that this is subject to successful completion of all the stages detailed above. Please do not hand in your notice to your current employer until you receive a confirmed offer of appointment.
Please do not hand in your notice to your current employer until you have received a confirmed offer of appointment.
As part of the recruitment process you will be required to complete a vetting questionnaire. In order that this process is as smooth as possible for you please ensure that you complete the vetting questionnaire and answer all the questions in full.
You are required to be vetted as part of the recruitment process. This level of vetting is required for all police staff and will permit unsupervised access to police premises. You will be required to complete the questionnaires within two weeks of receiving. Dependent on the role you are applying for, additional enhanced vetting may be required. As part of the recruitment process you will be informed if you require an enhanced level of vetting.
For further information regarding Policy and Service Procedures on vetting please refer to:
There are two distinct types of vetting Police Vetting and National Security Vetting (NSV). Police Vetting and National Security Vetting are separate processes both of which can take time to complete dependent on your personal circumstances. We are unable to specify how long someone’s vetting will take but endeavour to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays. You can help by ensuring that you complete the vetting forms in full and answer all the questions in full. If you have spent any time in the last three years outside the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland, you may have to provide a copy of your criminal record from the country/countries you have resided in. The process for checking varies from country to country. Where it is not possible to carry out necessary checks your application may not be processed further.
Vetting is a complex process and involves various checks to be completed. This includes everyone declared on your vetting applications as well as your wider extended family and other close associates. All applications are considered on their own individual merits.
You are advised to disclose all information as required within your vetting application. Failure to disclose relevant circumstances or information is likely in itself to be regarded as evidence of unreliability and will be taken into account when assessing your suitability.
Detailed information regarding vetting (including examples of certain types of offences that mean you will or may not be considered for appointment) can be found in Police Staff Guidance for Applicants. This document also provides further information regarding the Recruitment Vetting Panel and the role of the Independent Assessors in reviewing your case if you request an appeal.
A Medical History Questionnaire will be issued to you which should be completed and returned to Occupational Health and Wellbeing by the date specified.
Completion of this form will enable the Occupational Health Nursing Adviser to make a general assessment as to whether you comply with the medical standards required of the job for which you have applied. If appropriate, you may also be seen by an Occupational Health Medical Adviser, who may in some circumstances carry out a physical examination.
A "Yes" answer does not mean you will be automatically rejected and you should provide as much detail to your answers as possible. In addition, provision of additional medical information as outlined in the accompanying cover letter, will ensure that all relevant medical evidence has been considered and reduce the likelihood of any delays to your application.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland is an Equal Opportunities employer and recruits on the basis of ability not perceived disability. The information you give about your medical history or any disability will assist Occupational Health and Wellbeing to assess where “adjustments” to working practice and/or working environment may be needed.
All medical information provided by you remains entirely confidential to Occupational Health and Wellbeing and shall form part of your Occupational Health record if appointed.
Following the health assessment you will be considered to be one of the following:
As part of the recruitment process there is a requirement for candidates to have a pre-employment Substance Misuse Test (which is normally conducted on successful completion of vetting), this is managed by an independent contractor. For further information regarding Substance Misuse Testing please refer to the following link:
The biological material to be sampled as part of the pre-employment process will be hair. The substance misuse test will be undertaken by an approved, qualified, external contractor of the Police Service using appropriate sample collection kits and observing industry and evidential standard chain of custody procedures. You will be expected to provide two samples of hair of 3cm in length and containing at least 50-100 strands of hair per sample. This will primarily be taken from your head. On occasion (such as cases of inability to grow head hair) armpit, chest, back, leg, arm hair may be used.
If you have concerns regarding provision of three centimetres of hair, or have medical or religious reasons that would prevent you from completing the test you should inform the Substance Misuse Manager by e-mail at least one month before your Substance Misuse appointment and outline the reason why you are unable to provide the appropriate sample (please note that cosmetic reasons for having short hair is not an acceptable reason). Deliberately attempting to obstruct the process will be treated as failing the test, and no re-test will be provided in these circumstances.
If you are on any prescribed medication, you should bring proof of prescription to your pre employment test.
If you attend your appointment and have insufficient hair for your pre-employment test to be completed and you have not contacted the Substance Misuse Manager prior to your appointment, you will not be tested. A new test will not be offered until such times as you are able to provide a sample.
If you have a positive test result you will not be offered an appointment with the Police Service of Northern Ireland. You will have the opportunity to appeal a positive test and have your B sample tested, at your own expense, by an accredited laboratory. Further details will be provided if your substance misuse test is positive. If your B sample is also positive you will have no further right of appeal and any offer of appointment will be rescinded
PSNI has collaborated with The Open University to develop an e-learning course titled “Collaborative problem solving for community safety” which offers a range of techniques for community police officers, other community-based public service professionals and members of community groups working to solve problems collaboratively and creatively.
Successful candidates will be required to undertake and successfully complete this course prior to appointment.
Once all pre-employment checks are successfully completed, Police Staff Recruitment will issue the appropriate offer of appointment.
It is our policy that, except in very exceptional circumstances, candidates will only receive one offer of appointment from a competition which, if not accepted, will result in the candidate being withdrawn from the competition.
We understand that the notice you are required to give to your current employer will vary.