Guidance for applicants

Below is some general guidance to assist you in your application to join either Surrey Police or Sussex Police. Each job advert will contain detailed information on the application process so please read this carefully.

You can find further information on both Force's websites by clicking the links at the top of the page 'Careers in Surrey' and 'Careers in Sussex'.

  • Surrey Police and Sussex Police ask that you follow the application process detailed for each vacancy.

    We recommend preparing all the information that you'll need for your application in advance, including details of your academic achievements and employment history.  Information on your CV or LinkedIn profile is likely to be useful for your application.

    The information you provide will be treated in confidence and will be all that is used when shortlisting candidates.

    If you have previously applied for a role with us before, you will be able to reuse details from your most recent application. You will be prompted to provide the email address used for your previous application and will be emailed an access code that will need to be used within 24 hours.

    Before starting an application please check to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria which should be listed on the job advert.

    Ensure that you have completed all sections of the form as fully as possible including all of the 'required' fields before progressing.

    You will be asked to complete a Diversity Questionnaire, this form is solely used for monitoring our commitment to equality and diversity. It will not be seen by any members of staff who are involved in the selection process.

    You can save and return to your application at any time but you must submit it before, or on, the closing date advertised.  You will not be able to submit an application for a job after the closing date.

    Once your application has been submitted no further changes are possible, even before the closing date for the job. On submitting your application you will receive an acknowledgement email with a copy of your application.

    For Police Staff roles, if you are successful you will be invited to attend an interview.  For some Police Staff roles such as PCSO, you may be required to undertake a further assessment.

    Surrey Police and Sussex Police are members of the Disability Confident Scheme and are committed to interviewing all applicants with a disability who meet the minimum criteria for a vacancy and consider them on their abilities.

    If you experience any problems while using our job pages please click here to contact the Surrey Police recruitment team or click here to contact the Sussex Police recruitment team. Please be aware that the teams work between the hours of 8am and 5pm and will not be available on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays.

  • You may be asked technical questions to confirm that you have the required knowledge or skills for the role.

    Behavioural competency questions will typically ask you about something that you have don in the past, to prepare for this type of question you will need to think of specific examples of relevant activities or actions that you have done in the past.

    The interview questions typically start with a variation of

    Tell me about a time...

    Describe a time when...

    Give me an example of...

    The STARR method can be helpful when considering how to structure your answer:

    • SITUATION - describe the situation/problem you were faced with
    • TASK - what did you have to do?
    • ACTION - what action did you take and why? Were there any challenges and how did you overcome them?
    • RESULTS - highlight the outcome, what results did you achieve/conclusions did you reach?
    • REFLECT - what did you learn from the experience and what would you do differently if in a similar situation
    There is plenty of further guidance on this method of interview available online.

    The panel should signpost you to the competency area that they will be asking you about before each question. If you are unsure what the question is about please ask for clarification.

    If you cannot think of an answer straight away, take a moment, or perhaps come back to that question later - there is no harm in taking your time.  Be positive about your actions when giving your examples, for example, if something didn't go well explain what you learned from that experience or what you did to rectify what went wrong.

    Most interview will last for approximately one hour.

  • If you are successful at interview you will receive a conditional offer but you will still need to meet the pre-employment requirements before you are given a formal offer and a start date.

    Pre-employment requirements will vary depending on the role you are applying for but could include a medical check, biometric check, substance misuse check, fitness test and Force vetting.

    Further information on each of these checks can be found below.

  • You will be asked to complete a confidential medical history questionnaire and for some roles it will need to be signed off by your GP. Depending upon your medical history our Occupational Health and Wellbeing Team may have to contact you GP/specialist for further information.

    For PC, PCSO and Special Constable roles you will be required to attend a formal medical, these will take place at the Force headquarters in either Guildford or Lewes depending on the Force you are seeking to join.  They will check the following:

    • BMI
    • Eye sight
    • Colour vision
    • Lung function
    • Hearing
  • References - We'll ask for references from each of your previous employers covering the last five years, any gaps in employment will need to be explained and verified. If you haven't been in employment during the last five years, we will seek character or educational references.

    Biometric Check - Required for PCs, PCSOs, Special Constables and for some Police Staff roles.  It consists of taking DNA and fingerprint samples.  This will take place at the Force headquarters - Guildford for Surrey Police and Lewes for Sussex Police.

    Substance Misuse Check - Required for PCs, PCSOs and Special Constables.  You will be invited to attend an appointment at the Force headquarters in either Guildford or Lewes where we will collect a sample of hair, approximately 50 to 100 strands, from the crown of the head to test for the presence of illegal substances, it is normaly carried out at the same time as the biometric appointment.

    Fitness Test - This is role dependant but required for PC, PCSO and Special Constable roles.  It tests ensurance through a fitness shuttle commonly known as the 'bleep test'.  A good indicator of the fitness level needed for this test is to be bale to run at a good pace for around five minutes over a distance of about 700 metres.  The required pass level is usually 5.4 (5.4 = five levels and four shuttles).

  • All successful applicants for both Forces will be required to go through a vetting process including those joining us on a permanent, temporary, full time, part time, casual, consultancy, contractor or voluntary basis.

    You will be asked to complete a vetting questionnaire and the vetting department will carry out security checks on you and your:

    • spouse/partner
    • father/stepfather/father's partner
    • mother/stepmother/mother's partner
    • brothers/sisters (full/step/half)
    • children/children of your partner (only those aged 10 years or over)
    • any other adult living at your address
    • financial circumstances
    • social media accounts

    Without vetting clearance you will not be allowed to access Surrey Police or Sussex Police premises. If there are any sections of the vetting form that cause you concern and that you will be unable to complete click here to contact the Force Vetting department to discuss your concerns.

    Vetting usually takes around 30 days to complete although during busy times it may take longer so don't worry if you do not hear back straight away. All the information provided on the form is handled by the Force Vetting department for Surrey Police and Sussex Police and not by the hiring manager. The hiring manager will only be advised whether you have passed or failed the check

  • Once you have completed your pre-employment checks and passed the vetting procedure the hiring manager will contact you to discuss and agree your potential start date.

    For those that will need to attend a training course your start date will depend on when the next available slot on a training course is available. You may need to wait for a while before you join either Force.

Additional guidance for those applying to become a Police Officer

The recruitment process to become a Police Constable usually takes between 8 and 10 months. We recruit to a pool and then offer start dates to members of the pool once we have confirmed the training dates and the numbers required for each intake.

Surrey Police and Sussex Police have eligibility criteria which needs to be met in order for your application to progress. If you do not meet the eligibility criteria you will receive an email within 24 hours of submitting your application advising that you have been unsuccessful. You can find information on eligibility criteria on each Force's website in the Police Officer job sections, links to 'Careers in Surrey' and 'Careers in Sussex' can be found at the top of this page.

In addition to the selection steps outlined above, you can find information on additional steps specific to the Police Constable selection process below.

  • The national sift consists of two exercises; a Behavioural Styles Questionnaire (BSQ) and a Situational Judgement Test (SJT).

    These exercises are used to assess capabilities, strengths and behaviours that are important in the role of a Police Constable.

    No prior policing knowledge is required to complete the exercises.

    Click here for the National Sift Candidate Guidance

  • There are three exercises in the online assessment process;

    Competency Based Interview

    You will be asked a series of questions about how you have dealt with specific situations in the past. This is your opportunity to provide some examples of the key competencies and values that are important for police constables. You can use examples from both your work and personal life.

    Written Exercise

    In this exercise, you will assume the role of a police constable and will have to complete an urgent written task for your line manager. You will receive four items of information to help you with this task.

    Briefing Exercise

    In this exercise, you will assume the role of a police constable and will have responsibility for dealing with some issues presented to you. You will be tasked with providing a response to a number of questions in relation to the issue. You will be provided with preparation materials to consider your answer.

    Click here for the Online Assessment Process Candidate Guidance

    Click here for the Online Assessment Process FAQs