College of Policing announces new measures to recruit officers


New measures to recruit officers

A string of new measures are being introduced to support police forces recruiting officers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the College of Policing announced today.

The measures come as police forces across England and Wales seek to recruit additional 20,000 officers.

Former officers who have left the service and existing student officers can be deployed under guidance issued by the professional body for the police.

The College of Policing has said former police officers who wish to re-join the service will undergo an assessment of their knowledge and skills and can undergo emergency training if there are gaps established.

Each force can use the options provided for each specific circumstance, whether an officer is re-joining for short-term deployment during the COVID-19 emergency, or as a more long-term member of the service.

In addition to re-joiners, forces can also deploy emergency training for student officers - similar to that seen in other professions - to cover the basic operations expected of constables on patrol. These include the use of police powers, ethics and protecting the vulnerable.


As part of recruiting a new officer, forces carry out biometric vetting to obtain DNA and fingerprints to ensure they have not previously come to adverse police attention, are linked to any outstanding crime scenes and for the purposes of elimination if their fingerprints or DNA is left unwittingly at scenes of crime once in post.

The Government has advised biometric testing can go ahead and due to the close contact with new recruits, the College of Policing has issued new guidance for forces to obtain the samples as safely as possible.

It includes candidates taking self-samples under supervision of police staff and where staff who would usually carry out the tests are not available, using officers familiar with the techniques used such as those who work in custody.

Online assessment

In addition to biometric testing, to enable police forces to continue with planned recruitment an online assessment process has been developed, providing an interim solution that enables all forces to continue the recruitment of police constables without the need for face-to-face contact.

The online assessment process enables effective assessment of the required competencies and values and meets the current standards for assessing new recruits.

The College of Policing has begun the initial roll out to a small number of forces and is working with the National Police Chiefs’ Council, to make the process accessible to all forces by the end of June.  

To ensure consistency and fairness to candidates throughout the period of the pandemic, the online assessment process will remain in place throughout the remainder of 2020.

Chief Constable Mike Cunningham, from the College of Policing, said:

“All of these new measures will allow forces to continue recruitment and bring in more officers to keep the public safe at this critical time.

“Our work means that those joining or returning to policing will have the knowledge and skills they need to do the job.

“The pace in which these changes have been delivered cannot be underestimated, and I am pleased that we have been able to play our part in supporting the service at this difficult time.

“These measures, and the continued commitment of officers and staff across the country, mean the police service is well prepared to continue to protect the public.”


Contact Information

Viktoriya Ilyukhina

Press Officer

College of Policing