The current assessment centre process was introduced in 2004 and at this time all forces required candidates to achieve a pass mark of 50% or higher. A year later the bar was raised to 60%, as many of the small forces were getting too many candidates pass V’s the number of vacancies.
By raising the bar to 60%, this clearly had an impact on any force that had a significant number of vacancies. Of course by having a higher pass mark, fewer candidates are successful. 70% of candidates who attend an assessment centre with a force that has a 60% or higher pass mark are rejected.
It is now apparent that forces have differing pass marks; some set the bar at 50%, while others require 55% or 60%. But what implications does this have for you as a candidate? Well, let’s say for example you applied for a force that had a 50% mark and you were successful with 54%. Later on in your career you decided you wanted to transfer to another force. Well here could be the stumbling block! If the force you wish to transfer to had a pass mark of 60%, they would probably make you sit another assessment centre to prove that you could meet their standard. (Even if you are a serving officer, you probably would be required to resit the assessment to prove that you meet the same standard as other candidates being considered).
I recently had a client who is currently a serving officer with the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC). When he joined the CNC a couple of years ago, he successfully completed the current recruitment process and assessment centre. Of course the training is different for the CNC than most forces, so one would expect to have to retrain for the new force. Despite this, the force that he is transferring to have made him sit another assessment centre. Surely, given that he had passed an assessment centre, he really should have been transferred and made to simply retrain? But no, that would have been too simple!
This is an example of the barriers that are in place with some forces.
My advice to candidates: even if the force you are applying only requires 50% or more to be successful, you should always aim for 60% or greater, as this will prevent you from having to resit another assessment. Even more the case if you are applying to a small force. If they have too many candidates meet their standard, those with the highest scores are most likely to be offered first opportunity.
To my knowledge at the time of writing this post:
Forces that require 50% or greater assessment centre scores are as follows: West Midlands, British Transport Police, CNC, Derbyshire, West Yorkshire, Cheshire, Northumbria, Devon and Cornwall, Cumbria, Cleveland, Ministry of Defence and Merseyside.
The MET and Greater Manchester Police at this time require 55%
To my knowledge, all other forces require 60% or greater.
Please note: I do advise candidates to check with their own force as forces do change their standard as and when they feel necessary. Simply give them a telephone call and ask them what their required pass mark is!