Special Constable Selection Process

The Special Constabulary is an effective means in which local communities can be represented within the police service. As a fully trained volunteer with police powers, you can add real value by supporting the regular police service.

It's important that our Special Constables are of the same standard as that expected of our regular officers. Public satisfaction, public confidence and community engagement are all critical aspects of the service delivery of Police Scotland.

The national selection process for Special Constables reflects the importance of ensuring that our Special Constabulary continues to consolidate its status as a reliable, trusted and integrated part of Police Scotland's strategic and operational deployment plans.  

The selection process can be broken down into the following stages:

Application Form

The first step is the completion of the application and vetting forms.  It is really important that you complete all the sections of the forms fully and honestly, so you will need to spend a bit of time preparing this. You must disclose all the material information requested in each section. Don't be tempted to leave things out as this can result in your application being rejected. If you are not sure about anything, please contact us and we will provide you with some guidance.

In our How to Apply - Special Constables section you can download the application and vetting forms which you can save and complete on your own computer and then either email or post to us.

Please be aware that it will take more than a first class stamp to post the form. Forms with incorrect postage may not be delivered.

On receipt, your application form is assessed to ensure that you meet the entrance criteria and that you have provided relevant responses and information to all the questions. If your application meets the required standard you will be invited to sit the Police Standard Entrance Test (SET) - unless you have previously passed the SET in which case you will not have to sit this stage again.

Vetting Form 

Convictions, warnings or cautions will not automatically preclude you from appointment.  It  depends on the nature and the circumstances of the offence(s). It is really important that you disclose all previous convictions and/or any involvement with the police. This includes fixed penalty tickets for all road traffic offences such as speeding. 

We also want to know whether any of your close family, friends or associates are involved in any criminal activity. Failure to disclose relevant information that is subsequently found via police systems will almost certainly result in your application being rejected.

Standard Entrance Test

The test is made up of three papers. There are three different versions of the test, therefore all applicants are allowed to sit the Standard Entrance Test (SET) a maximum of three times. The test covers:

  • language
  • numbers
  • information handling

To help you get ready for the test, we've created sample papers for you to practice. To find them, scroll down to the bottom of this page where there is a list of PDF documents you can download.

Dyslexic candidates 

We are committed to making our selection process and facilities as accessible as possible for all applicants and employees.

If you have or think you have dyslexia you can contact recruitment on 01355 566350 who will be able to provide further guidance (this number is for recruiting enquiries only, please call 101 for other non-emergency enquiries).

If you would like to know more about dyslexia visit Dyslexia Scotwest at www.dyslexiasw.com.

Fitness Assessment 

The national recruitment and selection process is aligned to that used for the recruitment of Probationer Officers so includes a mandatory fitness assessment which is the same as that used for the recruitment of police officers. The assessment will require you to undertake a Multi Stage Fitness Test (MSFT) in accordance with the standards outlined in the relevant Police Service National Fitness Standard document at the bottom of this page. 

The assessment measures cardiovascular fitness. This means the ability of your heart and lungs to provide sufficient oxygen to the working muscles to allow them to sustain a rhythmical activity involving large muscle groups (i.e. running, cycling, swimming) for an extended period of time.

The assessment is based on age and gender as detailed in the table below.

National Fitness Standard
  Males Females 
 Age (Years) M.S.F.T. (Level) M.S.F.T. (Level) 
 <29 9.2  7.3 
 30-39 8.8  6.7
 40-49 8.2  6.1
 50-59 6.8  5.2 


For training purposes, you may find the attached MSFT training video and downloads of use. You should measure out a level, 15-metre long training space in order to utilise these downloads fully.

  1. Bleep Test - Intro
  2. Bleep Test - Get Ready
  3. The Bleep Test

NB The Bleep tests are in MP3 format and require an MP3 supported player (e.g Windows Media Player or Winamp)

Bleep Test Video

If you have any concerns about your ability to undertake the fitness assessment you should seek advice from your GP in the first instance.  Your Body Mass Index (BMI) must be between 18 -30 (inclusive). Please note your BMI will not be assessed until the medical stage which is towards the end of the selection process. 

Panel Interview

If you pass the SET and the fitness assessment, you will be invited to attend a competency based panel interview with two members of the local recruiting team.

This is your opportunity to make the right impression. So preparing for your interview is really important.

Make sure you know what areas/competencies are likely to be covered at the interview and prepare some examples from your own experiences that demonstrate some of the relevant behavioral indicators. You should also do some web-based research and a lot of applicants find it really helpful to talk to some of our existing special constables and/or officers.

This is the first opportunity that we have to talk to you in person. The questions will cover the following areas and we'll ask you to give examples drawn from your own personal life experience that will enable the interviewers to assess your knowledge, skills and personal attributes: 

  • Effective communication
  • Personal effectiveness
  • Team work
  • Respect for diversity
  • Job knowledge
  • Personal awareness
  • Service delivery

What happens next?

The final stages include vetting and an in-depth medical and pre-appointment substance misuse testing. The medical will be carried out by professionals from our Occupational Health and Wellbeing Department. Your BMI and eyesight will be tested at this stage. 

Thereafter, you will be placed in a 'pool' pending the issue of a formal offer of appointment for the next available intake. There is normally a spring and an autumn intake for Special Constables each year, albeit this is subject to change.

It's really important that you notify your local Recruiting Department right away if there are any changes to your personal circumstances that may affect your application. This could include things such as a change of job or address, or if you come to the attention of the police for any matter.  Failure to disclose this information at the appropriate time could have a detrimental effect on your application.