What We Expect From You

Your commitment

As part of the Online Application Form, you will be asked to indicate that you agree with a number of Commitment Statements. These outline our expectations of you as a police officer. Please take the time to read each of the statements below:

  • The Police Service of Northern Ireland operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and therefore requires officers to work shifts.
  • The Police Service of Northern Ireland operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and therefore police officers are often required to work overtime at a short period of notice.
  • The operational requirements also mean that police officers are often required to work unsociable hours and during seasonal holiday periods and bank holidays.
  • Police officers are expected to wear a uniform at all times whilst on duty in order to present a professional image to the public.
  • Police Recruits are required to undertake an intensive 22 week training programme, a period of which will be residential. 
  • As policing is a profession, personal responsibility is placed on police officers to maintain their knowledge, skills and competencies, and to undertake frequent training.
  • In Northern Ireland, police officers are required to be trained to use and to carry a firearm whilst on duty.
  • In addition to the 22 weeks spent training at the Police College, employment within the Police Service will be considered probationary for a period of two years.
  • The Police Service operates throughout Northern Ireland, therefore you may be required to work anywhere within Northern Ireland.
  • Police officers are expected to have suitable arrangements in place to cope with travel bearing in mind shift work and the need to work overtime at very short notice.
  • The Police Service requires Student Officers to demonstrate their computer literacy and competence in using IT software and devices. This will be tested during various stages of the recruitment process.
  • The Police Service requires Student Officers to pass the Physical Competence Assessment (PCA) prior to entry to the College and to maintain the required fitness standard.
  • As a police officer you hold the ‘Office of Constable’. This is a privileged position with legal powers which entitle you to take away a person’s liberty. The Police Service and the public expect students and probationer officers to act with the utmost professionalism both on and off duty at all times. It is expected that you maintain the highest standards of integrity at all times and throughout your service.

Fitness

There are many and varied roles within the Police Service of Northern Ireland, each requiring a certain level of physical and mental wellbeing and resilience. In addition, for safety and effectiveness, physical competence is necessary to carry out the role requirements. Consequently, the Police Service utilises the Basic Physical Competence Assessment (PCA) in order to assess potential recruits. 

The Recruitment PCA (2015/2016) reflects the physical operational requirements of a police officer and it comprises a number of activities such as running, crawling, climbing, balancing, lifting, carrying, dragging and weaving. These activities are incorporated into a circuit or obstacle course which needs to be completed three times in 3 minutes and 54 seconds.

You will be required to pass the Basic Physical Competence Assessment prior to being selected as a trainee constable and maintain the level of fitness throughout the Student Officer Training Programme and Probationer Training.

The PCA Schematic Diagram can be accessed by clicking on the link below:

PCA Schematic Diagram

You can view a demonstration of the PCA in the video below.

PCA video

To help prepare for the PCA, please find below an appropriate training plan. We would highly recommend all candidates read and follow this guidance, starting now.

Basic PCA Training Programme

The physical competence necessary to complete the police role also requires a certain level of physical fitness. In order to prepare for the Police Service PCA it is important to prepare well in advance and follow the recommended training programme outlined below.

Warm up & Cool down

Prior to beginning each training session, complete 5-10 minutes of cardiovascular activity, for example, walk, run, cycle, step, row, cross trainer, at a low intensity. Complete static stretches of all major muscle groups and hold each for 8-10 seconds.

At the end of each training session, complete a 5-10 minute cool down at a low intensity followed by static stretches of all major muscle groups. Hold each stretch at the point of mild tension for 20-30 seconds.

Training Sessions

There are five training sessions outlined below which should be completed in this order. You should have two full recovery days per week. Please ensure each exercise is completed with full range of motion and good form. If you are unfamiliar with any of the exercises please seek further advice.

Session One

  • Run - 5km/3mile – keep a note of time taken to complete in order that progress can be monitored. Also, please aim for a pace of 5 min/km.

Session Two

Complete the following sequence three times aiming for maximum repetitions. Keep a note of the number of repetitions within each time period in order that progress can be monitored.

  • 1 minute of Press Ups (modify if needed)
  • 1 minute of Alternate Leg Lunges
  • 1 minute of Sit Ups
  • 1 minute of Burpees
  • 1 minute of Rest

Session Three

  • Run for 2 minutes as fast as possible and rest for 2 minutes (x2)
  • Run for 1 minute as fast as possible and rest for 1 minute (x4)
  • Run for 30 seconds as fast as possible and rest for 30 seconds (x6)

Again, keep a note of distances covered and improvements made.

Session Four

Complete the following sequence four times as quickly as possible.

  • Run, Cycle or Row for 3 minutes
  • 1 minute of Squats
  • 1 minute Plank Hold/Bridge (hold for 20 seconds x3)
  • 1 minute of Press Ups

Monitor progress continually by noting distances covered and number of repetitions.

Session Five

  • Run for 1 minute and then Jog for 1 minute (x5)
  • Run for 30 seconds and then Jog for 30 seconds (x5)
  • Run for 10 minutes at a pace that is challenging but you can maintain

Please keep a note of time taken to complete in order that progress can be monitored.

Further information is available from the Police Service Website: www.psni.police.uk

The PSNI's Physical Competence Assessment is also available on YouTube.