Constable Selection System
In the early 1990’s, Police Services across Ontario saw a need to address inadequacies in the hiring of Police Constables. Partnered with the O.A.C.P. , the P.A.O. and members of the community, the Constable Selection System (C.S.S.) was born. A long process has brought about a system that is fair and equitable to everyone involved.
For the Police Service it offers a written and physical component for the applicant that tests for the applicants suitability as a Police Constable. The testing is job specific and legally defensible.
The benefits for the applicant are enormous. Gone are the long line ups, travel, repetitive testing, repetitive interviews and different standards for different Police Services.
As Police Services start to hire, they can opt for one of two models under the C.S.S. A Model 1 Police Service would conduct all aspects of the hiring process. Larger Police Services constantly hiring usually are a Model 1 Service. The other, a Model 2 Police Service contracts some aspects of the testing procedure out to an authorized private firm licenced by the OACP. The Windsor Police Service is a Model 2 Service.
Here is how the process now occurs with our Police Service using the Constable Selection System. This is what the first time applicant would experience.
STAGE 1 - Outreach and Recruitment
A Police Service after conducting an outreach program and recruitment drive, advertise for job openings. An applicant applies to the Police Service, or in our case the applicant will be referred to an authorized private firm licenced by the OACP. The Windsor Police Service is using the private firm Applicant Testing Services, (ATS).
STAGE 2 - Job awareness and self-screening
ATS will send the applicant a registration package. The package will include:
- applicant registration form;
- release of information authorization;
- a self assessment entry questionnaire;
- PAR-Q & You and PARmed-x forms, and;
- orientation and pre-test guide.
The applicant self screens themselves by answering a questionnaire. Included are the basic requirements under the Police Services Act. The Act states: No person shall be appointed as a police officer unless he or she:
- is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada;
- is at least 18 years of age;
- is physically and mentally able to perform the duties of the position, having regard to his or her own safety and the safety of the members of the public;
- is of good moral character and habits, and;
- has successfully completed at least four years of secondary school education or its equivalent.
Further requirements for police applicants are:
- vision and hearing within acceptable standards;
- possess a valid Standard First Aid and CPR Certificate at the time of hire;
- possess a valid class "G" Ontario drivers licence with no more than 6 demerit points;
- no criminal conviction(s) for which a pardon has not been granted.
STAGE 3 - Application Submission
The applicant will be advised when and where testing will take place. The applicant will be required to pay a fee to cover some of the costs incurred during their processing. The fee is collected by ATS. ATS gets the majority of the fee to pay for the administering and marking of the tests and administrative costs. The OACP gets a royalty fee, and of course, taxes.
STAGE 4 - Assessment
The OACP licenced firm (ATS) will conduct the following tests:
The Aptitude Test Battery (ATB)
The ATB is a series of short, timed, pencil and paper tests. They are designed to measure aptitudes which are necessary for a career in policing.
The Written Communication Test (WCT)
The WCT is a pencil and paper test which must be completed within one hour. It evaluates the candidates’ ability to organize information in a clear, coherent and comprehensive manner and to make conclusions from given facts. The candidate is presented with a scenario in which factual details are jumbled or represented in a non-chronological manner.
The Physical Readiness Evaluation for Police (PREP test)
The PREP test is essential to show that police constable recruits possess the physical capabilities necessary to meet the rigorous demands encountered in todays policing. It is comprised of three separate components: a screening component to ensure your physical readiness and well-being, and two performance components to assess the applicants physical capability. The Pursuit Restraint Circuit which simulates a police foot chase includes obstacles, the control of a person who resists arrest and the dragging of an incapacitated person. The Shuttle Run evaluates the applicant’s aerobic fitness and work capability during physically demanding policing tasks as well as everyday policing activities.
The PREP test is a more realistic evaluation of an applicants ability to perform the duties required of a police officer.
Successful applicants are then administered the Behavioural Personnel Assessment Device for Police (BPAD). BPAD is a video test. It is not a test of knowledge, rather, it is a test of the applicant’s interpersonal competence in dealing with different types of people in different job-specific situations.
Hearing and vision test are also done.
Results of tests are recorded on the central database. The OACP maintains the database. Successful applicants are given an OACP Certificate of Results. The Certificate is presented to the Police Service (or any other Police Service) acknowledging that the applicant has passed the assessment stage of the Constable Selection System.
The test results have limitations. The PREP test is valid for 6 months. The other tests are valid for 3 years. If a person fails a test, they are required to wait before being re-tested. If a person fails the PREP test, they can re-test after 6 months, and if a person fails the other tests, they must wait 1 year before being re-tested. As you can see, it eliminates duplication on the applicant’s part and it eliminates the applicant from becoming familiar with the tests by having the applicant wait before re-testing. The OACP maintains all information and updates the central database as required. All Police Services have access to the database.
STAGE 5 - Competency Interviews & Pre-Background Questionnaire (PBQ)
At this stage, our Police Service takes over. Only applicants who have successfully completed the tests are eligible for the interview. The applicant must possess a valid OACP Certificate of Results. The competency interview is a pre-determined set of questions aimed at measuring candidates actual behaviours in past events against pre-determined competencies and scales. The questions are based on the essential competencies which have been identified as necessary components for the position of police constable. They are:
- self control;
- self confidence;
- dealing with diversity;
- analytical thinking;
- relationship building;
- achievement orientation;
- physical skills/abilities, and;
- communication skills
There have been 11 competencies that have also been identified as developmental competencies or competencies that can be acquired through training. Those are:
- concern for safety;
- information seeking;
- work organization;
- community service orientation;
- commitment to learning;
- organizational awareness, and;
- developing others.
Two interviewers seek out behaviours based on past events keeping in mind that past behaviour is a good indicator of future performance.
At this stage the applicant also fills out a pre-background questionnaire. The Police Act requires a person to be of good moral character and habits. The PBQ is designed for the candidate to provide information relevant to issues of character and habits and their ability and willingness to work under the conditions related to policing.
STAGE 6 - Background & Reference Checks
Here, the Police Service has an opportunity to assess and confirm the information collected in the earlier phases of the selection process. It also allows for additional information to be collected through a variety of character, school & employer reference checks. A variety of police checks, credit clearances and psychological tests are also conducted at this stage.
STAGE 7 - Final Selection
Criteria used to make final selection decisions must take into consideration all information collected at each stage and must include assessment of the minimum requirements for appointment from the Police Services Act and the 8 essential competencies. Final selection decisions may also take into consideration assessment of the 11 developmental competencies and an individual Police Services organizational needs.
Once a conditional job offer is made, the applicant will be required to obtain a standard medical clearance.
STAGE 8 - Probationary Employment
The Police Service will monitor progress and development of a new recruit through use of an appropriate and consistent performance management process.
The Constable Selection System has been designed to eliminate inconsistencies and duplication in the recruiting process. The Constable Selection System ensures a process that is effective, objective, legally defensible and available to all Police Services in Ontario.
If you have any questions regarding the CSS, please contact WPS Human Resources at