Police Officers : The Job | Qualifications | The Process | Training | Experienced Police Officers (Exempts) | Information Sessions | Recruitment FAQs
It may be daunting to look at our eleven-step selection process. It is lengthy and thorough, and designed to select only the best applicants. From start to finish, it will take you, on average, between six and eighteen months.
We will be asking a lot of you as an applicant, but in the end the reward is significant.
1. The First Step
HOW TO APPLY: FOR ALL UNIFORMED POSITIONS
- Attend a mandatory Information Session at the Justice Institute of BC in New Westminster
- Receive your application package at the Information Session
Information sessions are held on the second Saturday of the month. You will learn about a career in policing and have the chance to speak with members of the Recruiting Unit.
2. Entrance Exam
Once you submit your application and it is reviewed, you'll be invited to write the VPD's entrance exam.
The exam sits on Saturday mornings and is three hours long. It is written at a Grade 12 level and will test you on grammar, spelling, composition, comprehension and mathematics. It also includes a section on memory and short essay responses.
Remember, it is a handwritten exam with no spell check or calculators. Errors in spelling and grammar will result in marks being deducted from your score. Even applicants with university degrees find this exam challenging. A pass mark of 60% is required for Police Officer applicants.
See sample written exam (PDF) for some sample questions.
3. Integrity and Lifestyle Questionnaire
Following the exam you'll be given two sets of forms to fill out at home. Our Personal Disclosure Form and Applicant Questionnaire will ask a series of questions about who you are as a person and your background.
Please take the time to fill these forms out properly (and legibly) and read the directions carefully. You should provide detailed answers where applicable. Some applicants make the mistake of withholding information they feel isn't important. This could be construed as deceit, which will result in your removal from the process. It is important you be completely forthright throughout the application process.
Once a Recruiting Unit Detective reviews your forms, and presuming there are no issues, you will be invited to take part in the physical testing.
4. Physical Testing
As of August 10, 2016, the physical standards in the application process to become a regular VPD member have changed. Passing the POPAT will remain a requirement, but the 1.5 mile (2.4 km) run has been replaced with the Leger Shuttle Run.
On the physical testing day, applicants will be required to attempt the POPAT first. If successful in the POPAT (a time under 4:15), they will continue on to the Leger Shuttle Run. Applicants will have a minimum 30-minute break between completing the POPAT and starting the Leger Shuttle Run, which is run as a group. A score of 7.0 or higher must be achieved to meet the VPD’s physical standards.
What is the Leger Shuttle Run?
Also known as the beep test, this 20-metre shuttle run is between two markers and consists of 21 levels.
Applicants start at marker 1. On “GO,” they must run 20 metres to marker 2 before the beep sounds. Once they arrive at marker 2, they must wait until the beep sounds before heading back to marker 1. Once again, they must get to the marker before the beep sounds.
Approximately every minute, the interval between beeps is decreased, signalled with a double beep and the announcement of a new level, and requiring the applicant to run a faster pace. Runners must keep pace with the timed beeps – if they do not make it to the marker for a shuttle before the beep, they must still complete that shuttle and get back to the previous marker before the beep sounds. If they miss it again, they have only one more chance to make it to a marker before the beep.
If an applicant misses three consecutive shuttles, their test is done. Their score will be the last level and shuttle number they achieved by getting to the cone before the beep. As long as they catch up to a marker before the beep sounds, they have achieved that level, and can continue the test until they miss three consecutive beeps.
Practicing the Leger Shuttle Run
VPD POPAT practices are on Tuesday nights, some of which include a practice Leger Shuttle Run after everyone has run the POPAT. Contact VPD Athletic Therapist Rebecca Swan at email@example.com to ask about practice POPAT sessions and dates that include the Leger Shuttle Run.
There are many Leger Shuttle Run or “beep test” Apps that are free to download on smartphones, making it fairly easy to practice on your own.
When practicing, measure out 20 metres, putting a cone at 0 metres and another at 20 metres. The key aspects you want to focus on while practicing the test are:
- Your pace – you want to arrive at the cone just before the beep goes. If you have to wait for the beep you are running too fast.
- Changing direction – you want to touch your foot beside one of the cones and then push off and head back to the previous cone. Your whole body does not have to cross the marker you are running towards, just one foot.
5. Intake Interview
The Intake Interview is a pivotal stage of the process, where a Recruiting Unit Detective will interview you and review your disclosure forms and personal history.
The interview will assess your integrity, problem-solving abilities, respect for diversity, community service orientation, self-initiative and acceptance of responsibility. It includes questions on your understanding of policing and why you have chosen policing as a career.
While it's always important to make a good impression, this interview is where it can count most.
The interview can be lengthy. Expect to spend several hours and plan your day accordingly.
6. Psychological Testing
Immediately following the intake interview, you'll do a written psychological exam.
The written psychological exam isn't a test you can study or prepare for, and the Recruiting Unit Detective will explain how the exam works.
7. Assessment Centre
The Assessment Centre is full day at the Police Academy where applicants go through a variety of role playing exercises designed to examine a variety of personal dimensions essential in policing.
Using coaches or businesses familiar with the JIBC Assessment Centre is not recommended, as it will impact the validity of your score and possibly decrease your chances of a successful application.
The assessors are experienced police officers who have been specially trained to conduct the Assessment Centre.
The Assessment Centre is designed to examine your personal behaviour and skills. It is not an event that you can study or prepare for and the most important thing you can do is be yourself.
8. Polygraph Examination
A specially trained VPD Sergeant will conduct the polygraph exam.
It is important to note we conduct a pre-employment polygraph, not a criminal interrogation. If you have been honest and up front throughout the application process, you should have no concerns about the polygraph stage. In fact, many applicants find it an interesting experience.
9. Medical Examination
A physician contracted by the City of Vancouver conducts the VPD's recruitment medical exam.
You will need to have a medical questionnaire completed by your own physician prior to the exam. A visual acuity test is also performed.
This is the only stage of the application process where you will need to pay. The medical exam costs around $400.
10. Sergeant's Interview
The Sergeant in charge of the Recruiting Unit will conduct a complete review of your file to determine suitability.
At this stage of the process, you will need to provide a personal autobiography and a list of 30 references. Specific instructions will be given in advance so you know what exactly to provide.
11. Background Investigation
A Recruiting Unit Detective will be assigned to conduct a thorough investigation into your background.
The Detective will interview a variety of people from your life, including family, long-time friends, present and past employers and colleagues, neighbours, and landlords.
At the end of the background investigation, the Detective will prepare a detailed report which will be sent to the Deputy Chief Constable for final approval.
If approved, you'll get the phone call you've been waiting for since you began the process; that you're about to become a member of the Vancouver Police Department.
After successfully completing the VPD's selection process, you'll be sworn in as a police officer with the VPD in a unique ceremony in front of your family and friends.