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Exam candidates urged to test IT

Promotion hopefuls set to take next week's inspector exams are being urged by the CoP to check their IT is good enough.

Candidates are due to take the exam next week which, due to the continued COVID-19 restrictions, will be online.

The College of Policing has urged candidates not to leave it up to the last minute to check if their computer and broadband connection are up to the job.

To help, the College has created guidance for those taking part, setting out what they need to prepare for the online exam and for taking the exam on the day.

It has also devised some frequently asked questions to clarify the exams process which has shifted online because of social distancing rules.

Officers were also urged to ensure early that their computers and connections were stable enough.

The College said: “With just over a week to go until the online exam, you will receive an email with details on how to familiarise yourself with the platform and test your device. Do take the time to do this before the exam to ensure you won’t encounter issues on the day.”

After years of negotiations with forces and organisations representing officers over developing online exams, the College was forced to move rapidly in March after the lockdown came into force just as officers were gathering to sit tests in real time.

Most accept that online assessment will remain after the COVID-19 crisis is over but concerns remain because of the speed at which they were introduced.

Dave Bamber is the lead for training and development with the Police Federation and a board member of the College of Policing.

He told Police Oracle: “The exams have been interesting and challenging for everyone because they’ve been run in the online form for the first time. I’ve got to hope, and it’s been said repeatedly, that there will be an assessment of how it’s gone.

“Putting training, exams and recruitment online was an emergency response. They are good approaches – maybe they are more effective – but we need to have a full evaluation of them. We also need to have a long-term look at the impact.”

He explained: “The concern is that we may rush into things and if we do a lot online then who does the fundamental cultural explanations about what the job is about and what they can expect?”

He added there would also have to be checks that all forces were taking the same approach to the exams in the interest of fairness: “What we’ve seen is a bit of misinterpretation of the guidance by some forces. It’s not for any wrong reason; this is all new. But if one force acts one way and another does something else we’ve got inequality. There needs to be a uniformity of the messaging on standardisation.”

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