We are currently experiencing network problems with the desktop version of Police Oracle. We hope to have these resolved as soon as possible.

Inspector exam abandoned after technical problems

The latest inspectors’ exam has been suspended after candidates were delayed by technical glitches. The test will be rescheduled, the College of Policing said.

The Police Federation has called for an explanation after the online inspectors' exam was suspended due to a technical issue that caused buffering to candidates computers.

The College’s main website also slowed as candidates attempted to find out more information.

The College was forced to issue technical advice while the exam was going on advising those sitting it to re-connect and attempt to complete the questions if they were able.

Those that hadn't logged in to start will now have to wait.

Deputy Chief Constable Bernie O’Reilly, from the College of Policing, issued a statement on social media: "We have had to pull it. This is not good enough. I apologise to everyone affected and will personally oversee an urgent review and reschedule the exam."

His advice to candidates was: "If you have not yet started the exam please do not attempt to access the system today. If you are currently sitting the exam, without any issues, the system should allow you to complete it."

The three-hour exam of 150 questions has been switched to an online process due to the social distancing restrictions imposed to combat COVID-19.

The first online NIE exams took place last month with 1,394 officers from 46 forces taking part. The learning resulted in the College issuing advice last week for officers to check their IT would support taking the test. But the IT outage caught the College unaware.

DCC O’Reilly explained how the problems unfolded: “We have been working with our supplier to understand and address connectivity issues experienced by a large number of the candidates.

"We initially thought this issue could be overcome by extending server capacity. However, we have subsequently been informed that the issue is broader than the College exam and is affecting delivery across a number of organisations."

The inevitable decision has been made: “As we are unable to provide candidates with assurance around the functionality of the system, we have decided to suspend the exam sitting.”

Candidates had taken to social media within minutes of starting the assessment to find out what was happening.

One candidate asked: “Spinning wheel for over 25 minutes. Stuck on Q79. What do I do?”

A Metropolitan Police officer sitting the exam said; “Glad I checked on here. So much buffering it’s crazy. I’ve been sat here for 2hrs 46 minutes and am only halfway though the clock time. Really stressful watching it buffer constantly.”

Another questioned whether they should start again: “Do we stay in the meantime? Do we come out? Any advice as don’t want to lose time.”

One officer accepted that the College was dealing with a significant challenge: “In fairness, the NIE seemed to run for people without a hitch, so the system worked on that occasion. Horrible situation for all involved today though. Hope it's resolved ASAP.”

The College is now discussing what will happen next with the Police Federation and the other agencies involved. The outcome will be posted on its website and social media accounts.

DCC O’Reilly: “We understand that candidates have put in an extraordinary amount of work in preparation for today’s exam, sacrificing their time during what is an already challenging and demanding time for policing.

"We apologise for the stress and anxiety caused by this delay and we will work hard to make sure that those who have been unable to sit the exam without disruption are able to do so fairly as soon as possible."

He added: “We will ensure all candidates are provided with further information specific to their experience today and we will be exploring other support in respect of the wider impact on candidates’ personal circumstances.”

Police Federation Chair John Apter said members are expecting a full explanation of what had happened and why: “We need to know how this happened and what next. None of our colleagues should be disadvantaged because of this. The College need to work out how to remedy this quickly and fairly.”

Leave a Comment
View Comments 5
In Other News
Celebrations for promotion hopefuls as sergeant results revealed
College to run sergeants' exam over three days to avoid IT glitches
Inspector exam results and re-sit dates confirmed by College
Inspectors' exam decisions will be made this week says College
Sussex officers given two extra days paid leave to retake Inspectors exam
Officers who completed and passed ICT-glitch exam will not have to re-sit
College updates PPE advice ahead of three-tier lockdowns
Exam candidates urged to test IT
Officers sit first national online exam
New approach needed to find leaders says College of Policing
More News