Police Training Scotland

Police Practice Papers

All candidates are required to be physically fit. After passing the Entrance test,  candidates are required to attempt The National Fitness Standard assessment. This involves either a multi-stage fitness test or a mile and a half run (without stopping) in line with the standards below. The assessment is based on age and gender and measures cardiovascular fitness.

National Fitness Standard






 Age (Years)

 M.S.F.T. (Level)

 1.5 Mile run (minutes)

 M.S.F.T. (Level)

  1.5 Mile run (minutes)





















A word of caution: if a candidate fails to achieve the required National Fitness Standard, their application will be rejected automatically without exception and they will not be able to re-apply for a further period of twelve months.
At the end of the recruitment process a final fitness assessment is made, again based on the National Fitness Standard.
Probationer officers are required to maintain their fitness levels throughout their training. Failure to do so is likely to result in them losing their job.

Probation and beyond

The probationary period lasts two years during which time there is intensive training and progress is constantly monitored. Initially training will be delivered from the Scottish Police College in Tulliallan, and at various Police Scotland Training and Recruitment Centres as well as within Divisions.

As with all other area, candidates should be familiar with the pay scales and grading structure of the job. A word of caution: successful candidates must demonstrate good financial management in their private lives. Any potential area where a police officer could bring the force into disrepute is an area of scrutiny, so aim to minimise any debt burdens prior to application and make sure finances are in order. Once through probationary training, police officers are encouraged to rise through the various police ranks and to carve out a career in specialist areas of police work.

Police officers of all ranks are represented by the Scottish Police Federation with regard to salary, conditions of service and other related matters. Interestingly, Police officers do not have the right to take industrial action (ie strike) or to join a trade union.

The future direction of policing in Scotland is laid out in a document entitled the Scottish Police Authority Strategic Police Plan. Essential reading, it outlines the changes involved in the largest restructuring of Scottish policing in a generation and identifies Police Scotland’s strategic priorities and performance measures. Applicants should have a thorough knowledge of this document as this contains the police vision for the future.


Candidates applying for the police service in Scotland are strongly recommended to do their homework before they are called for either the new entrance test, fitness test or interview.

Currently the recruitment process is agonisingly slow due to the huge number of applicants. The entire recruitment process could easily take over a year from start to conclusion. Police Scotland doesn’t tend to go in for quick decisions and there is an extremely low drop-out rate of officers once recruited.

For anyone hoping to join Police Scotland, an excellent interim step could be applying for the position of Special Constable, recruitment allowing. Special Constables are part-time volunteers who work alongside regular Constables and who have similar powers to them. Special Constables go through the same recruitment process and receive a high level of training very similar to that of the initial training provided to probationer officers. They are also required to pass the entrance test and fitness tests.

Once you have successfully secured a position with the Scottish police force, a fantastic career with virtually limitless opportunities lies ahead of you. There is a huge variety of jobs within the force once initial training has been completed and candidates should give thought to what area of police work they would like to specialise in as they could be asked about this at interview.


If lucky enough to be successful at the recruitment stages, you can look forward to commencing your training at the Scottish Police Training College based at Tulliallan in Kincardine-on-Forth, Fife. Tulliallan is the only police college in the UK to offer centralised police training from recruit to command level.

All police training is headquartered here, and the Scottish Police College is a recognised centre of learning excellence. The college offers not only police professional courses but also courses accredited through the SCQF framework. The college has links with universities and other affiliated bodies and offers a wide range of formally recognised courses.

It is here that new recruits joining the police in Scotland will commence their training. The Probationer Training Programme runs for a total of 104 weeks (2 years). Initially new recruits will spend time at Tulliallan College learning what is expected of them in terms of the skills, attitudes and behaviours required of a successful police officer before being allowed to undertake supervised work-based training. Additional study and assessments will continue for the duration of the training period until candidates are confirmed to the rank of Police Constable.

The setting for the Scottish Police Training College is beautiful; within 90 acres of parkland in the centre of Scotland. At the heart of the campus is Tulliallan Castle, built in the early 19th Century. The college is well equipped with a shop, library and computer suite as well as a fully equipped fitness suite, swimming pool and outdoor football pitches. It also contains residential accommodation which can be booked for weekend conferences and accommodation.