Police Promotion (OSPRE)

Since 1991 the Objective Structured Performance Related Examination (OSPREĀ®) has been used in England and Wales to promote officers to the ranks of sergeant and inspector. A review of police promotions in 2003 demonstrated that there was support from chief constables and other stakeholders for greater use of practical work-based assessment in determining who should be promoted to sergeant and inspector rank. In the summer of 2004 seven forces were invited to take part in a promotions trial which would incorporate work-based assessment.

This trial saw officers completing the OSPRE part one exam.

Part 1 of the OSPRE exam involves a 2 hour multiple choice examination to test the candidates' knowledge of the law. The exam takes place once a year - the Sergeants' exam being in March and the Inspectors' in September - and can have from 60 to 120 questions. Originally the pass mark for the OSPRE exam was set at 75% but in recent years this has changed so that the pass mark is changed each year to achieve a pass rate that is consistent with the pass rate from previous years. Candidates need to pass OSPRE Part 1 before they can take OSPRE part 2.

People who passed this exam were then selected to complete a work-based assessment. This saw officers being promoted to an "acting" role, they undertake the duties of that particular rank (Sergeant or Inspector). Whilst performing the role they evidence their performance in a Professional Development Portfolio (PDP) in the same way that Student Officers do when they first join the force. Completion of this PDP will see them promoted to the next rank.

You can find a great number of resources in our shop. We have books and DVDs including How to become a Police Sergeant, and Blackstone's police books; all aimed at helping you to pass the OSPRE exams.