Greater Manchester Police have just announced their promotion process to fill 300 Sergeant vacanies. The closing date for applications is 5th May! If you’re a PC and have passed your Sergeant’s Legal Exam, you’ll probably want to hit the ground running. If so, this blog is just for you, compiling a range of completely free GMP-specific police promotion information you might have missed.

Opportunity knocks, as I outline in my recent video below (update 20 April: I’ve also recorded a GMP podcast for you!). Conside this your own personal promotion briefing! Read on to get further ahead of the other 1,000+ officers going for these posts…

Outline of the GMP Sergeant Promotion Process

“The Chief Constable of GMP is looking to recruit high performing, resilient, suitably experienced, eligible Constables seeking promotion to Sergeant… passionate about delivering the highest quality policing to the communities we serve.” – GMP recruitment info

GMP have opened up their competitive process to fill 300 Sergeant vacancies to internal candidates and transferees alike. Their objectives for this promotion process are clearly set out:

As per usual, eligible candidates must have completed their Sergeant Legal Exam, be supported by their local management, have a current PDR, and have a good attendance record. The registration form must be in with the GMP recruitment team by Friday 5th May. External applicants seeking transferee promotion must also submit 150 words on why they wish to work in GMP.

Assuming you’re supported by your SMT, you will then be invited for the competitive assessment centre process. Like the processes seen across many forces in the UK’s postcode lottery of promotion, it entails two parts:

  1. Presentation: You’ll be given 60 minutes (generous!) to prepare for a 10 minute presentation.
  2. Interview: You’ll be asked 6 behavioural questions (forward- and rear-facing) during a 50 minute interview.

I always encourage candidates to prepare as far in advance as possible. Given the assessment centre will take place between the end of May and to the end of July, I’ll offer you this quick tip straight away: Buy yourself more time by trying to avoid being on the first days.

Help is at Hand, But Questions May Remain

GMP is a force offering more support to promotion candidates than most I’ve seen. In fact, many forces give terrible advice, like “don’t practice”! But useful tips and practical guidance can be found in GMP’s documents for candidates. For example, suggesting officers use structure for their presentations, familiarise themselves with the CVF, practice answering questions, understand the role of Sergeant, and other broad tips.

This is fantastic, since most forces leave it to candidates to figure out, which tends to favour those good at the process (but potentially less adept at the job). Hence why Rank Success exists; to level the playing field, ensuring great police leaders can confidently evidence their worth in a competitive process.

But while the tips are broadly useful and better than most forces offer, they don’t enlighten candidates as to exactly how to do this or what good looks like. Questions still may remain, for example:

  • What questions might I be asked in the interview?
  • How can I effectively answer forward-facing and rear-facing questions?
  • What are the challenges for the future of GMP?
  • What does good evidence look like?
  • How exactly can I structure my presentation?
  • Where do I start with the CVF and making it meaningful to me?
  • What is the role of Sergeant?

Fear not. There’s heaps of information right here to help you become competent with all these unknowns. In the following sections, I share selected free materials I’ve previously published which give an overview of answers to all these questions.

If you want to dive deeper and completely transform your promotion preparations, my dedicated premium toolkit goes even further to explain things for you. It includes everything you need to know about presentations and interviews, has practice questions, explains the role in depth, and even shows you again and again what good looks like. Given time pressures, you might want to just get stuck in! As a bonus, use saver code RSGUIDES20 at checkout for 20% off everything.

How to get promoted to Sergeant
Sergeant promotion toolkit >

“Steve, I just wanted to pass on a personal thank you for helping me pass Constable to Sergeant first time. I achieved a score of 47 out of 50 during the assessment centre, which I am in no doubt is as a result of your content steering me in the right direction. Assessors commented on my understanding and application of the CVF, depth and breadth of preparation and confidence in delivery.”

Before we get into it, take a look at my video I released for last year’s Sergeant boards in GMP. In it, I touch on the role and briefings…

Challenges and Plan

GMP improvement plan on a page

First, let’s assess the challenges facing Greater Manchester Police and your future contribution. While I cover plenty of example challenges in my 4 hour video Masterclass, check out my Strategic Thinking Tools blog for examples in my bespoke policing PESTLE analysis.

You will also do well to familiarise yourself with the GMP’s latest Peel assessment, which highlights where the force is doing well and where it needs to improve. How will you improve things and paint a brighter future for your board (especially for forward-facing questions)? Understanding your force’s situation can help anticipate promotion board questions and presentation scenarios.

Sergeants are a key leadership role in driving ethics and standards. You might find it helpful to familiarise yourself with a meaningful interpretation of the Code of Ethics. The recent Baroness Casey Review publication also has important cultural implications whereby learning may also apply in places to your force. I’ve linked to my 10 minute briefing to save you time. Given violence against women and girls (VAWG) is also a hot topic, you might also wish to avail yourself of my VAWG report blog.

In terms of the GMP ‘Plan on a Page’, I’ve summarised the key points in the above graphic. You can read the full version and wider implications in my open letter to aspiring GMP officers. While addressed to those aspiring to Inspector, most of the points also relate to you too. It also includes example promotion board questions you can practice with ahead of the real thing. You can also hear my thoughts on your plan in the below video…

Presentations & Interviews

With a little smart preparation, you can anticipate the kinds of presentation scenarios you’ll be asked in advance. I provide several for example within my interview question bank and Sergeant evidence toolkit. In my Season 1 podcast episode Presenting Yourself, I discuss the subject of presentations for you, so simply sit back and listen.

In terms of specific structures, you might also like to take a look at my blog on briefings and associated structures you can apply to any presentation question or scenario. For example, consider SAFCOM, IIMARCHD, or my very own creation, ‘SCORCH’. You can even use the NDM for presentation structure if you wish!

In terms of interviews, I’ve published a range of free content over the years. But since you might be wondering about the forward-facing questions you’ll face, consider my popular blog, Are You Two Faced? In this blog, I outline my ENAMEL conversational interview response structure. It’s perfect for your 7-8 minute interview answers. Many cops have said how this has transformed their preparation and given clarity on how to best present themselves, their ideas, and their promotion evidence.

“Your digital guides were so helpful in understanding the process. I honestly couldn’t have done it without them. I was successful in my first board for promotion to SGT. This is no mean feat and competition was tough… If I had to only mention one thing, it would be ENAMEL. This gave me the structure and confidence to face each and every question head on, knowing I had something in place to respond.”

In terms of presenting your evidence (the second ‘E’ in my ENAMEL model), the GMP guidance suggests using STAR.

  • SITUATION: Briefly outline the situation.
  • TASK: What were your objectives?
  • ACTION: What did you do? Why? How did you do it?
  • RESULT: What impact did your actions have?

If you want to boost your odds further, there’s always the option of my Interview Success eGuide and question bank. You can buy it either on its own, or receive as part of my complete digital toolkit for promotion to Sergeant (use code RSGUIDES20 for 20% off). Invest in yourself today, thank yourself later. There’s also my example evidence eGuide of what works at the Sergeant rank to spark your ideas. This includes numerous example evidence using the STAR structure.

Police promotion interview questions aligned to CVF
Interview Success eGuide & practice questions >
Sergeant example promotion answers and evidence
Sergeant evidence examples >

Learning to Love the CVF

Police CVF explained
CVF Demystified >

In your guidance documentation, you’ll find advice about the importance of familiarising yourself with the Comptency and Values Framework (CVF). There’s even a link to download a copy and avail yourself of the College of Policing’s guidance. The CVF outlines the behaviours (‘competencies’ and ‘values’) you’ll be assessed against.

The problem is, few understand it, they seem just like ‘words on a page’ to most, and fewer still can explain the CVF to others. For example, I’ve previously been commissioned to help explain the CVF to promotion candidates and assessors in forces, where others have previously failed. At face value, it’s not an easy thing to digest, especially for more practical cops.

But fear not! For a start, take a look at my blog, Learning to Love the CVF. This will put you in the right mindset. In one of my early podcast shows (embedded below), I describe the CVF as a lonely stranger. I’ve even dedicated an entire YouTube playlist to the CVF, including a 5 minute explainer of each value and competency. This has been the ‘penny dropping’ moment for hundreds of successful officers now progressing their police leadership career.

‘We are Emotionally Aware’ is a particular competency that trips people up, which is why I wrote this epic two-part blog. In it, break down the four facets of emotional intelligence, its links to CPD, diversity, wellbeing, and even provide example interview board questions.

Or if you have a few hours for targeted development and preparation, why not download my HD CVF explainer video. This goes further on explaining each behaviour, how you can prepare, and even provides examples of what good looks like to really hit it home. Like all my premium products, there’s no time limits, sign-ups or sign-ins; I’m not here to emulate NCALT! Just download and watch whenever you want. Here’s a taster…

Like many forces, GMP have a few bespoke values to those identified in the national CVF. One of these is Kindness, I believe the only UK force to espouses this value. If you are reading this as a police leader of any rank, and you have aspiring constables on your team, share this free information with them to help them progress. Sharing is caring and I’m sure they would appreciate it.

The Role of Sergeant

One thing I’ve always covered in depth on my Masterclasses and within my guides is the role of Sergeant. This is something many (unsuccessful) candidates overlook, yet of course is central to any promotion process. Below is a free 40 minute video which you can watch or listen to, to aid your understanding about the role of Sergeant.

Knowing the role is a great way to anticipate potential police promotion board questions. For example, one Sergeant promotion question you can practice is:

“What is your understanding of the role of Sergeant?”

If your response to this example question is a tumbleweed moment, you may find this video helpful! You’ll find many more role-based practice questions in my Interview Success guide, including forward- and rear-facing.

There are many different ways you can be asked role-based questions on your promotion board. Preparation and familiarisation ahead of time will steer you on course to success, whatever gets thrown your way. You can even use the role as an anchor, using the mnemonics I provide in my premium toolkits. There are various aspects and behaviours to the Sergeant’s role that have stood the test of time across multiple promotion frameworks.

On the Day of your Board…

Finally, don’t forget to get the basics right on the day of your promotion board. Bring the things you need to the assessement, clear your head, get there on time, and so on. You might find my podcast ‘On the Day’ helpful to get you in the right frame of mind for the day itself! You’ll find more support in my dedicated Sergeant promotion toolkit.

Also, try not to do anything dumb that would get you not only excluded from the process, but possibly even sacked from GMP, like giving other candidates inside information about the promotion process! After your interview and presentation board, instead put your feet up and be satisfied you put the work in to give it your best shot.

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca

I hope this blog has helped direct your efforts. Good luck when the time comes for your opportunity, and please get in touch to let me know how you did.

Kind Regards, Steve

Sergeant Inspector promotion guide

Want to go further right now? Hit the ground running with your promotion preparation. Get your personal digital promotion toolkit, and/or my Police Promotion Masterclass. You can also contact me to arrange personal coaching support. If you first want to explore completely free content, I have a collection of videoseGuidesa podcast.