How can you succeed in the police promotion fast track programme? That’s a great question! My response may not be a big surprise: Effort is useful, but focused effort makes the impact.
Firstly, you’ll need the following in abundance: enthusiasm, self-belief, resilience, a growth mindset, energy, drive, determination, emotional intelligence, and an understanding of what evidence you have to offer to demonstrate potential to be considered.
You’ll also need enough confidence to get you started. But be aware and reassured, your confidence is something likely to increase exponentially via effective preparation. When increasing confidence is integrated with the above qualities you will be able to demonstrate your potential. Especially at the early first stage, namely your force internal fast-track selection process.
“I was successful at the National Assessment Centre and I have been accepted on the fast track scheme. Having passed such a rigorous assessment I now have so much more confidence that I am ready for this role and deserve it.”
How can I be so sure? Truth is I can’t, however successful candidates, who were once where you are today, often share their personal experience and give you some clear indication:
“I’ve only gone and nailed the force fast-track interview!”
“I came out top of the in-force Fast Track assessment. I passed a competency-based interview, followed by an interview with Chief Officers. I was selected as one of only two people to attend the College of Policing (COP) for Fast Track Assessment.”
By the time you are successfully nominated by your force to attend the National Fast Track Assessment Centre, effective preparation will mean your confidence will be enhanced and serve you well during this challenging test.
So why go for fast-track promotion? Well the rewards are definitely there if you are looking to realise your potential, aim to climb the greasy pole quickly, and believe you have what it takes to progress through the federated ranks and beyond. Crossing the Rubicon to the more strategic senior ranks is a purposeful, not accidental, career progression.
Promotion to Inspector in two years is what the scheme offers successful candidates, with career expectations and support to reach at least Superintendent rank. The Fast Track programme supports the latest national Policing Vision 2030, in helping the successful implementation of force talent management strategies by:
- Attracting, identifying, and developing the most talented constables from within the police service who wish to become senior leaders in policing.
- Offering a development programme and promotion mechanism to enable the most talented to advance to the rank of inspector within two years for serving constables.
- Developing a cadre of officers with the skills, experience, and capacity to reach the senior ranks of the service (at least superintendent) to have a positive impact and influence on the management and culture of policing.
Successful fast track candidates, using tried and tested Rank Success toolkits, have been kind enough to share their experience of success on this ‘high potential’ career progression scheme. All allude to the value of my bespoke support to aid effective preparation.
The College of Policing explains that the Fast Track programme is designed to attract talented serving constables from within the police service and equip them with the leadership qualities, operational skills, and strategic understanding they will need to be promoted to the rank of inspector within two years.
Is the term ‘high potential’, inclusive or exclusive? An interesting question, because it only seems to apply to fast-track candidates. Or rather, the college of policing seems to apply it when considering individuals for the fast-track scheme.
I believe in the potential of every individual, so the term ‘high potential’ can broadly be applied to many aspiring police promotion candidates. However, the great majority are not provided with any meaningful guidance, interpretation, or criteria as to what this means. So, let’s have a look at how the College describes ‘high potential’:
“All we are not stares back at what we are.” – W.H. Auden
This is certainly a helpful resource to aid you in conducting a mature assessment of yourself against the attributes, knowledge, skills, and behaviours. They’re all identified under the three headers: cognitive capacity, leadership and communication, and personal drive.
It is clear to see high potential isn’t limited just to officers electing the fast-track method to progress their career! Many of you will share these qualities described.
Rank Success exists to support aspiration for officers navigating the various UK selection processes, including the fast-track pathway. However, I encourage all promotion candidates to include the College of Policing’s high potential criteria. That’s because a closer reading helps you understand and reflecting upon the skills and motivation levels you’ll need to help lead policing to a better future.
The wider literature describes high potential individuals as those who aspire to assume more responsibilities, those rigorously absorbed with their work. They share certain characteristics, including aspiration, ability, and engagement. That may accurately describe you, if it does, great!
If it doesn’t (just yet) that’s ok too. It’s where the College’s summary can help inform your decision making about whether you are ready for applying for the fast-track scheme. If the time is not right, a focused approach to your CPD can help you progress and close any identified gaps in the next 12 months.
Clearly, not all promotion candidates aspire to the very senior levels facilitated via the fast-track programme. That said, I believe every promotion candidate should be supported to maximise their own police promotion and leadership potential. That’s why I point to the high potential criteria as part of the array of premium materials I provide to advance your ambitions. These tried and tested approaches have helped countless cops improve their police leadership skills and in turn, achieve success in whatever their local force selection process and framework.
“I’m over the moon to report that having dipped the Sergeant interview twice, I passed the College of Policing fast track process. Just 6 candidates from my force passed… from 165 original applicants!”
A Recent Case Study
Consider the inspiring perspectives from this recent case study. I discuss more about this fascinating story of career progression in my recent YouTube video embedded below. For now, I’ll leave you with some of the highlights from fantastic feedback from this inspiring officer:
“For the first time in 16 years I could see with my previous knowledge and experience that promotion was the right way to progress my career. I studied whilst in an acting up role and unfortunately dipped the exam leaving me completely disheartened and disillusioned by the process.
After taking some time to switch off, I saw an email about the fast-track process. I had no idea what it entailed but I truly believed I could be a good leader and with development and support, an Inspector. My main concern was having been at Constable level for so long I wasn’t “corporate” enough and didn’t know how to be strategic. I decided to go for it anyway.
I then came across Rank Success on YouTube.
I started to watch the free videos on the CVF competencies, and it completely changed how I had been looking at it, finally making sense! I purchased the Inspector digital toolkit in order to prepare for my internal force board. I utilised the tips and guidance in there on what to read and what to be thinking about. The different vocabulary and understanding how police officers like to be managed, challenges policing faces and how we can overcome them was a huge help. I found the podcast talk with Lee Freeman, Chief Constable of Humberside, so useful.
I also had a 121 session with Steve, who explains everything so clearly and this really helped me achieve a high score in the board.
Next step was the assessment centre. I feel that by having spent so much time focusing on why it meant so much to me and what kind of leader I would be, that I was able to attend with confidence and perform as best possible.
There are 5 assessments, and they are all so tough in different ways. It’s a very mentally draining two days, with so much information being processed.
I was successful at the National Assessment centre and I have been accepted on the fast track scheme. Having passed such a rigorous assessment I now have so much more confidence that I am ready for this role and deserve it. I am passionate about proving the police are here to help everyone, including those we work with and I’m excited to help make positive changes. I would definitely recommend the digital toolkit for anyone studying for a board. If you do the work, it will pay off. Thanks again for your help!”
Want to turbocharge your preparation for promotion? Here’s the toolkit alluded to and what worked (again!) for this successful individual:
However you choose to progress your career, be it the extreme challenge of fast-track promotion or the more traditional police promotion routes, I wish you every success. Rank Success is always here to help you on every step of your journey, with a suite of free and premium support.
Kind Regards, Steve
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 videos, eGuides, a podcast.