The South African Police Service (SAPS) offers careers in various fields. If you join the SAPS you can either become a police official or a civilian employee. Police officials are employed in terms of the South African Police Service Act, 1995 (Act No 68 of 1995).
Civilian employees are employed in terms of the Public Service Act, 1994 (Act No 103 of 1994). Most functional Police Officials are directly involved in preventing, combating or investigating crime. The other Police officials and civilian personnel carry out support functions.
Vacant posts are advertised quarterly and on an ad hoc basis, if and when required. These posts are advertised nationally in the Sunday newspapers (Rapport, Sunday Times and City Press).
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The Selection Process
So, now let’s look at what the selection process actually involves, and the stages required. As you can imagine, obtaining a role with SAPS is no easy task, and you will face a stringent set of selection tests.
Stage 1: Application Form
The type of application form you’ll fill in will very much depend on the role you’re applying for. For example, applicants for civilian employee roles will face a slightly different type of form to applicants applying for police official roles. However, the broad strokes of the application are the same:
- The application form will assess you based on the eligibility criteria and ensuring that you meet the standards and pre-joining requirements of SAPS. This will include questions related to your professional background, your financial history, and your employment history.
- The application form is incredibly comprehensive. We advise taking two or three evenings to complete the entire form, making sure that you have met every single one of the instructions on the form to the letter. Failure to complete the form correctly is likely to lead to rejection – as vacancies for a role within SAPS are extremely popular, and therefore you are unlikely to make it to the next stage if you cannot follow simple instructions.
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- The South African Police Service will only accept an official application form, which is available via the SAPS website, or can be collected at SAPS recruitment offices. SAPS are no longer accepting the Z83 form.
- It is imperative that you are honest during your application form. As part of the selection process, SAPS will conduct sustained investigation into your background. If at any point they discover you have not been truthful with the information provided, you will be disqualified from the selection process.
Stage 2: Assessment Centre
If you successfully pass the application form stage, then the next stage is to attend an assessment centre. The SAPS assessment centre will put you through a series of gruelling and rigorous tests, all of which are designed to test whether you have the aptitude, critical thinking skills and competency to work within the South African Police Service. All of the tests will be taken under strict time conditions, and you will be judged on your efficiency as well as your accuracy.
During your assessment centre, you are likely to face tests including:
Numerical Reasoning. Numerical reasoning assesses your ability to work with numbers, and involves calculations such as addition, subtraction, percentages, fractions, ratios, data and statistics, graphs, charts and other such numerical necessities.
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Verbal Reasoning. Verbal reasoning is a key part of the assessment centre, and covers two areas (the second of which we will discuss in the next bullet). Verbal reasoning tests your understanding of words, phrases, grammar, spelling and punctuation.
Comprehension. The comprehension exercise will require you to read a passage of text, and then answer questions based on said text. Your speed-reading skills will be very important here, as you are under strictly timed conditions, and must be able to demonstrate that you can quickly and efficiently absorb information from a written passage.
Psychometric Assessment. The final testing stage of the assessment centre will be a series of psychometric tests, including spatial reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. You might also be asked to take a concentration test. This is perhaps the hardest part of the assessment centre – as these tests will involve looking at shapes, identifying patterns, and differences between different shapes, and completing shape-based sequences, all at rapid speed!
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