Articles on: PSQ - Police Station Qualification

PSQ Critical Incidents Test - A Guide

The purpose of Critical Incidents Test (CIT) is to assess your effectiveness in advising and assisting clients at the police station. The CIT takes the form of a role play assessment under exam conditions.

On registration, you will be issued with a copy of our regulations which will provide written guidance on the format, content and assessment criteria for the CIT.

Assessment Criteria

The CIT will be assessed according to the following criteria:

Content -This is concerned with the legal, procedural and factual content of your responses, including whether you have analysed the facts correctly and whether you have applied the law to those facts correctly.
Confidence - This is concerned with the extent to which you act with self-assurance in responding to the problem or issue posed.
Control - This is concerned with the extent to which you are able to demonstrate appropriate control in the context of the problem or issue raised.

In order to pass the assessment, you must achieve at least 50% on each criteria, in each scenario.

The CIT can only be attempted by candidates who have been issued with and are in possession of an LAA PIN number OR those who are following the PSQ route without a PIN. There is no exemption from the CIT.

Assessment Format

The CIT comprises of a number of scenarios which will be presented to you on an audio tape. Issues will be posed to you, either verbally or in terms of their behaviour, by police officers, your client or third parties. You will be required to respond to the scenario audibly. An audio recording will be made of your responses. You will be assessed on the appropriateness of the responses provided, your oral communication and assertiveness skills.

The format of the test will follow the normal chronological order of a police station attendance from beginning to end and so the candidate can expect the scenarios to cover some of the following points:-

- Initial telephone contact - either from the Defence Solicitor Call Centre, client or someone on behalf of the client.

- Initial attendance at police station - dealing with Custody Sergeant, examining custody record etc. Alternatively, attending with a volunteer.

- Disclosure – the Assessor is looking for your ability to obtain information that is relevant to the scenario presented.

- Attendance on the client which will include:-

Obtaining relevant personal information, an explanation of the matter about which the client is to be interviewed, specifically, the offence and the elements to be proved; that which the police have outlined in disclosure and the client’s instructions.
Advice regarding police procedure generally, the interview procedure, and the caution including the client’s options in interview.
Advice regarding the appropriate course of action to be taken in the PACE interview.

- There may be specific queries raised by the client covering such topics as the taking of samples, identification procedures, drug testing, and procedure after interview.

- The PACE interview – there are likely to be several questions dealing with the interview and police conduct.

- Post interview - further issues in relation to conduct of the interview may need to be raised and representations made as to the way forward

- Potentially further issues in relation to police objection to bail.

Within the above scenarios, the marks will be specifically weighted to reflect the importance of information gathering from the police, from the client and the advice given to the client.

Please be aware if you do not engage with the role play element of the assessment or if you come out of role play during your responses, you will not score any marks for these questions.

Updated on: 01/09/2023

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