With the twin goals of providing staff with increased opportunities to sit the career progression tests and freeing up resources, Police is working with a specialist assessment company that could potentially take on oversight of the online, multi-choice exams.
If the trial is successful, administration of the CPK (core policing knowledge) exams will be outsourced to Lower Hutt-based company Aspeq.
CPK exams are held each year to cater for three levels of career progression – to sergeant, senior sergeant and inspector.
The trial beings on July 23 with a sergeants’ exam followed by sergeant, senior sergeant and inspector level exams on September 17.
Steve Bruce, assessment and evaluation manager at the Police College, says that if CPK exams were able to be run more frequently throughout each year it would be a major benefit to staff hoping to progress through ranks.
And, with promised extra staff coming through in the next few years, Police is keen to get greater throughput to ensure good succession management.
Currently, Police uses its own staff to administer the 90-minute exams in each district. “It’s time intensive, involves
a lot of planning, including with the ICT staff, and the exams have to be supervised by Police staff,” Steve says.
The effect has been to limit the number of CPK opportunities Police can provide.
Another factor driving the project has been the advent of new, open-plan police stations, many of which don’t have suitable rooms to cater for the exams, which can involve up to 120 people at one time.
Under the trial, staff will have to travel to a designated venue in their district.
Eventually, the content and questions in the CPK will also be reviewed, Steve said.
The ethos behind the changes is that while Police is exploring new ways of building knowledge and capability to meet the needs of modern policing, it still needs to be able to test that knowledge in a regular and reliable way.
The CPK was introduced in 2008 as a paper-based exam. In late 2012, it became an online test for the sergeant and senior sergeant exams. For the inspector level, the exam moved online in 2013.
The last CPK exam for sergeants was held in May and recorded a 72 per cent pass rate, which, Steve says, is a fairly standard result across all levels.
Aspeq, which was set up in 1992 to deliver aviation industry exams and assessments, has diversified into the building, transport and finance sectors and is used by Fire and Emergency New Zealand. The company employs a team of more than 200 staff in New Zealand, Auckland and Britain and runs up to 90,000 exams each year.