Police recruits to undergo psychometric test

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 March, 2010, 12:00am

About 3,000 applicants for the positions of police constable and inspector every year will undergo a new psychometric test in the final round of their interviews from next month.

Police recruits have physical and integrity checks but no psychological testing has been carried out before.

The initiative was seen as long overdue since a tragic case in 2006 when off-duty constable Tsui Po-ko shot and killed a fellow policeman and wounded another in an underpass in Tsim Sha Tsui. The rogue officer was also killed in the shoot-out.

At the inquest, a psychologist said Tsui may have been suffering from a personality disorder.

Police said yesterday the psychometric test was aimed at strengthening recruitment by acquiring additional information on the applicants' 'cognitive abilities, emotional resilience and personality traits'.

The candidates will be required to complete three sets of papers in about three hours. The test results will be valid for a year.

'The test will help to identify and recruit psychologically resilient and effective applicants whose personal values are aligned with the force's values,' Superintendent Simon Ho Kin-man of the recruitment division told police publication OffBeat.

He said the test results would be used only for reference.

'It will not be used as a tool to screen in or screen out candidates,' Ho said. 'The interview board will continue to assess a candidate's competencies such as leadership, communication skills, judgment and motivation.'

Police clinical psychologist Ingrid Mak Wing-fun, who pioneered the project, said more than 2,500 serving officers took the tests to help calibrate the system last year.

Police estimated that about 3,000 candidates will sit the test annually. A total of 150 probationary inspectors and 1,082 constables will be recruited in the current financial year. The first batch of constables and inspectors who have taken the tests will graduate in January and March next year, respectively.

Junior Police Officers' Association chairman Chung Kam-wa said police hoped the test would help bring in recruits that were psychologically ready for the challenges of the job.