The ever-changing threats to society – from fraud to cyber and sexual offences and terrorism – mean policing will look very different in 2025 to how it does today.

As the UK’s largest single force, North Yorkshire Police knew that against this shifting backdrop, relying on tried and tested methods wasn’t going to be enough to future proof its policing. Instead, it had to be agile, innovative and forward thinking.

The development of a 2025 vision revealed that the traditional approaches to recruitment and assessment embedded in the organisation and standardised across the force were not reflective of that vision.

So with the help of management consultants Cappfinity, it embarked on a transformation. It set about introducing and embedding strengths-based recruitment using innovative technology to unlock potential.

This included the creation of a levelled framework to ensure consistency in recruitment and a top-down approach, beginning with the deputy chief constable, to improve senior stakeholder buy-in. Significant effort was required to upskill the talent and resourcing team and a number of workshops were held across the force for each rank to inform employees of the changes and to provide support, advice and guidance where required.

In addition, full and comprehensive training was provided to all assessors involved in the selection processes to ensure the quality of hire.

A range of innovative assessment tools, including an online immersive assessment, strengths-based interview, micro exercises and virtual reality were introduced to support a cultural shift amongst the workforce and change its perceptions of ‘how to pass an interview’.

The team reported that over several years it became clear through police officer promotion boards that it had become a ‘rehearsed’ process due to it being competency-based. Applicants would spend days, if not weeks, rehearsing competency-based examples, meaning there was no opportunity for them to bring their best self to the interview and demonstrate their potential.

Now the new assessment process is used across all promotion boards to maintain a consistent approach to recruitment, and the feedback has been excellent: 88 per cent of candidates rated the candidate experience as excellent or very good, and 68 per cent of candidates felt the process was fair and consistent (in comparison to 28 per cent in the previous promotion process). All (100 per cent) assessors said the campaign was excellent or very good.

Ultimately, the judges commented that the focus on D&I as an important factor throughout the process, innovative resourcing approaches such as through the use of VR and the consideration of a future strategy that accounted for societal as well as organisational needs made the achievement so deserving of the best resourcing initiative award.