Growth Trends for Related Jobs

How to Become a Police Officer in Nova Scotia

careertrend article image

Nova Scotia is located on Canada's southeastern coast. It is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. Its capital, Halifax, is a major economic center of the region. Nova Scotia is the second smallest province in Canada. According to statistics, crime is down in Nova Scotia for the third year in a row, a sign that the province's anti-crime agenda is working. The government plans to have 250 extra enforcement officers in place by 2010. It began in 2007 with the addition of 80 new police officers funded to target certain crimes across the province. This year, 70 new officers were allocated across Nova Scotia. So, now is a great time to become a Nova Scotia police officer. You will begin your journey to becoming a police by successfully completing the Cadet Training program.

Understand the organization and its structure. The police department, also known as the Halifax Regional Police, employs approximately 350 sworn police officers in this division. They patrol with cars, motorbikes, bicycles, dirt bikes, sea jets and by horse. Officers walk the beat, liaise with schools and work hand-in-hand with the community.

Operations is separated into two divisions: Patrol Division, which has a K-9 Section, Ports, Street Crime Unit, Community Relations/Crime Prevention, Traffic, Victim Services and Quick Response Unit and the Criminal Investigations Division, which contains Major Crime, Fraud, Polygraph, Identification, Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD), GIS (General Investigation Section), Drugs, Vice, Technical Unit and Crimestoppers.

Decide what specialization you ultimately want to go into with experience and training.

Visit the Halifax Regional Municipality website. Explore the site thoroughly to become aware of the expectations of the police department in the recruitment and training process. Any prospect candidate must be able to:

  1. Communicate in an effective manner GO
  2. Be able to respect all individuals and provide assistance readily and in a courteous manner GO
  3. Evaluate your qualifications to determine if you will be a very competitive applicant.

Candidates who successfully proceed through each stage of the selection process and are offered a position in the training program, must surpass the department's basic requirements. Selection is based on each candidate's competitiveness.

Pass all of the application prerequisites. You must be 19 years of age by application deadline, be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, have a grade 12 education with academic courses in English and Math (consideration given for GED and work experience), have no criminal convictions for which a pardon has not been granted and no adult criminal charges pending and have a valid Class 5 Nova Scotia driver's license or equivalent from another Canadian province.

Provide the required resume, cover letter and the following additional documents.

Pass certain vision requirements and fill out the forms which are located at the website. The vision requirements are uncorrected vision (without eyewear and without squinting): 6/18 (20/60) in each eye, or 6/12 (20/40) in one eye and up to 6/30 (20/100) in the other, corrected vision--with eyewear such as glasses or contact lens, 6/6 (20/20) in one eye and up to 6/9 (20/30) in the other, color vision must be normal (assessed on each individual basis).

Visual fields must be normal.

Laser Surgery: Candidates who have undergone Excimer Laser Photorefractive Keratectomy (P.R.K.) corrective surgery must provide written proof from a recognized optometrist confirming the following criteria:

1.The visual acuity standards are met GO 2.There are no corneal opacities, double vision, halo or glare problems GO 3. Night vision has been tested and found to be normal GO 4. The candidate has not undergone any laser or other corrective surgery for a full 12 months prior to the examination.

Selection Process

Complete an Aptitude Test. The test is based on Grade 12 English grammar, spelling, composition, comprehension and mathematics. It is pass or fail. All applicants meeting the minimum acceptable score will proceed to the next stage of testing.

Complete the Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation (PARE). The minimum standard is four minutes and 45 seconds. HRP is interested in candidates who are competitive--achievement of the minimum standard may hinder your advancement in later stages.

Undergo a suitability interview. This interview focuses on an applicant’s lifestyle, integrity and values. Deceit, dishonesty or non-disclosure will result in elimination of the candidates application. At the completion of this stage, there will be the first of three reductions.

Sit for a polygraph test. This is the first round of reduction. All persons involved with the police department are required to pass a security clearance. A small percentage of applicants will be invited to continue through the recruitment process.

Pass the Competency-based Board Interview. The interview comes after the first round of reductions. This interview is designed to have applicants draw examples from their past work or life experience to reflect HRP competencies. This will determine whether or not you possess the necessary competencies required to be a member of Halifax Regional Police.

HRP competencies are: Achievement Motivation, Communication, Analytical Thinking, Customer Service Orientation, Developing Others, Expertise, Flexibility, Organizational Commitment, Self-Control, Teamwork and Cooperation and Valuing Diversity.

Successfully meet medical standards set by Halifax Regional Police and Province of Nova Scotia. This is the third round in the reduction. The applicant must cover the cost of the test, which is approximately $150.00.

Applicants must undergo psychological testing to determine if they are suitable to be a police officer with Halifax Regional Police. The cost for that testing is $650.00 and is the responsibility of the applicant.

Pass the reference checks and security clearances. Applicants will be thoroughly investigated to find out whether they are suited for a position with HRP. Visits to applicants' family and friends may be conducted during this stage.

Congratulations, you have made it to the end. You will be offered a position for Position Halifax Regional Police Police Science Program for Nova Scotia. Applicants selected for the class will receive a verbal and written offer for a position in the Police Science Program. As long as you successfully complete the cadet training program, you will be employed.


Reference letters should be from: one from a current or past supervisor; others can be from educational instructors, unrelated members of the community, volunteer or civic leaders. You can apply for and get your driver's abstract by visiting any Access Nova Scotia office. The charge is $10. St. John Ambulance and the Canadian Red Cross offer Standard First Aid and CPR training. Community pools in Nova Scotia offer the Water Rescue for First Responders or Bronze Medallion. You may visit the Lifesaving Society at If you reside outside of Nova Scotia, a Bronze Medallion is considered equivalent. Study guide for aptitude testing is available during the recruitment process. Knowledge of a second language or culture is a plus.


All forms must be valid within three months of the application. Do not send original documents because they will not be returned. Employment may not be immediately following the completion of your Cadet training.

Photo Credits