Passing The Sheriff Officer Exam
by Sally Kerr
February 2020

It’s fair to say that several functions of a Sheriff Officer are often misunderstood and unfamiliar to the general public, including the challenging prerequisites of becoming a qualified Sheriff Officer.

As a standard, an individual must be in possession of the minimum academic qualifications and have undergone a traineeship with a Sheriff Officer for a period of three years. However, one of the biggest hurdles associated with qualifying as a Sheriff Officer is the examination.

Little is known about the examination, especially the amount of personal time and working hours that must be sacrificed in order to gain a pass. The examination itself is split into two papers, designed to test both practical skills and technical knowledge. To say the examination is difficult and complex is not unreasonable - it is designed in a way to confirm candidates have gained an expert level of knowledge in the field and ensures they are fully prepared to carry out the duties of a Sheriff Officer.

In studying for the exam myself, I discovered that it provides you with an abundance of transferrable skills. It’s not just a case of reading textbooks and other secondary materials, a predominant part of studying is learning how to research and understand very complex legislation. There are a great deal of court rules and regulations that govern the way Sheriff Officer’s carry out their functions and they are constantly adapting to societal needs.

Furthermore, studying does not cease when a candidates passes the examination. The constant flow of new legislation being brought into force means a Sheriff Officer will continuously expand their knowledge. Even since passing my exam in September 2019 there have been a number of changes that I’ve had to review and grasp. However, the continued need to learn and adapt is one of the aspects that attracted me to the role of a Sheriff Officer.

Make no mistake; the examination is designed to test candidates against the highest standards and it can almost appear daunting when you first begin the process of studying, but I can assure you - there’s no greater feeling than receiving the phone call from the examination committee to say that you’ve passed.