CIOL Qualifications Level 3 Certificate in Bilingual Skills – Police

The CBS Police is an oral-only exam and is a benchmark of competence, at a foundation level, for those who work in policing situations where bilingual competence is required. The qualification is composed of three units:

  • Unit 1 (role-play)
  • Unit 2 (sight translation into English)
  • Unit 3 (sight translation out of English)

Taken in English and one 'Other Language' the qualification tests a candidate's language competence in both languages and their ability to transfer information between the two. Alongside speaking and listening skills, candidates need to be able read their Other Language (including other script languages) in order to complete the Unit 3 out of English Sight Translation.

Currently delivered to the Metropolitan Police Service in London, it offers accreditation to front line police officers and staff who are regularly using other languages to serve the various multilingual communities of London. It is ideally suited to other police services or related criminal justice organisations (eg the prison service, probation service) who require a similar level of competence to deal with multilingual communities and wish to test or accredit language skills.

Please read the PDF icon Qualification Specification-CBS and the Candidate Information to find out detailed information about the exam format, criteria and regulations.

For exam fees, please refer to the Exam Fees, Invoicing and Billing Policy on our Policies page.

This qualification can be adapted to any business sector or industry where face to face language skills are regularly required in communications with the public, customers and clients or other stakeholders, e.g:

  • Emergency services (Fire, Ambulance)
  • Health (A&E, GP surgeries, dentists)
  • Travel (sales counters, train managers etc)
  • Retail (all customer facing work)
  • Call Centres

Set at an equivalent of A-level, and benchmarked against B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, the CBS Police is not an interpreting qualification but a test of a person's working knowledge of two languages at an intermediate level and their communicative competence to apply those skills to practical tasks in the workplace.


If you are a Police Officer or Police staff member interested in the exam, or if you are a representative of a UK Police Force considering to support Officers / staff in achieving this qualification - please send us your questions: Qualifications enquiry form