Police officers play a central role in the law enforcement system. They have a vital role in maintaining safety and welfare at all levels of government and across the country, as a police officer you’ll work in partnership with the communities you serve to maintain law and order, protect members of the public and their property, prevent crime, reduce the fear of crime and improve the quality of life for all citizens. You’ll use a range of technology to protect individuals, identify the perpetrators of crime and ensure successful prosecutions against those who break the law.
In the UK there are 45 police forces that help maintain public order through combating organized crime, countering the threat of terrorism and acting against antisocial behavior. Police officers typically work within a specific jurisdiction on a local, state or federal level and are obligated to work within the confines of the law. They are are expected to carry out their duties and responsibilities impartially. For example, an officer should not show favor or ill will based on race, sexuality, gender, religion or age. Agencies also expect officers to practice their duties without the use of excessive force. Acts of bribery and corruption are prohibited, and officers found participating in those activities can face legal prosecution.
Officers should be connected with the community in such a way that facilitates their ability to collect, analyze, and share critical information and resources. If you would like a challenging but rewarding career assisting and protecting the community, then a job within the police force may appeal to you. in this article we will guide on how you can become a police officer in the UK.
Each police force has its own recruitment rules, but the basic guidelines are the same. You’ll need to:
- be aged 18 or over
- be a British or Commonwealth citizen, a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) citizen, or a foreign national with the right to stay and work in the UK for an indefinite period
- pass background and security checks, and give details of any previous convictions
If your application is successful, you’ll be invited to an assessment centre where you’ll:
- have an interview
- take written tests
- take a physical fitness test
- take a medical and eyesight test
The requirements for becoming a police officer vary across police forces; some will ask that applicants hold a Certificate in Knowledge of Policing, have acceptable A levels, or have experience in a relevant role. It is recommended to contact your chosen police force in order to find out their eligibility requirements. While previous experience is not always expected, attendance at familiarization events and involvement in local police work can be advantageous. Visible tattoos, debt problems and certain criminal convictions may prevent entry. These are some of the most required skills.
- the ability to communicate well
- confidence, courage and initiative
- Having a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day,
- Knowing that your presence conveys peace of mind,
- Serving as a community role model,
- Being a first-responder to a person in crisis,
- And much, much more.
- Starter: £20,000 to £23,000 (constable)
- Experienced: up to £38,000
- Highly Experienced: up to £43,000 (sergeant)
- Inspectors can earn up to £53,000 and chief inspectors up to £60,000.
- Salaries vary between local police forces.
- These figures are a guide.
the working environment
You will work to a shift pattern and whilst this is normally over a 40-hour week. This could include nights, weekends and public holidays.
When you’re on patrol, you’ll usually be in a car or on foot. Depending on your area, you’ll also patrol by bicycle, motorbike, horseback or boat. The job can be physically demanding, and sometimes dangerous.
Career path and progression
You’ll spend 2 years as a student officer before becoming a police constable. You’ll then decide whether you want to specialise in a particular area of policing. You could consider:
- Criminal Investigation Department (CID), anti-fraud or road traffic
- drugs or firearms
- air support or underwater search
- dog-handling or mounted policing
With experience you may be able to apply for promotion to sergeant, inspector, chief inspector or higher.
Before you apply, one of important factor in police work is the physical fitness training. Because police officers must be able to move quickly while carrying a lot of heavy equipment, they have to be in pretty good shape.
If you pass the assessment process, you will then have to take a physical fitness test. To pass, you will need to be reasonably fit, and able to run short distances fairly quickly.