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Job Description

Police Officers are responsible for maintaining law and order on a local and national level. They will help protect members of the public and their property, investigate crimes and offences, search for missing people, respond to emergency calls, make arrests, attend to accidents and fires, interview witnesses and suspects.  They also visit schools, colleges and community groups to give talks on crime prevention.

Entry Requirements

You'll need to contact your local police force to apply.

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

If you've got a degree, you could apply for the Police Now Graduate Leadership Development Programme.

If you've got management experience you could apply for direct entry as an inspector or superintendent. Lead Beyond has more information about direct entry.

The College of Policing has more information on careers in the police service.

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
  • counter-terrorism
  • 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.

In the CID you'll also have the title of detective added to your rank - for example, detective sergeant or detective chief inspector.

Related careers you may be interested in:

  • Police community support officer
  • Firefighter
  • Criminal intelligence analyst
  • Fingerprint officer
  • Neighbourhood warden

National Government Policy states that all students should have achieved at least a Grade 4 or C Grade in English & Maths at GCSE.  Achieving this minimum grade in these subjects will increase the opportunities open to you, support your future career development and prospects.

Students who do not meet this standard will be supported to continue to study English and Maths through full-time education or an Apprenticeship.

Required Skills

You'll require:

  • the ability to communicate clearly and confidently (in sometimes dangerous situations)
  • excellent team working abilities
  • tact, diplomacy and respect
  • to be able to remain calm in challenging situations
  • a good level of fitness
  • a firm but tactful approach
  • the ability to react quickly in unexpected situations
  • to be able to give and receive instructions
  • courage and initiative

Starting Salary

£20,000 to £60,000

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