Police officer: job description
Duties can include:
- interviewing suspected criminals
- taking statements
- writing crime reports
- dealing with paperwork
- gathering prosecution evidence
- giving evidence in court
- fostering good relationships with the public
- patrolling areas by foot and car
- making and processing arrests
- searching suspects
- responding to emergencies
- offering advice and reassurance to the public
- controlling traffic/crowds
- keeping the peace/mediating in tense situations
For many, the sense of reward derived from serving the community and preventing crime will outweigh the negatives.
- Local authority-managed police forces
- Specialist forces
- The Ministry of Defence Police
- British Transport Police
Most forces will advertise locally in the regional press so it is worth contacting the force you are interested in joining to see if they are recruiting or see the police recruitment portal online. Vacancies may also be advertised on specialist forces websites, in local and national newspapers and on TARGETjobs.
All entrants must pass standard police initial recruitment tests (fitness, medical and educational). There are no height restrictions or upper age limits for applications.
A High Potential Development Scheme in England and Wales, and an Accelerated Promotion Scheme for Graduates in Scotland are operated to enable suitable candidates to quickly achieve senior police posts. Current police officers, non-graduates, graduates and final-year undergraduates can make applications for these. However, it is still necessary to be accepted as a standard entrant prior to applying for the schemes. The Metropolitan Police offers a graduate entry programme for those with at least a 2.2.
Visible tattoos, debt problems and certain criminal convictions may also prevent entry. Previous experience is not expected, although attendance at familiarisation events and involvement in local police work can be advantageous.
- Able to handle responsibility
- Able to remain calm in challenging or dangerous situations
- Good interpersonal skills
- Communication skills
- Teamworking skills
- Problem solving skills
- Negotiating skills