Police officers respond to reports of incidents and follow up to help solve crimes. This could involve speaking to victims of crimes and witnesses, searching for evidence, investigating what has happened, making arrests and interviewing suspects. Later, they may need to give evidence in court.
There is also a preventative aspect to police officers’ work. For example, they may patrol areas and attend large events.
Alongside location-focused police forces, there are specialist forces such as the British Transport Police and the Ministry of Defence Police.
Typical duties include:
interviewing suspected criminals.
writing crime reports and keeping them up to date.
gathering prosecution evidence.
giving evidence in court.
fostering good relationships with the public.
patrolling areas by foot, bike, motorcycle and car.
making and processing arrests.
responding to emergencies and accidents.
offering advice and reassurance to the public.
providing advice on crime prevention.
controlling traffic and crowds.
keeping the peace/mediating in tense situations.
You’ll work shifts as a police officer; these vary from one force to another. You’re likely also to need to work extra hours to respond to emergencies.
It is possible to become a police officer both with or without a degree.
You could qualify through a police constable degree apprenticeship, which takes a minimum of three years to complete. You will need at least 48 UCAS points with at two A levels, one of which should be A*–C and one that is A*–E (or equivalent).
You could also take a degree in policing, which usually lasts for three years. Once you’ve graduated, you can apply to join the police.
If you’re a graduate you could join a degree-holder entry programme. As mentioned, one is the Police Now Leadership programme, which is open to candidates with a minimum 2.1 in any degree discipline and works with a number of forces across England and Wales.
You’ll need to meet other non-academic entry requirements to join the police, and these vary from one force to another. A number of forces require you to have lived in the UK for at least three years before you apply for a job. Check with individual forces for their entry requirements.