How to become a police officer

Industry: public services

Salary: £19,000 plus

The role of a police officer is to ultimately protect the public. They support those affected by crime and work in partnership with communities to enforce law and order. A police officer’s work improves the quality of life for those in their community and reduces their fear of crime.

A police officer’s salary starts out at approximately £19,000 and increased to over £40,000 with experience. Police officers typically work 37 to 40 hours per week, including evenings, weekends, and bank holidays.

Why choose a career as a police officer?

As well as a competitive salary and holiday allowance, there are many other reasons people choose to become a police officer. Here are just a few reasons people decide to apply to become a police officer and pursue the career:

  • Working in the police force is a rewarding career that allows you to make an impact through your job. A police officer plays an active role in preventing crime, protecting the community, and getting justice for victims.
  • No two days are ever the same when you become a police officer! Whether you’re patrolling your local community, policing a large event, or investigating a crime, a day in the life of a police officer is always varied.
  • You won’t be short of career opportunities when you join the police force either. There are a vast range of specialisms within the police force, so you can choose a path that you feel passionately about. You will also have the opportunity to climb the ranks during your policing career and progress to more senior roles.

What are the key responsibilities of a police officer?

  • As we’ve already mentioned, your role as a police officer will be varied and every day will be different. So, here’s an overview of what your key responsibilities will be once you become a police officer:
  • Patrolling the local community to act as a visible presence.
  • Responding to calls for assistance from the public when an incident occurs.
  • Investigating crimes and offences by gathering evidence and interviewing suspects, victims and witnesses.
  • Conducting arrests while also considering human rights, health and safety, and security.
  • Dealing with sensitive situations such as delivering news of the death of a loved one to next of kin.
  • Attending and giving evidence in court and hearings.
  • Preparing and presenting case files to senior officers and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
  • Attending events such as sporting and music events, public meetings, processions, or strikes to control the traffic and crowds and intervene should a situation arise.
  • Gathering, recording, and analysing intelligence and information from members of the public to promote community safety and prevent crime.
  • Attending road-related incidents such as road traffic collisions and traffic offences.

What skills do I need to become a police officer?

To be successful in your journey to join the police, you’ll need to possess certain skills and qualities. Here are the attributes you’ll need to become a police officer:

  • Outstanding verbal communication skills.
  • An understanding of legal procedures and regulations.
  • Knowledge of public safety and security.
  • The ability to remain calm and patient during stressful or volatile incidents.
  • Empathy and sensitivity for dealing with traumatic situations.
  • Honesty, trustworthiness, integrity, and resilience.
  • Strong written skills to write reports and record details accurately.
  • Leadership and teamwork skills.
  • Physical fitness to cope with the demands of the job.


How do I become a police officer?

Would you love to join the police and want to know how you can apply to be a police officer? We answer some of the most frequently asked questions to help you take your next steps towards your dream career.

What opportunities are there for career progression in the police force?

Once you have completed your route to becoming a police officer, you’ll need to complete and pass your probationary period as a police constable. As you gain more and more experience, you’ll be able to apply for promotions to sergeant, inspector, or chief inspector. You can also look to specialise in a particular area of policing such as:

  • Dog handling
  • Mounted police
  • Cyber crime
  • Road traffic
  • Firearms
  • Counter-terrorism
  • Criminal investigation department (CID)

If you’re ready to take your next step towards becoming a police officer and you need help meeting the entry requirements for your chosen route, get in touch with our team.

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