Many children dream of becoming a police officer, just like firefighters or astronauts, it’s one of those ‘hero’ jobs that inspire us. In reality, it takes a certain set of skills of attributes to be a successful police officer and here we look at what’s involved in the recruitment process:

Some basic requirements you need to meet before you apply include:

  • Aged 18 or over
  • Be a UK, Commonwealth or EU citizen
  • Pass security checks

There are no formal educational requirements as long as you are able to pass their entry tests, however from 2020 onwards, this is changing. After 2020, you will need a degree in policing to become an officer. This is being done to ensure all recruits have a thorough enough training and education to face the ever changing and complex world of policing.

Following a successful application, you will be expected to attend an interview, complete written tests, undergo a physical fitness test and have medical and eyesight tests. There are also no minimum or maximum height requirements any longer. There are several different routes into policing. Those with a degree can apply for the Police Now Graduate Programme and applicants with management experience could apply for entry to inspector or superintendent.

Skills required for the role of police officer include:

  • Strong communication skills
  • Initiative and confidence
  • Learn procedures quickly and digest information quickly
  • Work well in a team
  • Ability to stay calm in difficult situations and make decisions

The job is hugely varied but as a patrol officer, the tasks might include:

  • Acting as a first responder to calls for help from the public
  • Investigating different offences and criminal activity
  • Conducting interviews and carrying out arrests
  • Crowd control and traffic control
  • Providing advice about safety
  • Treating everyone fairly according to their needs

Police officers must be prepared to work unsociable hours as policing is a 24/7 365 day a year service that never closes. You’ll need to work weekends, nights and public holidays. Being on patrol could see you in a vehicle, on foot, boat, horseback, bicycle or motorbike. A good level of physical fitness is required and needs to be maintained and the job can sometimes be dangerous. A good knowledge of the digital world is also required as policing becomes increasing tech-enabled. More police officers are now being equipped with a smart phone and a body worn camera. For more information, visit https://www.pinnacleresponse.com/

The requirements of the job can seem daunting but the training that recruits receive is among some of the best in the world. Two years is spent as a student before officially becoming a police constable. After this time, you can make a decision as to whether you want to specialise in a certain area of policing. Different specialisms include:

  • Drugs and firearms
  • Counter-terrorism
  • Dog-handling or police horse training
  • CID
  • Anti-fraud
  • Traffic

Other similar roles to consider include that of Police Community Support Officer (PCSO). These officers don’t have the same powers but are crucial in neighbourhood policing. The role includes dealing with minor offences, early intervention, conducting enquiries, guarding, supporting and providing advice to the public.