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Police officer

Police officers keep law and order, investigate crime, and support crime prevention.

Potential salary
£21,000 to £41,500
Working hours
37 to 40 a week
  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • negotiation skills for keeping people safe
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding for dealing with traumatic situations
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • leadership skills
  • active listening skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

In this role you could:

  • respond to calls for help from the public
  • investigate crimes and offences
  • interview suspects and make arrests
  • give evidence in court
  • control traffic and crowds at large public events and gatherings
  • advise the public on personal safety and crime prevention
  • promote respect for people in relation to their race, diversity and human rights

You may need to wear a uniform.

You could work on a patrol or at a police station.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers and physically and emotionally demanding.

You'll spend 2 years as a student officer before becoming a police constable. You can then decide whether you want to specialise in a particular type of policing, for example: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 or chief inspector.

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

You'll need to contact your local police force to apply, as each force has its own recruitment rules.

You can find out more about careers in the police from the College of Policing.

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