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Police officer

Every day presents a new challenge and every day is both different, yet at the same time exciting. Police constables make up almost three quarters of all police officers in England and Wales. Constables help us build positive relationships with the communities we serve. 

The role of a police officer

To be eligible for a police officer role you must;

  • be aged 18 or older
  • hold a full UK driving licence
  • be a British Citizen, an EC or EEA national, a Commonwealth Citizen or Foreign National with no restrictions on your stay in the UK
  • have lived in the UK for a minimum of three years prior to your application
  • have no offensive tattoos which can be seen as discriminatory, violent or intimidating
  • have no criminal convictions or cautions. 

The full recruitment process may take up to 18 months and you should only apply to one force at any one time.

Working pattern of police officers

You will be assigned to a local policing unit and work a shift pattern, which will include a variety of shifts over 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For example, you may be required to work two early shifts (6am until 2pm), two late shifts (2pm until 10pm) and two night shifts (10pm until 6am).

Following the successful completion of a two year probationary period, you will be able to apply for specialist roles, if you wish.

Gaining skills and experience as a police officer

As a constable you will become skilled in remaining calm and confident and learn to respond logically and decisively in difficult circumstances.

You will also learn to gather information from a range of sources to ensure you fully understand different situations.

As a constable, you will also be required to work effectively in a team and treat people with dignity and respect at all times, no matter what their background, status, circumstances or appearance.

Constables are usually the first to arrive at the scene of an incident. Whether it’s a road collision, burglary or violent crime, you will be responsible for making the first, and often vital, decisions at crime scenes.

You may find this online pre-application questionnaire for police constables useful to help you decide whether you’d be suited to the role.

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