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Types of police jobs

Information on the types of jobs, training and vacancies at Cambridgeshire Constabulary;

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. 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 in your role

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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Special constable

Special constables are a true sign of the partnership between the police and the public. They provide vital support to a whole range of policing activities. There are many voluntary organisations throughout the county yet the Special Constabulary offers a unique variety of experience and excitement.

The role of a special

Specials provide a link between the police and the diverse communities we serve, helping the force meet policing needs and increase the level of public satisfaction.

Specials are sworn in by a magistrate in the same manner as a regular police officer. They work alongside their regular colleagues, are based at the same police stations, have the same powers in law, including the power of arrest, and wear the same uniform.

You will find the work of a special constable varied, interesting and at times, exciting. But above all you will have the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping to reduce crime, disorder and fear in Cambridgeshire.

'Specials', as the special constables are known, come from all walks of life. They’re teachers, taxi drivers, accountants and secretaries and they all volunteer a minimum of four hours a week to their local police areas.

Benefits of being a special

People join the special constabulary for many different reasons. Some want to give something back to the community, others want to expand their skill sets and life experiences, and some are interested in joining the regular police force and want to know more about what police do.

Joining the Special Constabulary opens up a world of opportunity for personal and professional development. Undergoing the training and then performing the role of a police officer is challenging, but provides a welcome break from day-to-day life, bringing excitement and new insight with every day you volunteer.

Benefits of being a special constable include;

  • significant learning and development opportunities that would bring a competitive advantage in the employment market
  • gaining confidence
  • significantly widening your life experiences
  • developing teamwork and problem solving skills
  • keeping the people and communities of Cambridgeshire safe by delivering a high-quality policing service.

Apply to be a special

We welcome applications from people of all different backgrounds, cultures, religions, ages, genders and sexual orientations. There are some eligibility conditions that all applicants must meet as part of their application;

  • must be 18 or over
  • able to cope in a busy environment
  • have time to spare
  • be a British Citizen or passport holder from a full EU member state. You can also apply if you're a Commonwealth citizen or foreign national who is a resident in the UK with indefinite leave to remain. All applicants must have a minimum of three years’ UK residency
  • do not have a criminal record. If you do have a criminal record, this doesn't mean you're automatically ineligible; it depends on the nature of your conviction. Please declare any caution or conviction on your application form and if you have any questions on this, you can contact for advice
  • must not have any offensive tattoos which can be seen as discriminatory, violent or intimidating or could be offensive. Visible tattoos must be covered if you are successful in your application. Please supply photos and measurements of any tattoos along with your application
  • should be financially stable. If you are struggling with debt, you may still be able to apply. You should provide us with evidence of your ability to manage your debts successfully. However, if you have any outstanding county court judgements or you are not discharged from bankruptcy, then you are automatically ineligible.

You can find an application form to become a Special constable on our recruitment pages

If you wish to contact someone local to discuss the role of a special or the application process please use one of the below email addresses;

Duties of a special

Specials work with the regular force, which means you will work side-by-side with your regular colleagues, responding to all kinds of incidents.

Once qualified for independent patrol, there are opportunities to specialise in other departments. Road policing, investigations and safeguarding vulnerable people are some examples.

Specials also work at football matches and other public events, such as galas and concerts. They support regular officers in times of emergency and assist with matters such as crime prevention, taking crime reports, witness interviews, enquiries, escorts, youth diversion and transport.

Special constables drive police vehicles at varying levels of competency and complete the same driving courses as regular police officers.

Special constables are not paid, but do receive meal and mileage expenses to ensure they’re not out of pocket when they turn up to perform a duty. As a special constable, there is also potential for promotion to the following ranks;

  • Chief Officer
  • Assistant Chief Officer
  • Special Superintendent
  • Special Chief Inspector
  • Special Sergeant.

Special constable training

Before taking part in any police patrol duties, you will undergo an initial training course. The course is over a 10 week period, which will consist of distance learning via online training packages, including;

  • criminal law
  • legal powers
  • traffic offences
  • policies, procedures
  • communication and radio use
  • practical policing skills
  • IT systems
  • self-defence
  • first aid.

During initial training there will also be frequent evening webinar sessions to support and guide you. There is also a mandatory Sunday session to enable you to practice your skills.

Mandatory attendance at a regional training centre is required for four consecutive weeks, where you will attend all day on both Friday and Saturday for personal safety training and assessed role plays to test your law knowledge.

At the end of your training, you will receive a certificate at a graduation ceremony to mark the successful completion of the course.

After initial training and graduation, you will have a further 18 months with a coach to complete your police action checklist (PAC). The checklist consists of six units, which relate to arresting, searching and responding to incidents and need to be completed before you can patrol independently.

Policing never stands still, so you are expected to keep yourself abreast of changing law, policy and procedure. Training will be provided throughout your 18-month probationary period to assist you.

To find out about the history of the Special Constabulary and the employer supported policing (ESP) scheme, visit our specials page.

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Police Community Support Officer

Police community support officers (PCSOs) are a vital part of the police family and are valued members within local policing teams.

Role of a PCSO

The role of a PCSO involves working alongside police officers and assisting the force in achieving its mission of creating a safer Cambridgeshire.

PCSOs provide a visible uniformed presence and focus on reducing anti-social behaviour and the fear of crime as well as reassuring the public to help make the county a safer place to live and work.

PCSOs may help with issues such as;

  • providing and reassuring presence in the community
  • dealing with community issues
  • gathering evidence for investigations
  • helping with missing people enquiries
  • assisting with house-to-house enquiries
  • patrolling major public events
  • protecting the public from security threats
  • supporting victims
  • helping direct traffic at scenes of accidents.

PCSOs regularly work with partner agencies, such as local councils, and attend community and Neighbourhood Watch meetings as well as paying visits to nearby schools and colleges.

Although PCSOs do not have the power to make arrests, they are able to hold suspects for up to 30 minutes until a police officer arrives.

Skills and experience to be a PCSO

PCSOs are required to have;

  • good verbal communication skills
  • ability to use tact and diplomacy when dealing with emotional individuals
  • clear written communication skills, including the ability to draft reports
  • confident, mature and assertive manner
  • the ability to develop positive working relationships with people at all levels
  • team work skills
  • a willingness to get involved in a range of situations
  • a reasonably high level of fitness to perform foot patrols
  • an appreciation of the importance of confidentiality
  • flexibility in working hours and demand
  • high levels of initiative, awareness and judgement.

Training for PCSOs

PCSOs are trained at force headquarters over six weeks and the training covers;

  • relevant areas of law
  • human rights legislation
  • community awareness
  • problem-solving skills
  • patrolling skills
  • using the police computer
  • paperwork
  • airwave training
  • self-defence
  • first aid.

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Police staff

Police staff help make a positive difference to the way we police Cambridgeshire every day. We currently have more than 800 staff members who are skilled in a wide range of areas, from administration to forensic support.

If you’re aged 16 or over and are looking for an opportunity that is both challenging and rewarding, Cambridgeshire Constabulary could be for you.

Like all other policing roles, police staff members must be British citizens, members of the EC/EEA, Commonwealth citizens or foreign nationals who have the right to live and work in the UK. You must have resided in the UK for a minimum of a year and be able to provide sufficient detail on family members to enable us to carry out security vetting.

View police staff vacancies.

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Police support volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to get involved with your community and make a difference. We offer rewarding opportunities with a variety of roles.

Police support volunteer (PSV) roles are unpaid positions, undertaken by those willing to give up their free, valuable, time. Volunteers assist us with improving the connection between the police and our communities and our aim of improving the quality of life for all.

We welcome people who are committed to helping us create a safer Cambridgeshire.

Volunteering roles

We offer a variety of volunteering roles including;

  • cadet leaders
  • supporting victims and witnesses of crime
  • CCTV operatives
  • crime reduction
  • supporting local policing teams with community engagement projects
  • intelligence analysis
  • assisting various internal police departments
  • interviewers
  • role-players.

There are many other ways to volunteer and support our police workforce, such as;

Apply to be a police support volunteer

If you can dedicate a few hours each week we want to hear from you.

As a volunteer, you will gain valuable skills, training and experience, which can help enhance your CV and future career opportunities.

No experience is required to become a volunteer as we will provide you with training, support and development opportunities. You will also learn about how we work as a police force.

If you are interested in becoming a police support volunteer in Cambridgeshire and are over 18 years of age, please get in touch with us by emailing

Cambridgeshire police support volunteer roles should not be considered for work experience or work placements.

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Police officer transfers

The force offers transferees the opportunity to work in a highly diverse and rapidly expanding area of the country. From the inner city locations of Peterborough and Cambridge to the countryside communities of Fenland. From major road networks, to major national and international events such as the East of England Show, the variety of a career with the force is always challenging.

We are committed to equal opportunities. We value the principles and practices of excellence and equality in both the policing services we deliver and in the way we recruit, develop, train and employ our teams.

Providing a wide range of career opportunities, specialist posts and promotion prospects, Cambridgeshire Constabulary is a great choice for officers wishing to transfer.

To see if we are currently accepting transferee officers please visit our current vacancies.

You can find out more about our force in our about us area.

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