Police Officer jobs(Also known as Policeman, Policewoman, Police Constable, Police Community Support Officer)
A Police Officer protects the public from crime - deterring, investigating, apprehending and prosecuting criminal offenders. The role of Police Officer is extremely important in today's complex society where crime comes in forms ranging from minor disturbances involving out of control teenagers, to highly organised international crime rings. At the most basic level, Police Officers on the street constitute a visual deterrent to opportunist criminals and provide a rapid response and support role to victims of an actual crime. Meanwhile Police Officers are trained in both traditional, time honoured and state of the art technical detection techniques in order to uncover the perpetrators of complex, planned crimes. In dealing with criminals the role of Police Officer carries with it a high level of danger. Specialist training, working in teams and both offensive and defensive equipment such as pepper sprays, and protective vests help to minimise the danger of personal injury but do not eliminate it. Police officers use a rage of specialist crime prevention, defence and detection equipment. UK Police Officers may carry:
- An extendable baton.
- PAVA Incapacitant Spray
- A personal radio operating on a secure network
- A torch
- A Personal digital assistant
- Speedcuffs, the updated version of handcuffs with no chain attaching the two wrists.
SalaryA Police Officer's salary is stratified by his rank. Within each rank, pay increases with the length of time served along with performance related bonuses and the opportunity to work overtime.
- The starting salary of a Police Constable ranges from £21,000 to £24,000 per annum depending on location.
- A Police Constable's pay may rise to over £33,000 after several years service.
- A Police Sergeant earns between £33,000 and £38,000 per annum depending on length of service.
- A Police Inspector's salary starts at £43,000 rising to £48,000.
- At the very top levels of the police force, the heads of police earn in excess of £100,000.
ResponsibilitiesA Police Officer's daily responsibilities are varied and may change each day along with the situations encountered. In a normal day a Police Officer may have to perform any of the following duties:
- Meeting and conversing with local residents and small business owners.
- Making enquiries into crimes.
- Responding to emergency 999 calls.
- Interviewing suspected criminals and witnesses to crime.
- Providing emotional support to victims of crime.
- Conducting searches for missing persons.
- Giving evidence against criminals in court.
- Providing security at accident sites such as fires and car crashes.
- Providing extra security at large gatherings such as concerts, football matches and public celebrations.
- Visiting the local community to educate vulnerable citizens about crime prevention.
- Filling out reports.
- Dealing with drunk, disorderly or violent offenders.
- Arresting suspects and escorting them to the local police station for interview.
QualificationsNo official qualifications are required to begin training as a Police Officer and each police force takes care of its own recruitment procedures. However you must:
- Be a UK citizen.
- Be over the age of 18.
- Pass background and security checks.
- Declare any previous convictions.
- Have a good standard of physical fitness and vision (the use of corrective lenses is permitted).
SkillsDealing with the public, victims of crime and dangerous or potentially dangerous situations and people, requires a range of skills and abilities. The personal requirements of a Police Officer would include:
- Strong communication skills, the ability to empathise with or direct a conversation.
- The ability to keep a cool head in volatile or threatening situations.
- Bravery in the face of danger but not headstrong stupidity.
- Ability to make decisions quickly and prioritise when under pressure.
- Discipline and the ability to follow orders and give them.
- Good manners when dealing with the public.
- A sense of humour and a sense of dignity.
- An honest nature.
- A strong desire to help other people before oneself.
Working ConditionsPolice work is physically, emotionally and mentally tiring. Large amounts of your time would be spent on the beat i.e. in the public sphere dealing with crimes in the community. Back at the station, there are large amounts of paperwork to be dealt with for every crime reported. Police Officers also have to attend court regularly to give evidence at the trials of accused criminals Police officers work on a shift basis starting either early or late with two rest days a week. There is the option to work extra overtime and earn more pay.
ExperienceThe experience needed to be a Police Officer is gained 'on the job' and especially during the first two years training period. Volunteering as a youth Police Cadet will give a valuable insight into the daily working of a Police officer and may also help when it comes to applying for the job.
EmployersThe Police force is the only employer of Police Officers along with the MOD (Ministry of Defence) who operate their own special Police Force. Out of hours, Police Officers may be contracted on an advisory basis by private companies but they will then be working off-duty.
Career ProgressionThe Police Force recruits all position internally, therefore there is a lot of scope for motivated individuals to progress in their careers. Aside from the linear progression from Constable, Sergeant to Inspector, then Superintendent in the territorial force, there are numerous divisions within the Police Force to deal with crimes requiring a specialist approach, such as:
- CID (Criminal Investigations Department) which deals with serious crimes involving a high level of detective work such as rape and murder.
- Mounted Police.
- Specialist Search and Recovery Team.
- Missing persons unit.
- Special Branch which includes the anti-terrorist unit, specialist protection (for key public figures) and royalty protection unit.
- Armed response unit.
- Serious and Organised Crime Group.
- High-tech crime division.
- Covert policing (undercover operations).
- Traffic support.
John Smith**, 27 yrs old has worked as a Police Officer for 9 months. We spoke to him to find a little more about what it's like to work on the beat in London.