Being a police officer means you’ll serve your local community, protect the public, prevent crime, and provide support to victims. It’s a varied, rewarding and challenging job, where you get to see the direct impact of your work.
So what does it take? Brilliant police officers need a range of skills which your studies will have equipped you with, no matter your chosen subject.
You’ll be responsible for interviewing suspects and gathering witness testimony or evidence and writing reports. Good interpersonal skills and a good memory are key when recording details which can make or break a case.
Problem solving and quick thinking
In this line of work, you’ll need to think on your feet. Being a police officer means you are often the first person to respond to a call for help. This means you will need to make quick decisions under pressure. You’ll be provided with the necessary training and expertise to handle these situations, so you feel confident when making that call.
Teamwork and collaboration
You won’t be alone. As a police officer, you will be supported by your colleagues and your entire local force. You’ll need to support them too, which is why working within a team for the greater good is essential. Looking out for your fellow officers can make all the difference in a challenging situation.
Motivation and drive
When you sign up to become a police officer, you’ll be committing to a job that gives you something new every day. It’s not your standard 9-to-5- but you’ll continue to learn and develop.
Being self-motivated and having the drive to get the job done is crucial. Being a police officer means you will encounter challenging situations, so persevering in the knowledge you are helping people is vital to get through more difficult times.
Empathy, compassion and patience
Officers need to be able to empathise with a broad range of people; whether consoling a person in shock, or dealing with an interviewee to help you get a better response.
Even though your role is to serve and protect, sometimes the actions of the public will test you. Your patience could make you a great police officer.
What if I don’t have all of these skills?
Already having many of these attributes is a great start, but it’s not expected or required. Quite the opposite, as the police service offers a variety of training and learning on the job.
Whatever you have studied or gained experience in, you will already have many transferable skills. The police service benefits from recruiting people with a range of experience and backgrounds, reflecting the diverse communities it serves.
How do I get in?
There are a number of ways in….
- graduate entry is via a two-year work training programme where you earn a graduate diploma after probation. Further details can be found on the Joining the Police website (opens in a new tab). Or there’s a two-year national leadership development programme (opens in a new tab) on the Police Now website.
- visit the Joining the Police website to find out about routes into policing that don’t need a degree (opens in a new tab) in advance too such as the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship, where you can earn and learn on the job, and end up with a degree at the end of the programme.
Ready to make a difference?
Find out about becoming one of the 20,000 officers being recruited now on the Joining the Police website.
Visit the National Careers Service for detailed career profiles and discover what each job involves.