Job as a Police officer

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John Croft is a city centre beat officer with the second largest police force in the country. Working as part of a team of five police officers at one of the Midlands' busiest stations, he sees life in the raw dealing with many unexpected situations.

Which areas do you cover?

I work in one of the city's biggest sectors. This includes offices, shops, pubs and clubs plus the university and a large housing estate. This means my work can range from investigating abandoned cars and responding to emergency incidents like robberies and terrorist alerts to being involved in specific operations such as targeting drug dealers.

What equipment do you carry with you?

As a uniformed police constable I wear a stab vest and also carry a personal radio, handcuffs, an extendable baton and CS spray. For public disorder incidents my kit includes a helmet, shield and extra protective padding. This might seem a lot to wear but it's essential.

Why did you choose to join the police?

It gives me great satisfaction knowing that I can help and protect people. I also like the fact that each day is very different.

What hours do you work?

I work three different shift patterns. The early shift starts at 7am and finishes at 3pm. Late shifts are from 2pm to 10pm while nights last from 10pm to 7am.

Have you ever had to deal with any dangerous situations?

Not too many, thankfully. I was once on routine patrol with a colleague when we noticed five people acting suspiciously on the back of a double-decker bus. One of the men pointed what looked to be a firearm at us. Because there were families with children on board we had no choice but to stop the bus. The offender tried to make a run for it but we caught him with the weapon.

What skills and qualities should a good police officer possess?

Be approachable with good communication skills, and have the ability to remain calm in stressful situations.

What are your long-term career goals?

I'm just studying for my sergeant's exam and I would like to succeed in that and eventually have my own team of beat officers to manage.

John's route to becoming a Police officer

  • GCSEs.
  • A Levels.
  • Police probationer training.
  • Public order training course.
  • Area car driving course.

John's tips

  • Never say you can't do something unless you've had a go first.
  • Always show determination, interest and enthusiasm.

Police officer related jobs

  • Prison officer
  • Private investigator
  • Security officer/manager
  • Store detective

Salary of a Police officer

  • New recruits are paid £19,227 rising to over £22,000 once the two-year probationary period has been completed.
  • After five years a constable would be earning £24,852.
  • After 10 years, £28,914.
  • A sergeant earns £30,186 on appointment.
  • Metropolitan Police officers receive a London weighting.
  • Uniforms are provided.

Requirements to become a Police officer

  • There are no educational requirements to become a police officer, although numeracy and literacy skills will be tested on the assessment day. Fitness is tested separately. Forces are interested in honesty, respect for others and the ability to create solutions.
  • Evidence of work in a customer-facing role is often helpful.
  • Once a police constable has passed their probation, there are opportunities to apply for other departments.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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