An Insider’s Guide to Life as a Police Officer
Being a police officer is certainly a massive responsibility in terms of public safety and service. If you
are new to joining the force, you may feel out of place and not quite sure what to expect. If you are
currently in training, it may be helpful to know what to expect too.
What Does it Involve?
A police officer’s job revolves around the protection of people within the community they serve.
Protection forms part of their primary responsibilities but supportive roles are included too. Many
people look up to the officers that work in their community and rely on them for assistance with
regards to many daily activities. There are 45 police forces within the United Kingdom and their roles
include maintaining public order, as well as combatting crime, terrorism and antisocial behaviour.
Working hours are typically laid out in eight hours shifts with the average of 40 hours per week that
they are expected to be on duty. Being in the employ of public service does, however, mean that
hours will depend on emergency callouts, late-night shifts and other special circumstances.
Employee benefits include annual leave, paid sick leave and the police pension scheme. It is a good
idea to ensure you have additional insurance set up for yourself such as police car insurance, life
insurance and a Trust. Generally, insurance for police officers is more affordable than the layman
due to the fact that police officers are more likely to obey the rules of the road, speed limits etc
Important Skillsets for Police Officers
Soft and hard skillsets will be required from a police officer to carry out their duties effectively. Being
approachable, friendly, yet stern is a delicate balance that each officer should aim to portray.
Negotiation, listening and clear communication skills are another important skillset that will be
needed from a serving officer.
Stress management is a crucial skillset too as the job will be demanding, occasionally physical in
nature and potentially dangerous. A police officer should find healthy ways to destress after a day on
the beat and ensure they take care of their mental, emotional and physical wellbeing to be able to
handle the demands of their job.
Career and Professional Development
Although a career in policing can be harrowing at times, it is also a hugely rewarding profession.
Starting out as a junior police officer does not require a degree but once you have joined the force,
you have ample opportunity to work on your career development and advancement. Studying while
working is a great way to climb the career ladder within the force and is encouraged within the
sector. Career aspects within the force include titles such as: police or chief constable, sergeant,
inspector or chief inspector, deputy chief constable, assistant chief constable, superintendent and
chief superintendent, or specialist units, to name a few.
The best way to find out what to expect on the job would be to speak to those who are already in
the force or officers that have retired. Officers in the force can give you realistic expectations of
what to expect as well as some great advice and insight that will enable you to be a successful officer
in your own right.