Key questions and answers for those thinking of applying to become a police officer.
What do I need to consider?
You need to be flexible about where you work – you might not work in your preferred location.
You will need great people skills, remaining calm and patient with members of the public, particularly in stressful or volatile situations.
You will need to work well with colleagues as part of an effective team.
You must be able to deal with complex and sensitive cases, requiring clear reasoning and evidence gathering.
You will need to be able to think on your feet – problem solving and responding to new challenges.
You will need to work shifts, nights and weekends (including public holidays).
You will need to handle traumatic situations and be able to communicate information sensitively.
You will need to be decisive and use your police powers appropriately.
You will need to give clear and accurate evidence in court.
You will develop new skills as data and technology become ever more important to policing.
Can I apply if I have a tattoo?
Any tattoos on your face, neck, arms or hands will be reviewed on an individual basis. If you are concerned, please email a picture of your tattoo to our recruitment team at [email protected] for advice.
Do I need to have a driving licence at the point of application?
You must hold a full manual driving licence at the point of application.
I have a student visa. Is this sufficient to apply?
Unfortunately, international students cannot apply.
Will I live and work in the same area?
Not necessarily. You could be posted anywhere across the county.
What length of probation will I have?
You will be required to successfully complete either a two year probation period on the DHEP programme, or a three year probation period on the PCDA programme.
What are the hours like?
You'll work a rolling shift pattern that includes 'earlies', 'lates' and 'nights'. Each shift is around nine to ten hours. It does take a while to get used to the hours, and it is important to maintain your personal fitness to help you adjust.
Where will I be posted?
Successful candidates are consulted on their initial postings, according to operational demand. Our team work hard to accommodate officers' wishes.
Will the vetting process ask me to declare cautions or convictions of people I know?
In short, yes. In addition to the need for you to declare any formal cautions (including as a juvenile), convictions for past offences, and bind-overs imposed by the courts you have had, you must do so for those associated with you when you go through the vetting process.
This includes your friends and family. Our vetting enquiries will reveal incidents from a long time ago; failure to disclose these will lead to your application being rejected as this is a key part of the Code of Ethics for honesty and integrity.