Do I need to be a Police officer to join the Police?
Many People's experience of the Police and their thoughts on what it would be like to become a Police officer are based exclusively of TV programmes and criminal dramas, but does this accurately reflect what the job is like? Most crime dramas focus on the role of a Police Officer and in particular Police detectives because these are the easiest Police jobs to dramatise, however there are a number of career routes possible within the Police.
Many people's reason for join the Police is to help people and there are a number of ways to achieve this goal within the Police without actually working on the front line.
Police constables are what most people imagine when they think of the Police. These are the type of Police officers that you are most likely to see on a daily bases. They're job is to respond to emergencies, conduct patrols and build relationships with the public. It takes extraordinary courage and resilience to be a Police Constable, it is one of the most difficult jobs in the Police force.
Other routes to a career in the Police
There are a number of career paths as an officer. Once an Officer has served his or her probationary two year period 'on the beat' they can choose to specialise. The length of this probationary period can vary from force to force it is worth noting. After this period, an officer can choose to specialise in a particular vocation such as the 'Armed Response Unit', they can become dog-handlers, child protection Officers, CID etc, many of these specialisations take Officers of the direct front line of policing and offer a different career path for advancement.
The Police could not function without the thousands of Police staff working behind the scenes organising and administrating the entire agency. These people, although not directly involved in Policing keep the whole machine running. They can be responsible for things such as recruiting, running background checks, sorting out internal matters, issuing firearms licenses and so much more. This is another way to serve your community if front line policing isn't for you.
Have you thought about becoming a PCSO?
Half way between front line policing and Police staff are the PCSOs. They're function is to actively build relationships in the community and very often be the face of the Police in places such as schools and neighbourhood meetings. They often carry out essential evidence gathering that gets passed on to Police Constables but do not directly get involved in the more violent or forceful aspects of Policing as they do not have the full power of arrest. This can be a useful way to gain experience to join the full Police force but many people prefer the role to that of a Constable as it suits their personality better.
As you can see there are many ways to be a part of the Police. The above is by no means an exhaustive list but it may give you some alternate career routes to think about.