Police officers investigate and prevent crime.

What does a police officer do?

Police officers investigate and prevent crime, as well as maintaining law and order. You could be based in a police station, or working as a beat officer on foot, on a bicycle, or in a patrol car. You’ll need to respond to a variety of calls and situations so good communication skills are essential.

What do I need to do to become a police officer?

The requirements to join the police vary between forces. Generally you will need to have lived in the UK for three years and be over the age of 18. You will also have to pass background and security checks. You will also have to pass physical and medical tests. 

A number of colleges offer courses in uniformed public services. These are not essential but provide a good preparation for a variety of careers in the police, fire service and armed forces

Related skills

  • Teamwork
  • Physical fitness
  • Patience
  • People management
  • Organisation
  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Leadership
  • Interpersonal skills

Related subjects

  • English
  • Foreign languages
  • Maths
  • Physical education
  • Religious studies

Essential qualifications

  • Be over the age of 18
  • UK resident for three years or more
  • Pass security and background checks
  • Pass medical and fitness tests

Where could I be working?

You'll usually be working to a shift pattern. You may be based inside a police station or outside on patrol. 

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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