Police constables, often referred to as police officers, serve the community. They aim to protect life and property, preserve order, prevent and investigate crime, and detect and prosecute offenders.
After training, police constables work as uniformed constables on the beat (either on foot or in a patrol car) or on police station duties, these would be working on the reception desk and dealing with the public, custodial duties and working in the communications room in two-way contact with officers on the beat.
Police constables undertake a range of tasks, including:
Police constables normally work 40 hours a week on a shift system which can include nights, with two rest days each week. Constables would usually be expected to work weekends and public holidays. Overtime is often available. You can apply to join the police force on a part-time basis.
Police constables may spend much of their time outdoors, on foot, in a patrol car or on a motorcycle. Work indoors is in a police station, a court of law, or on private or business premises.
To be a police constable you should:
The police service consists of 52 forces throughout the UK.
As higher rank positions are filled from within the police service, there are frequent promotion opportunities on passing the appropriate examinations.
Police constables may have the opportunity to specialise in one of the many specific branches such as the traffic police, the fraud squad or underwater search units.
A High Potential Development Scheme (HDP) exists to enable talented members of police forces to take advantage of fast track promotion opportunities. Any serving officer can apply to join the scheme after serving the initial two years as a constable. It is particularly attractive to graduates as the selection process is fairly intensive and favours candidates with good educational achievements and strong leadership abilities.
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