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How to become a Police Constable

police constable careers

What does a Police Constable do?

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:

  • responding to calls for assistance from the public
  • making enquiries into crimes and offences and making arrests
  • interviewing witnesses and suspects, preparing crime reports and taking statements
  • searching for missing persons
  • giving evidence in court
  • attending accidents and fires
  • policing large public events, concerts and demonstrations
  • visiting schools to give talks.

What's the working environment like working as a Police Constable?

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.

What does it take to become a Police Constable?

To be a police constable you should:

  • be honest, confident and socially aware, with a mature attitude
  • be able to weigh up a situation, react quickly and take positive action
  • be resilient and able to remain calm in sometimes life-threatening situations
  • have the ability to work alone or in a team and to communicate clearly
  • have courage initiative and common sense
  • be physically fit to deal with incidents and disturbances
  • be able to record details of incidents and arrests accurately
  • be firm, yet tactful and able to show tolerance and courtesy to the public
  • have the ability to be disciplined, and able to give and receive instructions.

Police Constable Career Opportunities

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.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Police Constable that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

UK Police Portal

Police Service Recruitment

Consensia Partnership

Skills for Justice
9 Riverside Court
Don Road
S9 2TJ
Tel: 0114 261 1499

Facts and Stats:

  • The Ministry of Defence is British Industry''s largest single customer
  • Every year, civil servants are responsible for public spending of around £300bn
  • If every MP turned up at the chambers of the House of Commons at the same time, there would not be enough seats for them all to sit down

Courses to help you become a Police Constable