How to become a Police Officer?

Are you curious, resilient, reliable and determined? Then being a Police Officer might be for you. An incredibly rewarding but challenging career path, have a look here for what a day in the life of a PC looks like.

Should I become a Police Officer?

Perhaps more than any other career path, you should make sure you're certain that being a Police Officer is for you before embarking on this journey. state that this could be the path for you if you:

  • Know how to lead in a crisis.

  • Respond with a calm and balanced approach.

  • Display high levels of emotional resilience.

  • Understand that everyone has a story.

  • Want a rewarding and challenging career opportunity.

Before jumping in, if you're still a bit unsure, it might be worth looking to get a taste of what it's like to work with the police by volunteering as a special constable with your local community.

You could also get paid work as a police community support officer (PCSO) before applying for police officer training.

How to become a Police Officer?

Made your decision. Brilliant!

Now let's look at the different options for you to become a Police Officer.

There are a few different routes into becoming a Police Officer, but the most popular is to apply directly.

You'll need A Levels or an equivalent level 3 qualification, or related experience such as in the military.

The recruitment process can take up to 6 months. If your application is successful, you'll be invited to an assessment centre, where you'll:

  • Have an interview

  • Take written tests

If you pass these, you'll then:

  • Complete a physical fitness test

  • Have a medical

  • Go through security and background checks

Before you apply

Before applying, you should ensure you've done everything that you can to prepare for each stage of the recruitment process. Kent Police provide some useful tips, but check your local police force's website before applying to see whether they provide any guidance.

It's also worth making sure that your fitness levels are up to scratch, because you won't want to reach that stage of the application only to miss those track times.

Fitness tests are generally a multi-stage shuttle run (MSSR) or 'bleep test', where applicants need to achieve a level 5.4 to pass. There are lots of bleep tests apps out there for you to download on your phone and test yourself in the garden or at your local park.

What other options are available?

Alternatively, you could start by doing a Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA), which is a work-based programme that leads to a degree in Professional Policing Practice. Search here for apprenticeships here.

If you have a degree, you could also look to apply to a Degree Holder programme or to the Police Now graduate scheme:

  • the Degree Holder programme – a two-year work-based training programme supported by off-the-job learning

  • the Police Now graduate leadership scheme – salaried, two-year leadership programme with responsibilities from day one.