Careers in Policing

Policing and law enforcement within the UK includes agencies responsible for: the maintenance of law and order; the prevention and detection of crime; and the reassurance and support for communities.

If you want to do something worthwhile, like give something back to your community, then a career in the police service could be for you.

A job in the police service, put simply, will be to reduce crime and the fear of crime. Achieving this will mean:

  • meeting daily challenges
  • accepting responsibility
  • working as a team
  • gaining the respect of your community
  • and much more besides!

There are many different ways you can contribute in the police service. You’ll find out much more detail on this website, but read on for a quick overview of the roles.

Police officers

Police officers are on the frontline of crime initiatives. But exact roles depend on the force you apply to and whether you choose to specialise after your training.

Everyone who wants to become a police officer has to complete a two-year probationary period working on the beat as a patrol constable. Many officers prefer to spend the majority of their careers on patrol – but others opt to transfer to more specialist areas of work.

Whatever you choose, you will be guaranteed a varied, exciting and challenging role. Find out more in our police officers (new window) section.

Fast Track and Direct Entry are two new programmes aiming to attract a wider pool of talent into the police service, as well as rapidly promoting the very best talent from within the service. They will attract individuals with new perspectives and diverse backgrounds to support the continuous development of policing. To find out more information and to discover whether these programmes may be suitable for you please visit

Police community support officers

As a police community support officer (PCSO) you are the eyes and ears of your force on the street.

You will have to deal with an incredible range of issues, including:

  • supporting victims of crime
  •  helping with house to house enquiries
  •  dealing with truants, graffiti, abandoned vehicles and litter
  •  protecting the public from security threats

You will be in uniform, but you won’t generally have police powers. The extent of your powers can vary from force to force though so it’s worth checking with the force you wish to join. This isn’t a job for the faint-hearted, but if you want variety in a challenging and worthwhile career, then this could be for you. Find out more in our police community support officers (new window) section.

Special constables

Specials, as they are commonly known, are an unpaid trained force of volunteers who support the police’s work, especially in terms of public disorder.

As a special, you will have full police powers and will be asked to give four hours a week to your chosen force.

You will provide a vital link between the regular (full-time) police and your local community and could come from any walk of life. You may be at home bringing up a family, or in full or part-time employment. You just need to want to help your community and have a desire to make things better.

If this sounds like something you could do, find out more in our specials (new window) section.

Make a difference

Of course, there are other roles in the police, which might be right for you. And you can find out more about that on this site too.

Whichever role is right for you, remember you will make a difference to yourself and your community by joining the police.