|Thames Valley Police|
|Large business (250+ employees)|
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A day in the life of a Police Constable in the United Kingdom
What I do
I'm currently working on a plain-clothed team working to disrupt local class A drug supply and organised crime. I've previously worked on 'shift' (responding to 999/101 calls) and done some partnership working with the local prison and mental health hospital to try and reduce demand on police and improve how different services are working together.
Skills I use and how I developed them
Roles within the Police vary so much that there is something for everyone, but interpersonal skills are really key, as is the ability to work effectively under pressure and a commitment to public service.
More specifically, analysing information and people is clearly important as is the ability to express yourself clearly and concisely.
What I like most
I like feeling like what I'm doing matters and has a tangible impact on people's lives. It can also be a genuinely exciting job with adrenaline rushes like extreme sports. I'm also glad to have been exposed to such a range of people and sides of life I'd been relatively sheltered from while growing up. Working in a relatively stressful environment also encourages extremely close bonds with your colleagues, which is brilliant.
Finally, I love the variety of different specialisms within the police, from detectives investigating organised crime, terrorism and domestic or child abuse; intelligence and covert roles; highly operational departments such as surveillance and firearms; and promotion leading to high-level policy roles.
What I like least
Having to work weekends can get pretty frustrating (but thankfully my current role is generally Monday - Friday!).
What surprised me most
I was slightly nervous before starting that the Police would feel very conservative and I'd brush up against prejudice and the '-isms' that the Police are often accused of. However, this couldn't be further from the truth and I have been hugely impressed and inspired by the compassion, bravery and commitment of my colleagues. I feel embarrassed for having held such as naive view but extremely grateful to be able to work with such a brilliant team of people.
My career goals when I graduated
I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do (like most people) but I had drifted away from working in 'pure' psychology but knew I wanted to do something 'real' with a positive social impact. Initially, I thought this would be with the civil service but after talking to a friend who was already a Police Officer I ended up turning down an offer from the Civil Service fast track and following in his tracks. I realised that the variety and excitement offered by a job in the police was something that really appealed to me.
My advice to students considering work
Consider which route into policing you want to take, then just start the process! I think it's a real shame that I never saw Policing advertised as an option at University and it's only through luck that I stumbled into it. It's definitely worth asking to go on a 'ride-along' to get a sense of the work, but if you think it might be something you'd enjoy I can promise it's worth a go! Worst case scenario, you can leave after a few years having learnt a huge amount about life around you and developing skills that will last you for a lifetime. That was my initial intention, but I'm now fully expecting it to be my career for life.
I'm happy to accept any questions people have about working/applying for the Police or even
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