How do you become a Police Officer?

Do you want to protect your community and keep everyone safe? Have you ever thought of becoming a police officer? If you want to know how much you could earn and any other requirements, you need to know. You’ll be able to find out what experience and qualifications you have that can already help you become a police officer right now. Continue reading to learn more about what police officers do, needed qualifications and skills, and much more.

What do Police Officers do?

As a police officer, your main responsibility when on duty is to enforce and explain the national and local laws in the region you serve in. Your presence is there to provide a visible deterrence from crime whilst comforting the surrounding community. As a police officer, you may promote and advise the public on safety and crime prevention.

Your day-to-day tasks consist of responding to public calls and those who need help in dangerous and illegal situations. You’ll be entrusted with investigating various crimes and offences to find the perpetrator. You may be assigned to interviewing and questioning suspects, using police interviewing techniques and coming to conclusions to make arrests.

Other aspects of your job may be controlling traffic and crowd control in large public areas, such as events and gatherings. Your main goal, which is crucial, is promoting respect for all people. Being a police officer means working at a station, patrolling and other outdoor environments, in all weather conditions, which can be a physically demanding job.

Find your next job

Want to stay up to date on the latest vacancies? Create an account. Apply easily to jobs, save vacancies and set up email alerts all in one place.

Police Officer Qualifications


Degree Holder Programme

Completing this two-year programme, you will achieve a level 6 postgraduate diploma in Professional Policing Practice. Your focus specialist areas include investigations, intelligence and response policing, to name a few. Meanwhile, you’re guided and supported by Police Development officers and force line managers.

Police Now Scheme

Joining the police with a degree like the Degree Holder Programme, offers two years of paid job training in over 30 different sectors in the police force. The two programs you can choose from are the National Graduate Leadership Programme and National Detective Programme.

Professional Policing Degree

Other qualifications to be a police officer include a self-funded policing degree. You will learn the academic theory behind professional policing. However, there are no guarantees for a job at the end of the three-year course. Except applying for a probationary constable role within five years.


Education which you can take during college, to gain skills and knowledge.

  • Level 3 National Diploma in Uniformed Protective Services
  • Level 3 Certificate in Public Services
  • Level 3 Diploma in Policing

You can apply either directly or through apprenticeships by completing these types of courses. For these courses, you’ll need 4 or 5 GCSEs in grades 9 to 4, or an equivalent for a level 3 course.

Work Experience

A Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA), is a 3-year work-based programme that can result in qualification for a degree in Professional Policing Practice. With this type of work experience, you have the opportunity to work for:

  • The National Crime Agency
  • His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs
  • The Ministry of Defence

  • Your entry requirements are 4 to 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 or A-levels which are equivalent.


  • Passing Enhanced Background and DBS Checks
  • You must be 18 years old or above
  • Pass a Fitness Test

Skills needed to become a Police Officer

Public Safety and Security Knowledge

Police Officers are trusted individuals who must explain and demonstrate safety and security. You must be involved in preventing crime and advise the public on how to stay safe in situations. These police officer skills are crucial in day-to-day interactions with the public.

Conflict Resolution

An important part of being a police officer is responding to and diffusing aggressive and dangerous situations.. In all situations, your skills in conflict resolution mean de-escalating in the safest way to provide security for yourself, colleagues and the public.

First Aid & CPR

As a police officer, you may need to assess the health of individuals. When responding to emergencies where the public is injured or attacked. You may also arrive before ambulance services, so having basic knowledge of what to do may save a life.

Physical Fitness

In most circumstances, a police officer's job requires a minimum level of physical fitness. However, in the UK, you must pass the job-related fitness test, also known as the JRFT. Maintaining both psychological and physical fitness is important throughout your employment.

Salaries of Police Officers in the UK

Starting pay for police officers is around £19,000 per year. The police salary for more experienced police officers is around £41,000; you’ll be working between 37 and 40 hours a week. Here is the progression from being a police officer to a chief superintendent within the police force. This shows you your potential career path.

Salaries of Police Officers in the UK

Ready to apply?

We have tons of jobs up for grabs. Check out our vacancies to find your ideal role and start applying today.

Overview of Police Officers

Profession Group Public Sector
Minimum Age 18 years old
Education Requirements GCSEs
Salary Indication £31,500
Related Jobs Security or Stewarding

FAQs about Police Officers

  • What is the fitness test for Police Officers?

  • The fitness test consists of a 15 m warm-up shuttle run/bleep test at level 3 with lower body stretches incorporated in. Following is an endurance fitness test, a 15 m shuttle run at level 5.4. This usually lasts 4 minutes, which is the minimum requirement.

  • How long is the police training in the UK?

  • There are 18 weeks of training, which includes law knowledge, defensive skills training and first aid courses.

  • What basic skills are required as a police officer?

    • Communication Skills
    • Problem-Solving Skills
    • Interpersonal Skills

See more of our professions guide