You were thinking of applying to join us as a police officer, you then read yesterday’s blog about the drawbacks of policing and are now feeling depressed and are thinking about giving up, right?
Wait there, potential student police officer!
If things were as bad as all that, I don’t think I’d be doing the job myself and that I am and doing so happily suggests actually, there are some pretty good things too about being a police officer.
What are they then?
Why here is a random list designed to emphasise that whilst there were definitely some things highlighted yesterday that you need to consider, they in no way take precedence over the below -
- Make a difference – You’ll be in a unique position in which you will be able to make people’s lives considerably better. It’ll be down to you to help people put their lives back together and it’s easy to underestimate how much of a difference you’ll be able to make to people at their lowest ebb by providing to them the best, most professional service that you can. You may see problems in your community – drug dealing, vandalism, anti-social behaviour – here’s your chance to do something about it.
- Chance for personal development – With the opportunity to step into people’s homes and meet a wide cross-section of the community, you’ll find that your world view is challenged and perceptions you may have held about, say, prostitutes and drug dealers, is challenged when you find yourself speaking to them and seeing the circumstances that lead people into crime in the first place.
- Excitement – Driving a police car at high speed, diving through red lights and then chasing a suspect on foot with the helicopter hovering above you can be just a little exciting. You’ll get to do things in the first weeks of your service that most people won’t do in their entire lives and whilst it’s not Point Break every day, some shifts come close.
- Help serve the public – Whilst it may not feel this way all the time, everything you do in the course of your role as an officer will ultimately benefit the public and be worthwhile as such which is a hugely rewarding feeling.
- Opportunities for progression – West Midlands Police is the second largest force in the country and as such, there are roles inside the organisation that even I don’t know about having done the job for a few years now. We have dog units, firearms units, detective teams, a group of officers whose job it is to ensure planes don’t get shot down at Birmingham Airport. We have football spotters, gang specialists, officers specialising in conducting searches, a helicopter, collision investigators. The list goes on and on and if you fancy, there’s a chance to progress up the ranks also.
- Important work – This is the reason I joined, I wanted to do something that I felt to be important and to do it well. I can finish work with the satisfaction of being able to say someone who has been making a victim’s life a misery is going to court entirely because of my own work on the case. I used to work at a hotel and satisfaction would be ‘I laid the tables quite neatly’ or ‘I refilled the printer pretty well’. There’s no comparison!
- Responsibility – You’re often going to be the first person on the scene of major incidents, it’s going to be down to you to quickly assess what’s happening and decide what to do. You may have to prepare cases to go up to Crown Court and give evidence, you’ll likely be sent to serious crimes in the first instance and the actions that you take in the first few minutes of arrival can make a huge difference to how things progress further down the line. This amount of responsibility may feel daunting at first, you’ll develop the confidence to feed off it though.
- More than just a job – Teams tend to be quite close and there’s a fair amount of socialising too. Colleagues are friends and if you’re feeling active, there’s plenty of sports and social activities to pick from. It’s a tight-knit community and one that you’re likely to be very happy as a part of.
- Good conditions, pay – The take home pay isn’t too bad and there are chances for overtime, there’s a decent pension waiting at the end of your service too for when you’re a bit longer in the tooth and telling all the new recruits about how things were in ‘your day’.
- The X Factor – Police officers get discounted tickets to go and watch The X Factor being filmed. Joke! In terms of the things that you’ll see and do, from your first arrest to the moment you put on the Chief Constable’s epaulettes (when he’s not looking), there is simply no other job that comes anywhere close to The Job. That’s why they call it ‘The Job’.
- Sexy uniform and handcuffs – …
What I’d want you to take away from both my ‘think carefully’ and my ‘join immediately’ lists is that policing is a worthwhile, exciting job and whilst it’s not for everyone, the people who it ‘is for’ are very happy and would likely recommend taking the opportunity to join.
If you think it is for you then, go and express an interest on our recruitment website and as I’ve said, if you’re still not sure and want to know more then please ask and I’ll be more than happy to try answer.