What does it take to be a police officer?

A London Met police officer Image copyright Getty Images

There are going to be 20,000 new police officers in England and Wales, according to the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

So with so many potential jobs up for grabs, we wanted to find out what it takes to become a constable in 2019.

Is the fitness test really hard? Do you need to pass lots of exams? Can you join straight from school?

Jo Noakes, director at The College of Policing, explains some of the basic eligibility requirements.

Who can apply?

We are looking for people with a range of skills and experience and people from diverse backgrounds and communities.

You are not limited to any particular age group, although you must be over 18, and we also welcome people looking for a career change.

Qualities we are looking for are people motivated to serve the public, who have common sense and display empathy.

Image copyright Getty Images

Do I need a degree?

No you don't need a degree. There are three different entry routes and you can join straight from school on an apprenticeship if you want to.

You will need to pass some written tests and need a GCSE in English (or equivalent) though.

Do I have to be fit?

You must physically and mentally be able to undertake police duties and there is a fitness requirement, because officers must be able to move quickly while carrying heavy equipment.

If you pass the assessment process, you will then have to take a physical fitness test. To pass, you will need to be reasonably fit and able to run short distances fairly quickly. Later you will also have to pass a medical examination.

What is the interview like?

There is an assessment centre all candidates have to go through. The interview will be trying to tease out why you are joining policing and will include role play. We are trying to understand how you make decisions and assess your values and communication skills.

The role play can be interesting and is not usually set in a police environment. For example you might be asked to role play someone who is working in customer service in a shopping centre. It is all about seeing if you can recognise the issues and solve problems.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption An armed police officer in Lancashire

How much can you earn?

It varies regionally. Lancashire Police start at £23,500 and the London Metropolitan Police starting salary is nearer to £30,000.

Chief Constables earn over £100,000 though.

Most people joining the Police aren't motivated by money.

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