A-Z Of Employers: The Police


What do they do?

The police forces of England and Wales have their origins in the Bow Street Runners, set up to stop thieves in London in 1750, and Sir Robert Peel's first professional body of constables, introduced 80 years later. After London set the pace, the rest of the country soon followed suit. These days, although society, and its policing, has changed unrecognisably, the only way into the force remains via the rank of constable. However the High Potential Development Scheme (HPDS), which operates across the country, gives new recruits the opportunity to get on a promotion fast track from the moment they join.

Vital Statistics:

There are 43 police forces in England and Wales, comprising 141,230 police officers, 11,918 volunteer special constables and 6,214 community support officers.

The office:

Outside London, forces are mainly organised along county boundaries, with one central headquarters, and a network of stations of various sizes in cities and towns. Although this isn't an office job, some time is spent behind a desk, and a computer.

Is this you?

First you need to be prepared to start on the beat, dealing with domestic incidents, street disturbances, road accidents and both sides of crime: offenders and victims. If, in addition, you see yourself in leadership roles, often handling sensitive situations under high pressure, then this is the scheme for you.

The recruitment process:

Go to www.policehighpotential.org.uk for application details. A high mark in the basic recruitment test (sat by all applicants) will send you down the HPDS application channel, an assessment centre process that tests your problem solving, organisation and communications skills, as well as "customer focus" and "respect for race and diversity." If you're taken on, your initial training will be the same as any other recruit, but you'll be able to go for promotion much sooner. There'll also be ongoing advice and guidance from senior officers to help you gain broad experience across the police spectrum. But before all this, you'll have several months at a training centre, learning the basic tools of the trade.

Top Dollar?

Pay is no different than for other recruits, who start their training on £20,000, rising to £22,000 on passing out (more in London). However HPD officers should rise through the pay milestones much more quickly, so could be pulling in £53,000 as a superintendent comfortably within a decade of joining.

Beam me up Scotty?

The first few promotions follow formal exams. Thereafter it's on merit. But you could wear the stripes of a sergeant in your second year, and be a chief inspector six years later.

Who's the boss?

Britain's senior police officer is Sir Ian Blair, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. All other forces have a chief constable in charge. Political responsibility rests with the Home Secretary.

Little known fact:

Six out of the UK's 45 police forces are led by women, four as chief constables and two as acting chief constables

Next week: PricewaterhouseCoopers, accountants.

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Graduate Graphic Designer - Peterborough - £18,000

£22000 - £23000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Graphic Designer...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Cambridgeshire - £23,000

£22000 - £23000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Front-End Develo...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Trainee Recruitment C...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower