Top five tips for … becoming a police officer

Are you considering a future in the police force? As a police officer you can make a real difference in your community

As part of your three-year training programme, you’ll focus on areas such as being a detective, working within the roads policing unit and learning the skills of neighbourhood policing. Working in the police force can be both physically and intellectually demanding occupation, requiring high levels of emotional intelligence, strong behavioural interpretation skills, and an ability to analyse and resolve rapidly evolving events.

You’ll meet and work with people from a wide community, so need to work without any prejudice or discrimination, communicating effectively and with tact and diplomacy at all times.

Take a look at our top five skills to help you prepare for life as a police officer:


  1. Effective communication
    Good verbal communication is a really important part of being a police officer, as you are always acting in the best interests of the public. You’ll need to listen and engage with people’s needs and concerns, making them feel valued and respected. You’ll also need to testify in court sometimes, which means you need to stand in the witness box and answer questions from the prosecution and the defence. Develop your written and verbal communication skills, because they will need to be delivered in a style and language that is appropriate to the situation.
  2. Organisation is key
    Are you good with paperwork? Keeping thorough and accurate records is a really important part of policing as you’ll need to make sure evidence is reliable and can stand up in court if necessary. Detailed records help ensure that everyone knows what has happened in a case and will support successful prosecutions and outcomes.
  3. Keep a level head
    Being a police officer can involve dealing with distressing situations, such as attending crime scenes and traffic accidents or breaking bad news to members of the public. You’ll need to keep a level head and be prepared to deal with every eventuality with tact and in a calm and confident manner. You’ll receive training to help you manage and deal with difficult situations, but it’s worth giving this some thought when you’re considering your application.
  4. Test your fitness
    As a police officer able to fulfil your duties you’ll need a good level of fitness, both physically and mentally. If you currently don’t feel you are quite fit enough, perhaps think about taking on a more demanding sport or activity to increase your stamina and strength.
  5. Flexibility
    Police work is not your typical 9-5 job and it does require working shift patterns as officers are needed to be on call as and when situations arise. You’ll need to be flexible and adaptable in order to meet the operational needs of the team. This will also help you to build strong relationships and feel part of a bigger team.


It could be an idea to look at volunteering opportunities available in your local police force. Visit their career pages online, which may outline the volunteer options and how to apply, or email the recruitment team directly to see if they can help.

For more information on apprenticeships within the police force, take a look at police constable and police community support officer apprenticeships within the industry sector Public Services

Order the 2023-4 printed Guide

Order Now
Printed App Guide
Dive Right in, Start Your Apprenticeship Search Now

Or still want to find out a little more first? Read our FAQ’s or visit our guidance section.

Follow our socials for apprenticeship tips and resources: