Police officers maintain law and order. They protect people and property, prevent crime, investigate crime and give evidence in court against offenders.
You could be:
patrolling a community to prevent crime and protect people and their property
attending calls from the public
searching suspects and crime scenes for evidence
helping at road traffic accidents and other emergencies
interviewing witnesses and suspects, and taking statements
investigating crimes and making arrests
writing crime reports and giving evidence in court
controlling crowds at events and demonstrations
taking part in community and public awareness activities.
From 1 December 2018, the salary for newly appointed police officers is £26,037 a year. On completion of 1 year service this rises to £28,392, and after 2 years to £30,747. After 10 years service your salary will be at least £40,878 a year.
On the beat you would often work outdoors in all weathers.
You could also be in a patrol car, on a motorcycle or a bicycle.
You would also work indoors - in a police station; at court; when visiting homes, schools, businesses and community centres.
You would normally work a 40 hour shift pattern.
You would work shifts including evenings, nights, weekends and public holidays.
You may have to work longer days and be flexible about your shifts, which can have an impact on your family life.
For most posts you would wear a uniform, which is provided.
The job is physically and mentally demanding and there is some risk of physical injury.
No formal entry qualifications are required. You must:
be at least 18 years old, although you can apply at 17½
be a British, European Union or Commonwealth citizen; or have permission to stay in the UK indefinitely
have lived in the UK for at least three years before your application
be physically fit
pass medical and eye checks
be willing to work in any of the local divisions in Scotland on completion of the probationary training.
Note that as of October 2015, a driving licence is no longer essential for applying.
If you meet these requirements the next step is to apply.
You will find recruitment details on the Police Scotland website.
The first step in applying is to download and complete an application form.
Assessment and initial tests
If your application is accepted you sit a series of tests called the Standard Entrance Test (SET).
You will find sample tests on the Police Scotland website.
The three tests assess your skills in language, working with numbers and information handling.
Each test takes 30 minutes and you must pass all of them to continue to the next stage.
If you pass, you will take an initial fitness assessment.
If you pass the fitness test then you have an initial interview.
If you are successful at the initial interview, you will go through a thorough background check and references will be taken at this point.
Once this has been done, you will be invited to attend an assessment centre, where you undertake a number of exercises testing your skills, followed by a final interview.
You would then undergo a medical, substance misuse testing and a final fitness assessment.
To comply with the requirements under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect on 25th May 2018 we have now amended our police officer and special constable application forms and reviewed how we collect your personal data.
This means that from 25 May 2018 you must submit the new application form together with a posting preference form and the equality and diversity monitoring form.
The vetting form will no longer be required at the application stage.
As well as Police Scotland, you can work with the British Transport Police, which polices railways, and the Ministry of Defence Police which protects Ministry of Defence properties. See their websites for details.
aware of the problems faced by different communities and groups in society
keen to learn and prepared to study
good at collecting and handling information.
You need to be able to:
communicate with people of all backgrounds and ages
work as part of a team and show initiative
face physical danger
observe carefully and pay attention to detail
make decisions, think and react quickly
take, and carry out, orders
accept responsibility and, where necessary, take command of a situation
remain calm and polite under pressure no matter how others react.
Training takes place at Police Scotland Training and Recruitment Centres, the Scottish Police College at Tulliallan, and in your own Division.
The training and probationary period lasts two years and is split into four modules.
Module 1 - an 11-week residential training course that covers Police and the Community, Evidence, Crime, General Police Duties, Road Policing and Writing Skills.
Module 2 - divisional training, which lasts 5-7 days.
Module 3 - this is the operational phase, which involves performance assessment and completion of the Evidence Portfolio and Online Distance Learning packages.
Module 4 - attendance at divisional training centres for three assessments and fitness tests.
You do ongoing training throughout your time in the police force.
There is a well established promotion structure within the police force.
You must complete the Diploma in Police Service Leadership and Management to progress to senior levels and you may have to do further training.
After your 2 year probationary period, or later, and depending on the force, you may be able to specialise – in traffic police, criminal investigation, special branch (anti-terrorism), serious and organised crime, dog handling, mounted police, river police or underwater search. Entry to some specialisms is very competitive.
To get promotion, you may have to move to another area of the force. You will usually get relocation expenses.