What Is The Job Role Of A UK Police Officer?

Police officers work together with various communities in which they serve as a way to maintain the law, protect the public as well as their property, reduce fear that is related to crime, prevent crime, and improve the general quality of life for citizens.

They work to protect individuals, to identify perpetrators of a crime, and also ensure the successful prosecution of persons who break the law.

For all 45 police forces throughout the UK, their key priorities include the maintenance of public order by way of combating crime, negating the threat posed by terrorism, and working against behaviour of an antisocial nature.

Police officers work in tandem with the criminal justice system, schools, social workers, community groups, town planners, housing authorities, health trusts, and local businesses, to provide education, assistance, and advice in a concerted effort to reduce levels of crime.


Typical Work Activities

A police officer’s work is challenging and diverse. Specialist roles can be taken up by constables who have already completed a period of probation and gained a Diploma in Policing in England and Wales.

During the initial training, key activities frequently include:

  • The provision of a visible presence which serves to reassure the community and deter crime.
  • The working together with local communities, by way of liaising with individuals and community groups.
  • The conducting of duties of patrol by various modes of transport.
  • The development of community knowledge which serves to identify locations and individuals who are at risk of being the target of crime.
  • The maintenance of peace at social events, public meetings, processions, and during trade disputes.
  • Making responses to calls from the public in order to assist at incidents.
  • Diffusing situations that are potentially volatile with due regard for those who are involved.
  • Conducting investigations, the taking of statements and gathering of evidence, and generally complying with the various legal requirements.
  • Being sensitive whenever dealing with certain scenarios such as crimes of a sexual nature or when providing news of a death to family members.
  • The interviewing of victims and witnesses of crimes as well as any suspects.
  • The preparation of crime reports and presentation of case files to the Crown Prosecution Service in England and Wales and to senior officers in the police force.
  • Making arrests with due regard for the security, human rights, and the health and safety of those who have been detained, of members of the public, and for colleagues.
  • The completion of administrative procedures.
  • The attendance to court and various other hearings to give evidence.
  • The investigation and taking of necessary action when provided with information which has been received from the public.
  • The submission of criminal intelligence and internal crime reports.
  • Recording, gathering, and analysing of intelligence as a way to achieve crime reduction objectives and community safety, while also providing advice pertaining to crime reduction.
  • Attendance to road-related incidents, which includes vehicle check points, collision scenes, and traffic offences.
  • Undertaking specific duties that have been provided by senior colleagues.
  • The enforcement of road traffic legislation and issuance of fixed penalties with regards to relevant offences.
  • Dealing with property that has been lost and/ or found.

Salary and Conditions

Salaries between forces do vary though typically, the starting salary for a police constable is around £23,300 to £25,950 once initial training is completed. In Scotland, the starting salary is a little higher.

After a number of years of experience, the typical salary rises to up to £41,000 for a police sergeant, up to £51,000 for an inspector, and up to £54,000 for a chief inspector.

Depending on location, there are other benefits which often include flexible working hours, free travel, and living benefits.

There is a minimum annual holiday entitlement of 23 days.

Further, a police pension scheme is provided on an automatic basis, while individuals can opt to also make independent pension contributions.

The working week consists of 37-40 hours, and generally there are two rest days. Given that police work is conducted over 24-hours each day, antisocial hours, shift work patterns, and emergency call-outs regularly feature within the job role.

The working environment can vary daily, where junior officers might be walking a beat, in a patrol car, attending court, or working at the station.

Life insurance such as Life Hero Police Life Cover is at the behest of the individual officer.