e The Monday Interview - "So, what's it really like working as a... police sergeant?" :: Momentum Careers Advice

The Monday Interview - "So, what's it really like working as a... police sergeant?"

police officers

Welcome to this week’s ‘The Monday Interview’.

Let’s be completely honest here. If you’re looking for a 9-5 job which allows you to switch off at the end of the day, then this will not be the interview for you. Today’s featured job is truly a vocation. And not one for the feint-hearted.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for a career with variety, and which challenges you on an on-going basis. And if you are a true team player with the ability to remain resilient in pressured situations, then you could certainly do a lot worse than consider a job in the police force.

For the obvious reasons of confidentiality, todays’ contributor can only be named as Sergeant Rob. He gives us a brilliantly insightful account of what it is really like to work in the police force, aside from the preconceptions we may have formed from watching too many episodes of The Bill.

Thanks very much for your contribution, Sergeant Rob. It is really much appreciated.

So, briefly, what is your job?

“I am a Police Sergeant on a Response Team that works 24 hours a day either an early, late or night duty, covering 365 days a year. I get the handover briefing from the previous Sergeant, brief my team, and allocate crews to vehicles then vehicles to areas. I then manage the team and manage larger incidents.”

How did you get into it?

“After many years working in finance I decided I wanted to do something more challenging than drive a desk. I researched the Police and Ambulance Service and decided the Police offered more varied opportunities. I applied, completed an interview, an assessment centre, medical and physical. I then completed 18 weeks of basic training and 2 years’ probation. Promotion through the ranks requires success in Police exams.”

Describe a typical day.

“There is no daily routine in the Police. We respond to all 999 Calls and each call varies in what is required. We may be arresting an outstanding suspect, interviewing witnesses, looking for missing persons, giving first aid, dealing with a robbery, or helping a vulnerable person. The day will certainly involve driving with blue lights and sirens on to make progress to jobs and arrive within designated response times.”

What do you enjoy most about your job?

“My response team are like an extended family. We look out for each other, support each other and inject a little humour when it is needed most.”

And the least?

“Parts of the role are extremely hard, we deal with people who are probably going through the worst moment of their lives. Telling someone that a loved one has died is the hardest thing in the world.”

What are the common misconceptions that people have about the work you do?

“On a daily basis everyone has an opinion about how Police should conduct business. I am always amazed at how many people think they know the law and like to tell me how I should apply it. Would you tell your plumber how to fit your central heating?”

What are the main skills you need to work as a police officer?

“To be a Police officer you need to be happy placing yourself in situations others would run from, under pressure you have to make clear decisions, you need to be able to communicate and empathise with those in need of your help.”

Tell us a little about the benefits that come with the job.

“Policing is not a way to become rich, it is a vocation. At the end of the day if at an incident there is not the option to say I am going home now, there are restrictions on your personal life and you are NEVER off duty. However, if you want a career that will challenge you every day, that will bring close friendships, opportunities as varied as Road Policing, Dog Handling, Air Support, Marine Unit, Detective Roles, and when you are asked how was your day? you can say I saved a life then this is the job for you.”

What advice would you give someone wanting to break into this career?

“In this time of cut backs in public spending watch the Force web sites, consider volunteering as a Special Constable. They have the same powers in their force area and work with regular officers, it will be a chance to get training and try the role before committing to it full time.”

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

“In ten years I hope to be at least Chief Inspector, preferably within a Detective role.”


First in the office or last to leave?

“First in and always last to leave.”

Tea or coffee?

“Coffee. Strong, no milk.”

Staff canteen or packed lunch?

“What’s lunch?”

The lift or the stairs?

“Stairs, always.”

Out after work or straight home to bed?

“Straight home to bed. The early shift means getting up at 4am.”