I Want to Work In … the Emergency Services



Job roles in the Police

As well as Police Officers, police forces employ civilian staff in a wide range of roles, including:


Police Officer

A salesman, tired of his job, gave it up to become a policeman.

Several months later, a friend asked him how he liked his new role.

"Well," he replied, "the pay is good and the hours aren't bad, but what I like best is that the customer is always wrong."  

As a police officer your job will be to reduce crime and the fear of crime, and promote confidence among local people that the police understand and are prepared to deal with the issues that matter most to them. www.policecouldyou.co.uk

Police officers work on the frontline and everyone who wants to become a police officer has to complete a two-year probationary period as a constable working on the beat. Once you have completed your initial training you may choose to move into a specialist area such as CID, counter-terrorism, drugs, fraud or dog handling.

Civilian roles

Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs)

PCSOs work with police officers and share some, but not all of their powers (for example, they cannot make an arrest themselves). They provide a visible and reassuring presence on the streets and help to tackle issues such as anti-social behaviour. This is a paid, usually full-time position that can lead to a long career with the police. http://recruit.college.police.uk/pcso/Pages/default.aspx

Scene of Crime Officer (SOCO)

SOCOs work with police in the investigation of serious crime. They are among the first to arrive at a crime scene and their job is to retrieve, examine and investigate physical evidence that may help to trace and convict criminals. They determine from the crime scene whether assistance from specialists, such as a forensic scientist, is needed. For further information, see www.kent.ac.uk/careers/forensicsci.htm

Criminal Intelligence Analyst

Criminal intelligence analysts collect and evaluate information which they use to analyse patterns of crime, build up a picture of criminal suspects and their activities to help solve crimes and prevent future crimes being committed.

Getting in/getting experience

Typically, when recruiting police officers, forces look for life experience that has involved communication, team working and working with people from a broad range of backgrounds. If you have experience of dealing with people in difficult situations, addressing anti-social behaviour and similar issues, this will strengthen your application.

Increasingly, forces will require a Certificate in Knowledge of Policing and/or experience in a relevant policing or policing related role, such as Special Constable or PCSO.  Check with individual forces to find out their specific requirements. Some forces (including the Metropolitan Police) prefer people who are resident in their area, as they can relate well to the local community and their local knowledge is also likely to be helpful.  

Volunteering with police forces

Police forces have used Special Constables for many years to support the work of full-time police officers. Special Constables are volunteers but have the same powers as police officers. This experience will be particularly helpful when applying for a police officer role and, with some forces, may even be compulsory.

Other volunteer roles As a result of budget cuts to police forces over the past few years, volunteers are also used in other roles, as this Guardian article shows. These may include working on front desks in Police stations, supporting investigating officers, acting as a mystery shopper or CCTV monitoring. www.kent.police.uk/join_us/volunteering/vol.html  

Certificate in Knowledge of Policing

This Certificate is a national qualification introduced by the College of Policing in 2012. Many forces, including the Metropolitan Police, now require applicants to have achieved a CKP within the last three years prior to application and it may give an advantage when applying to other forces

Police forces

Other sites carrying police vacancies

As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher.

Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store.

The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, "Yes, officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from.

Further information


Fire and Rescue Service

As well as fighting fires, fire and rescue service workers keep the public safe from many other threats, including floods and road traffic incidents, and play a major role during serious incidents such as terrorist attacks. Equally importantly, they help to prevent fire and loss of life through public information and engagement campaigns.


Ambulance Service

Ambulance paramedics deal with a range of situations from medical emergencies and major incidents to non-emergency patient transport to and from hospital.

Getting in

Historically, entry into the paramedic profession was achieved by on-the-job work and training within an ambulance service.  Today, there are a number of University courses leading to paramedic qualifications and this is now the recommended route to becoming a paramedic. Your course will need to be one approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), the regulatory body for paramedics: search the register at

Funding may not be easy if you've already had funding for a first degree: talk to approved course providers about funding opportunities.


Coastguard Service and RNLI

The role of the coastguard service is to coordinate search and rescue at sea, check that ships meet UK and international safety rules, and to prevent coastal pollution. Watch Assistants (CWA) and Watch Officers (CWO) operate a 24-hour emergency service, responding to emergencies and requests for assistance.

Other jobs in the service include administration and customer service roles, such as registration officers, who deal with registering vessels on the UK Ships Register, as well as specialised roles such as marine surveying.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a purely voluntary organisation providing a 24-hour service around the coast of the UK and Republic of Ireland. For information about volunteering as part of a lifeboat crew, see https://volunteering.rnli.org/join-the-crew-2051.html The RNLI also provides summer lifeguards   

Search and Rescue

Mountain Rescue (MR) is a charity providing a 24 hour emergency service MR teams are made up of unpaid volunteers who normally have a hill walking or mountaineering background. There are 48 mountain rescue teams in England and Wales and 27 in Scotland.  

Emergency Response Volunteering

Last fully updated July 2016