In order to become a Senior Police Officer you would usually have to work your way up through the ranks until you have sufficient experience to take on the challenge and responsibility of such a role.
Skills, interests and qualities
To become a Senior Police Officer you should have:
- Confidence, honesty, a responsible attitude and social awareness
- The ability to work alone or as part of a closely knit team
- Excellent communication skills
- Good literacy skills
- A tactful but assertive approach
- Knowledge of the law
- Strong leadership skills
- Strong persuading and influencing skills
- A high level of personal integrity and honesty
Your work as a Senior Police Office could involve a range of tasks including:
- Coordinating and driving activity in local police operations across the force area
- Ensuring first class First Contact
- Working with Crime Commissioners and other strategic partners
- Delivering the force Chief Constable’s strategic plan and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Policing Plan
- Improving victim satisfaction through the motivation and training of front line officers
- Ensuring front line technology is fit for purpose
Working hours and conditions
Your usual working week would be a total of 40 hours. Ranks above Inspector do not work a shift system and the hours are generally regular 9am to 5pm, unless extenuating circumstances prevail.
Ranks above Inspector are primarily office-based and you will also spend time visiting the offices of strategic partners across the force area.
Remuneration varies from force to force and the following figures are given as a guide. The upper levels of pay are usually in line with length of service.
Up to £50,000
Up to £55,000
Up to £72,000
From £75,000 up to £129,000 dependent upon force area
Some forces operate a Fast Track entry program for those who wish to join as a senior ranked officer. It is optional for forces to participate in these programs.
The new programs are intended to draw a wider pool of talent into the service from diverse occupations and to more rapidly promote the best talent from the existing lower ranks, rather than promotion being awarded due to length of service and experience.
Training and Development
Your training and development will be dependent on whether you are already a serving police constable or a graduate.
Fast Track Program
The Fast Track program (police constable to Inspector) is a three-year promotion and development program open to those graduates with the skills, experience and knowledge to advance to the rank of inspector within an accelerated timeframe.
Via the fast track program, serving police constables could achieve this rank in as little as two years.
The program is a combination of classroom learning which takes place at regional training centres and further operational training and development within the local force.
Direct Entry (Superintendent) program
This program is open to senior managers with experience in developing strategy, policy and standards across an organisation or department. Successful applicants will be ambitious innovative thinkers with the ability to inspire confidence and loyalty in their staff. You must be able to make tough decisions under pressure; have a high level of personal integrity and strong persuading and influencing skills.
The training course runs for 18 months and is designed to equip candidates with the skills they will need to be effective superintendents.
There are in excess of 50 police forces in the UK including the British Transport Police and Civil Nuclear Constabulary. As each force’s recruitment policy and availability of senior vacancies varies, you should contact them individually. Information can be found on the Police.UK website.
It should be noted that many police forces still prefer to promote senior officers who have the appropriate front line policing experience within the police force due to perceptions of credibility by both the general public and the ranks they will be supervising and directing. Not every force has accepted the new fast track programs.
The Windsor report provides some useful information on pay and conditions within the UK police service at this time.