Joining The Job > Application Form > Other Information
This is an interesting section - it's your chance to explain why you want to join the police force, and what you expect to be doing. It also gives you the chance to tell them what sort of preparation and research you've done -- visiting this site is a good start!
Q5 - Tell us the reasons why you want to be a police officer.
Be honest, and be genuine. Most people join the police service because they want a varied, challenging, interesting career. They might also hate working in an office, or want to do something that allows them to meet lots of people.
Here's an example answer for the first part of the question (this is over-long but you get the idea):
“I want a career that is challenging, allows me to develop constantly, in an area where I believe I am achieving something worthwhile. I also wish to play my part in some small way to help society. I believe that my life experiences, together with the skills and the character traits that I possess, can help me to develop into an effective police officer. I believe that I'm a good communicator, able to listen as well as express my views to others. I'm keen and enthusiastic, and determined to achieve my goal of becoming an effective police officer. I realise I will have much to learn, but view this as a challenge. I'm confident that the training I will be received, together with my own natural skills and abilities, will allow me to develop into a successful and effective police officer”.
Q6 - Tell us why you have applied to your chosen police force.
As for why you want to join a particular force, well again for most people it's pretty straightforward - you live in that force area. The second most common reason is that you have been rejected for whatever reason in your application to the force in whose area you live, and are applying to one that is relatively near by. Both of these reasons are, of course, perfectly valid. However, it is worthwhile convincing yourself that in truth, the force you are applying to is the force that has the best reputation in the country, and the only force you would really want to work for!
In your answer you must diplomatically portray your reasons for joining that particular force as the being mainly due to the fact that it is the best force in the country, in your opinion. If you are applying to join a rural force with no major cities, it is perhaps unwise to state that you want to work in a constantly changing environment with many social problems to be solved. On the other hand, if wishing to join any large city force, with major urban areas containing high crime rates and difficult drugs issues, you may struggle suggesting that the quality of life in that particular area is the reason you are applying to join them.
Example answer 1: Applying to a county force
“I have applied to this force as I believe that they present a unique mix of policing challenges. This is due to the diversity of the force area, from council estates to rural villages. The fact that the force has a large geographical area to cover would enable me to experience a wide spectrum of policing roles. The size of the force is also important to make in that whilst it is a big enough organisation for me to make my career in, it appears to be one that operates in an environment where most of its offices and support staff know one another, and operate as a closely-knit team”.
Example Answer 2: Applying to a city force
“I have applied to this force due to the unique challenge of policing very different communities within a relatively small geographical area. The challenge of policing within a busy metropolitan environment would give me the opportunity to learn and develop at a far greater rate than elsewhere. Because of the size of the force, I also believe that will be able to progress my career forward in the fullness of time, due to the variety of roles that the organisation contains”.
Q7 - Tell us what tasks you expect to be undertaking as a police officer.
The recruitment department are looking here to ensure that you realise that ITV's "The Bill" is in fact a soap opera and not an accurate portrayal of everyday police life! They don't want to hear that you are looking forward to flying around with blue lights and sirens all day, nicking three or four master criminals a shift before going back to the police station for tea and medals. So it's a reality check in effect! Take a look at this example answer:
"I expect to spend a significant amount of my time dealing with members of the public. I understand that modern police work involves a fair amount of paperwork and I expect that a time in each shift will be taken up with this, for example when dealing with someone who I have arrested. I am aware that there is a proportion of police time which is routine but also that there are challenging and exciting tasks. I imagine that there will be a mix of both in an average day's work".
Q8 - Tell us what effect you expect being a police officer to have on your social and domestic life.
This question is getting at whether you realise the effect that the work, and in particular the shift patterns, could have on your home life as well as your social life. Hopefully you've considered both and realise that police work is not a 9 to 5 existence. Here's an example answer:
"I have considered the impact of shifts on my home life, and discussed this with my partner. I am looking forward to having time off during the week to spend with my children. I expect to have to sometimes have to make alternative plans to fit my social life around work commitments".
Q9 - What preparation have you undertaken before making this application to ensure you know what to expect and that you are prepared for the role of police officer?
Ah-hah! See I knew there was a reason you were using this website! The police service want to see that you know what you're letting yourself in for, and part of that means that you have done some research. Good sources of information include:
- Websites like this one
- PoliceCouldYou (the Home Office website)
- Police force in-house newsletters (ask for a copy at your local police station)
- The Police Authority website
- The annual policing plan (published by your force)
- Arranging a "ride along" with serving officers
- Talking to serving police officers
- Visiting a police station
You get the idea. Here's an example answer:
"I have visited my local police station and spent time speaking with a PC there about the role. I have used a number of websites including the PoliceCouldYou site to research the role. I have obtained a copy of the annual policing plan and read through the material on the Police Authority website. Finally I have obtained back copies of the force in-house magazine which gives a good insight into the challenges facing the force at present".
Q10 - If you have previously applied to be a police officer, Special Constable or Police Community Support Officer, what have you done since your last application specifically to develop yourself and prepare for the role of police officer?
This is a tricky one to give an example answer, because it's very specific to you. Only you know what areas you were weak on last time, and how you have improved. Try to give evidence of how you have addressed these issues. Obviously you only need to complete this question if you have previously been rejected. If this doesn't apply, put "N/A" in the box.
Here's an example answer anyway:
"When I applied previously I had not given sufficient thought to the role and did not have a good understanding of what being a police officer entailed. In the 16 months since my previous application, I have served as a Special Constable with my local force. This has given me an excellent insight into the role and has also helped to develop my confidence and communication skills. It has also convinced me that I want to pursue a career as a police officer".