The Role of a Police officer

It may sound like a cliché but I became a Police Officer as I wanted to do something where I felt I would make a difference to people’s lives. I wanted to help people, to have a job that was both physically and mentally challenging and at times, exciting. I have been a Police Officer now for 18 years and in that time I have performed a variety of roles. I started my career as a Response Officer in Oxford, before becoming a Firearms Officer on the Tactical Firearms Team. I have even spent time working for the Police in Australia.

As a Response Officer I spent my days patrolling my area, responding to emergency incidents, taking statements, arresting offenders and giving evidence in court. You could find yourself having to chase a suspect down the street one minute and the next be delivering the news of the loss of a loved one to a bereaved family. I could be called on to look for a missing person, police a football match or attend a road traffic collision. I definitely had to learn to be in control of my emotions and be able to adapt quickly to different situations. 

I am currently the Neighbourhood Inspector for Cherwell. I oversee the Neighbourhood teams across the area. Our role is to listen to the local community and try and tackle the issues and solve the problems that are of most concern to people. This may be concerns about drug use, anti-social behaviour or issues such as parking and speeding. 

We also look to identify and safeguard those who may be most vulnerable in our communities and we will work closely with partners such as Social Care, Councils, Schools and Health Services when doing this. Part of my role as an Inspector is attending meetings with other professionals, where we may agree local priorities, share information or agree an approach to a specific problem. 

However, not all of my time is spent in meetings. Today I am the PACE Inspector for Oxfordshire. This means I oversee the Custody suites or cells. I have to review the prisoners and make sure there is a reason for them to remain in custody and make sure they know their rights. Those investigating offences may ask me to authorise house searches of suspects' addresses,  or authorise samples to be taken from prisoners such as swabs or hair combings. 

Being a Police Officer is about protecting people from harm, gathering evidence to prosecute offences and working with our communities to make society a safer place. The Police Service offers a wide variety of roles which can easily fill an entire career without you getting bored. 

Inspector John Batty (4720)
Cherwell Neighbourhood Inspector


How do I become a Police Officer?

In order to apply to become a Police Officer like John, you currently need to be at least 18 years of age and either a British Citizen or living in the UK without restrictions.  To cope successfully with the mental challenges of the role, you will need to have certain skills such as honesty, patience and resilience.  Being in good health, including being able to run to at least Level 5 Shuttle 4 on an endurance shuttle run test (also known as the bleep test), is essential in order to meet the physical demands of being a Police Officer.

You will need to have obtained two A Levels both with a minimum grade C, or an equivalent Level Three qualification, and a Certificate in Knowledge of Policing (CKP) in order to apply.  We also accept applicants from those who have obtained a Foundation Degree in Policing (FdA) from one of two local Universities – Bucks New and Oxford Brookes.  Different entry and promotion routes are also available for degree graduates.

Police Officers are taught how to respond safely to emergency incidents, including driver training, so applicants must hold a full manual driving licence.  If you have a caution, conviction or criminal record you may not be eligible to apply to be a Police Officer, though these will all be considered on individual merit, and any financial difficulties may also make you ineligible to apply.  We want to ensure all our employees portray a professional image, so restrictions are placed on certain tattoos - depending on their design, meaning, size and location - and on some facial piercings.

There are other eligibility criteria which must be met before you can apply to be a Police Officer;  information on these and everything mentioned above can be found via the Thames Valley Police website at www.thamesvalley.police.uk/joinus.  If you have a question that isn’t answered on our website, please contact the Police Officer Recruitment team direct via RecruitmentPoliceOff@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk.

Being a Police Officer is just one of a large number of career opportunities within Thames Valley Police.  For more information on our other roles please visit our website, as above, or email any queries to RecruitmentPCSO@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk (for Police Community Support Officer roles) or to RecruitmentPoliceStaff@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk (for all our other Police Staff opportunities).