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Your questions answered

It’s natural to have questions if you’re thinking of joining the police. For example:

Will I have to work shifts including evenings and weekends?

Yes, there will likely be times when you’re needed for shifts working evenings and/or weekends. Speak to your chosen force(s) if you have a restriction (for example, caring duties) that might prevent you from undertaking particular shifts, as they may be able to discuss alternative options with you.

Do I need a driving licence?

Whether this is essential or desirable will vary by force. Check with the force(s) you are applying to if you don’t currently hold a licence.

Is there racism in the police?

Racism sadly exists in policing as it does in society. We can now say that policing is more inclusive, more diverse, and more reflective of our communities than it has ever been. But it’s also true that racism, discrimination and bias do still occur.

All forces and the College of Policing have developed a new Police Race Action Plan to address the significantly lower levels of trust and confidence among some Black people and the race disparities affecting Black people. 

Read more about the Police Race Action Plan.

“It is difficult. But I fight on, because if I don’t, everything will be the same for the next generation.”

View the full video transcript

T.J., a serving police officer, and Rowan, a member of the public, sit opposite each other in a dimly-lit interview room. They begin a conversation.

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T.J.: Being a police officer teaches you how to accept

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that people are different, that they live their lives differently.

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You get to share moments with complete strangers.

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Rowan: I couldn’t do your job

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T.J.: Why?

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Rowan: I was just worried about...

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what my family would think about me.

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T.J.: People are gonna have an issue with it.

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I know that from personal experience.

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I lost friends when I joined the police.

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It was difficult.

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It is difficult.

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But I fight on

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because if... I don’t do it then

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everything will be the same for the next generation.

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You are me, 14, 15 years ago.

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You know, saying:'It can’t happen.'

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Rowan: I know for me, when I was thinking about

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joining the police,

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I wanted to be a dog handler but then my look started changing,

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started to get tattoos, grew dreads.

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You don’t really see Black police officers with dreads.

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T.J.: There’s loads of Black officers with dreads.

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Rowan: Really?

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T.J.: Yeah man.

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Rowan: What like long formed? Or...

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T.J.: Yeah. Long down to their back, dreads.

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Rowan: Wow, OK.

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Rowan: So I got stopped and searched a lot.

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T.J.: Yeah.

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Rowan: Just, you know,another Black guy,

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looking suspicious, I guess.

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T.J.: Yeah, I’ve been told that I fit the description of a recent robbery

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and I was wearing dark clothing.

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I wear dark hoodies all the time.

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Rowan: Yeah.

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T.J.: You know,

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Why? Why have you stopped me?

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Now I have the knowledge,so I ask the right questions.

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Rowan: Uh-huh.

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T.J.: Personally believe that stop and search is a good tool to be used

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in the right way,but at the same time,

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we have been stopped and searched unnecessarily.

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I have been stopped and searched unnecessarily.

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I don’t want my children,nor their children after them

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to be concerned about that.

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I want them to drive past,you know, a police car,

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‘ah there’s a there’s a brother in there, there’s a sister in there’.

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It will be natural to see ourselves in these roles,

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it will be natural to see high ranking

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police officers who can effect change.

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But it can’t be done from outside,

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it has to be done from inside.

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We need people like you,

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so that we don’t have to feel uncomfortable.

We see a brief close-up of a whirring tape deck recording the conversation, before cutting to a wide shot of the two men.

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Rowan: So being a Black police officer,

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what do you think about the whole BLM movement?

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T.J.: It pains me that, you know, I had to see somebody that is me

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lose their life again for the vehicle to start up again

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and I just think that we need to keep the pace with that.

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Conversations like this,
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are giving us seats at tables that we

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should have been sitting at a long time ago.

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And I am just

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aware that we need to make sure that the correct voices

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are sat at these tables.

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Rowan: Have you seen more Black police officers joining?

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T.J.: Yeah man, yeah definitely.

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We are in areas that we wouldn’t have been before;

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Firearms. You know, detectives and...

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We are in these roles and we are excellent.

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At everything.

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Rowan: What’s your proudest moment so far?

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T.J.: Proudest moment in the job was

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stopping a murder.

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It was a domestic incident.

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On the way to the actual flat itself, we could hear screams.

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Eventually gained access, ran up to the second floor,

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Just got there, what would have appeared to be, in time.

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You know, what she kept saying afterwards is:

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‘He probably would have killed me in the house.’

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So that is my standout moment

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from my career up to this point.

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Rowan: So what is your most favourite part of the job?

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T.J.: Strangely enough just 

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being able to communicate with different people.

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Communication, you know, is what we use to solve things.

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Being a police officer teaches you how to accept

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that people are different, that they live their lives differently.

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You get to share

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moments with complete strangers that blow your mind.

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You get to do things in special ways for people that,

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You know, will literally,

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they will come back and tell you that you changed 

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their life for the better.

We see a close-up of the tape machine, clicking as the recording ends, before cutting to a shot of Rowan.

To address perceptions of discrimination in policing head on, we teamed up with Channel 4 to create a series of films featuring members of the public interviewing serving police officers. Hear a Black police officer, a female detective and a gay police officer speak openly and honestly about their experiences. And learn why they think more people with diverse backgrounds should apply to join the police.

Upcoming force recruitment events

Below are just some of the events on offer from police forces, where you can speak to serving officers, ask questions and much more. 

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