The opportunities for career progression in the police service are huge. If you are joining as a Police Constable, as most recruits do, you’ll be able to progress up through the following ranks once you’ve successfully completed your probation:
- Police Constable – this is the starting rank for police officers.
- Sergeant – the first supervisory rank, most sergeants are responsible for a team of constables.
- Inspector – uniformed inspectors typically oversee a shift of constables and sergeants. They also take charge of major incidents in their force area.
- Chief Inspector – this role can vary from force to force but they often act as the senior police officer in larger towns, overseeing large teams such as investigations or operations.
- Superintendent – at this senior management rank, you would usually be in charge of a section of a Command.
- Chief Superintendent – they’re typically responsible for policing of a geographical area of their force.
- Assistant Chief Constable – ACCs as chief officers are mainly responsible for a specific section within their police force, for example, Investigation or Operations.
- Deputy Chief Constable – they act as deputy for their Chief Constable, handling the running of their force if the Chief is elsewhere.
- Chief Constable – these officers are responsible for the effective running of their force.
Because of its size, the Metropolitan Police has five ranks above the chief superintendent rank – Commander, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner and Commissioner.
If you are joining via a detective pathway, the ranks are slightly different as you can join as a Detective Constable.
Policing is a vast and varied career choice and, once you’ve successfully completed your probation period, you can also apply to work in a huge variety of roles and specialist units, including:
- Community policing - covering roles like neighbourhood policing, response policing and roads policing
- Investigation - ranging from detectives, crime scene investigators and family liaison officers to forensics and domestic abuse investigators
- Intelligence - roles include surveillance analysts, covert operatives and communications data investigators
- Operational support - roles range from control centre and custody officers, to specialist roles like dog handler or mounted police, police diver, firearms officer and football spotter