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jamie678

Whats it like being a police officer?

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Im currently an undergraduate and, I am interested in joining the new graduate scheme for the met as its something i have always wanted to do. But I was just wondering what its actually like, what hours are there? Will i lose all forms of social life? Whats it like having a normal relationship in the police? 
When i say having a normal relationship, I mean whats it like having a girlfriend will I not get to see her much? Whats it like having a family? 


Any insight would be great, or if someone could point me in the direction where i could find this out? Sorry if it has been asked before, i wasnt able to find it.

 

Thanks

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Hi,

It's shift work,normally three rotating shifts earlies,lates,nights. This includes weekends and bank holidays (such as Xmas Day)

Your Social life as you currently know it is therefore more than likely to be different,realistically you can expect one weekend off in four on average, you get your off duty periods but they seldom correspond with non shift working partners/family/friends.

Having said that its something you get used to.

As to what being a Police Officer is like,it's a very subjective question and the answer will differ depending on who you ask,it's certainly an experience and highly likely to be far removed from how you imagine it to be.

Edited by Dazzy

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Dazzy's post above pretty much sums it up.

As for your social life....if you're used to going out on the town every Friday and Saturday night, then you won't if you're a Police officer.

As for having a girlfriend....I hope any girlfriend you have is understanding. As above, if she wants to be wined and dined at the weekends, it won't happen as she's used to and if she waits at home for you coming home, she may have yo wait rather a long time on occasions, as whatever you get embroiled in during your shift will have to be dealt with before you think about leaving.

It isn't all doom and gloom though. The friendships you build up can be really solid and there's always someone willing to go out for a drink in the hours that fit round your shifts and if you happen to find a girlfriend within the Police circle, then she'll understand what it's like when you are late home.

It's all about balance. If you are expecting to carry on your life like a student does, then Policing is not for you, but it can be a very rewarding career if you are willing to change your life.

The conditions of service are currently changing drastically, but you join with whatever pay and conditions exist at that time. If they seem fair to you, then carry on, but don't be surprised to hear a great deal of negativity from others with more service than you.

Oh and I nearly forgot......welcome to the forum !!! B)

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Jamie678, welcome to the forum, it's always good to have new people  to join discussions. As to what it's like being a police officer, Dazzy and 999tommo have pretty much covered everything, but can I add, that, I was told when I first joined that one has to be very careful who one's friends are. You will find that you will have to choose them very carefully as I indeed found out, but aside of that, as I said, tommo and Dazzy have given you good advice.

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Jamie, welcome aboard.

As has been described above your social life will evolve to fit around the shift work.

The groups of people you socialise with now may also change/need to be changed.

 

As for girlfriends and family. They should not be an issue for you. For them, they need to evolve around your shifts. Your own outlook on life may change too. I say this as you will see things and hear things which you would never think about.

 

On one day you may be called to a basic verbal domestic dispute between a couple old enough to be your grandparents/parents. They will expect you to be able to offer advice on how to solve their dispute. Similarly it could be a neighbourly dispute, perhaps even involving someone you know. You will be required to remain impartial and offer sensible advice or feed into the various other services available to you.

 

You will see happy things, sad things, harrowing things. You will be expected to work through even the most harrowing event without a thought. Thankfully nowadays teams debrief events so you will have a chance to air any concerns you may have. As for the happy events, they will remain with you too.

 

You will learn to become a team player both in and out of work.

 

You will learn that sometimes you cannot win.

 

Do expect to have to negotiate your preferred holiday periods, you are not guaranteed to be able to take them as you would like.

 

You will learn about the real world and hear the expression "I cannot believe it!! I thought that only happened on the telly." and other such humourous phrases.

 

You will understand that your private life is under scrutiny, as will your family's lives to an extent.

 

You will understand that you will not be able to associate with some people you classed as friends in the past.

 

You will enjoy the job when you are allowed to get on with it. You will make mistakes and learn from them. You will have to contend with people who do not like you even though they have never met you before. They will tell you they know where you and your family live and want to do unspeakable things to you and them.

 

You will also receive letters of thanks from people whose lives you have touched. There will be many happy moments to go with the sad moments.

 

You will be proud to wear the uniform of the best police service in the world.

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If, and when you join you will find that many of your so called friends cut you off dead; but they are the ones not worth having. The friends who stuck with me were true friends and I made many more within the Police and other agencies.

 

As for a girlfriend or wife they have to be some form of saint to accept that so many times the job comes first. A job that you cannot walk out on, sometimes coming home battered and bruised and even sometimes her being told which hospital you are in.  There is quite a high divorce rate within the Police because of this. I speak from experience of two marriages and one divorce.

 

Going to bed early, and getting up at 5am, or getting in around midnight absolutely drained, or getting home around 8am just wanting to hit the pillow and getting ready to go out again around 9pm is very telling on family and social life. 

 

Being careful where you live as in some area's your property and your vehicle will be an easy target in certain area's.

 

Social life can be non existent. Going for a drink and there being some idiot in the pub/club who knows what you do and wants to take issue with it. But then you find your own safe turf, so to speak. 

 

When I joined I was greeted with "Why do you want to join, the jobs f*******d, but I knew no better and thoroughly enjoyed my life. However in my later years I used to say the very same thing to new recruits, because I had known better times when Polcing was respected, and the job was done completely differently, actually thinking of helping the public and the victim.

 

On the plus side you might even get on the "accelerated promotion", and reach the dizzy heights without doing any real Policing or seeing an angry man. You would then command people on theoretical knowledge with very little pactical skill or knowledge.

 

As Tommo has said terms and conditions have changed dramatically, but as long as you know those conditions before you join, and accept them you should be ok.

 

Whatever you decide i wish you well. :rolleyes:

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When you start off, the shifts tend to be as Dazzy says, however you get used to it fairly quickly and as a single person I found it easy to adapt and build a social life around it.

As you you go through the job some people find that progressively more difficult to manage with families and things.

As to what the job is like, well it's an interesting question! Personally I still like it and I still like coming to work everyday.I'm a DS in local CID so the shifts are fairly family friendly with the majority of weekends off. I'm coming to the end of my career with 27 years service, but I've enjoyed my service. Like all jobs there are highs and lows, bits that give you immense satisfaction and also frustration.

You may read about changes that are happening to the police and hear some negativity, however as a new joiner they won't affect you so disregard them.

Ultimately it's a challenging job, always has been and probably always will be. Whilst it has changed over the last 50 years as with all big organisations, it hasn't got any harder (or easier either) but just changes. As people get older they tend to be less tolerant to change,which accounts for why people can be quite negative towards their latter years of service.

It's not for everyone and the competition is fierce so if you truly want to join then you would do wel to visit your local station, speak to as many people as possible and research, research, research before taking the plunge.

Good luck if you do decide to go for it.

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Thank you all for the welcome, and your answers, I found them very useful and informative. Still defiantly want to join when I have completed my degree. Thanks again

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Thank you all for the welcome, and your answers, I found them very useful and informative. Still defiantly want to join when I have completed my degree. Thanks again

 

Defiantly or definitely?

 

:tongue_cheek:

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Well in answer to the title , NOT WHAT IT USED TO BE

Possibly not. Still the OP will never know that.

Mind you that was said by the old timers when I joined, and I'm sure it has been and will be for ever more.

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Don't worry about all that griefy police business, working unsociable hours and hardly seeing your kids or wife.  If you get on the graduate scheme you wont spend much time doing that.  Instead you will be taken under some senior managers wing, taken on endless meetings and soon graduate to some office job where you will work 9-5 Monday to Friday and pass your time sending threatening emails to frontline officers and sycophantically enforcing insane policy initiatives dreamed up by the people above you in the food chain.  :rolleyes:

 

The police is a very broad church with a variety of career options.  If you are at uni have you thought about becoming a special for some insight?  Even contacting your local force to see if you can visit to speak to officers will show you are researching the job.  I'd also advise visiting crown and mags court to see some hearings and see police giving evidence.

 

Best of luck with your finals!

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It isn't the same, I'm glad I'm not joining today. That's what the old sweats said to me. I loved every minute. No regrets. In some respects, the fact it isn't a 'job for life' is an advantage. If it's what you want to do then go for it and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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 I think you just have to look at current media (who hate you by the way) coverage. Officers cleared of any criminal wrongdoing after months of investigation, being suspended & the stress that causes on family life etc. now facing the kangaroo courts for misconduct that (due to the burden of proof being far less than needed in a court of law) will probably see them lose their jobs & irreversibly tarnish their reputations. Of course entering as a graduate will probably see you in the higher echelons where years after national catastrophes & in order for political gain you will be held responsible for being in charge on the day in question.

 

 Pick any news report where something awful happens or even when some dirt bag gets their just desserts, follow it through to it's conclusion & you will most likely find that it's the fault of the police & some poor sucker is going to lose their livelihood, home, relationship & reputation as a scapegoat over it. Needless to say should you be unfortunate enough to end up in prison you're going to have loads of fun as an ex police officer.

 

 Anyway that's the recruitment bit over...welcome aboard.

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