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How to become a detective constable

A career in policing is no walk in the park -- there's stress along with the promise of no two days ever being the same. The threat of danger is also ever-present with life as a detective constable. But the rewards can be exceptional. Typically a U.K.-associated profession, detective constable (the rough U.S. equivalent is detective) is a career that brings personal satisfaction and remains respected within the global community. The path to successfully stepping into the shoes of a detective constable first requires acceptance as a police constable, requirements for which will vary depending on the state or even country that you apply to.

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  1. Complete the comprehensive online application procedure for the specific police department to which you are applying. Identify any prior criminal convictions and cautions, your employment history, your education and qualifications to date, and finally details surrounding your immediate family, as this information is required for all background checks to be approved. Complete a small selection of preliminary competency-based questions designed to assess your community focus and teamwork attributes.

  2. Enrol into your nearest assessment centre. This daylong activity comprises a series of interactive tests such as scenario-based role play, written tests and short interviews. Success at the assessment centre stage will result in a pass valid for 12 months which will identify your success should you wish to apply to a different police department.

  3. Sit an oral interview where the selected panel will access your knowledge of the field as well as your responses to particular hypothetical situations, each designed to determine whether you have the necessary mental attitude to be a police constable. The interview is also an opportunity for you to discuss what life is like as a police constable with an experienced panel.

  4. Undergo a medical and fitness examination designed to ensure that you possess an acceptable level of basic fitness. As well as completing a medical questionnaire which will need to be signed by your doctor, you are required to pass a running exercise such as a bleep test. In this test, you time your runs between destinations to the rhythm of a bleep which you carry on your person; the bleeps become more frequent as the exercise progresses, meaning that you must run at an increasingly faster rate so as to reach your next destination before the bleep goes off again.

  5. Apply for and complete a security clearance form which must be returned to the police department you first applied to. It is at this stage when the references you supplied during the application stage are checked and properly verified.

  6. Upon approval, will receive a letter along with details surrounding your induction training and your date of commencement as a police constable.

  7. Tip

    You must earn the detective constable position through demonstration of expertise and dedication. Two to three years' worth of experience as a police constable is required before requesting to be considered for the role of detective constable. Successful appointment will require additional training, both theoretical and practical, along with specialised examinations. Time, hard work and dedication could result in you soaring up the ranks all the way to chief inspector or superintendent.

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About the Author

Matt Freeman

Matt Freeman is a freelance film journalist based in the UK who began writing professionally in 2007. He writes for "Film Journal International", "Media Magazine" and "GoreZone" and has previously written for "Total Film", "Twenty Four 7" and "What's On UK." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in film with television studies from the University of Warwick.

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