Skip to main content Skip to navigation


The associate professional and technical major group dominate the occupational profile of the sector (53%), compared with 15% across the whole economy. The largest workforce groups in the justice sector, mainly those in lower ranks who work at the front line, are all currently classified as part of this group.

The high proportion of associate professional and technical occupations in the justice workforce is associated with a lower share of managers and professionals, and those below the administrative and secretarial group. At UK level, 9% of the sector workforce is employed as a manager and another 9% as a professional, compared with 16% and 13% in the whole economy, respectively.

To a large extent, the type of public services provided by the sector, workers in other groups such as skilled trades, personal services, sales and customer service, process, plant and machine operatives as well as elementary occupations represent just 12% of the workforce in total, which is small compared with the 45% in the whole economy.

Those employed in the Skills for Justice sector are located in primarily two main occupational groups:

Professional and technical (54% of all employment)

  • Sergeant, Constable and Police Community Support Officer (Policing and Law Enforcement)
  • Forensic analysts (Imaging, fingerprint, Biology, Chemistry) and Scenes of Crime Officers (SOCO)
  • Court Officer or Executive Officer
  • Legal Associates
  • Prison Officer, Prison Officer support grade, Prison Custody Officer
  • Community Safety Officer, Community warden, Project worker, Arrest referral worker

Administrative and secretarial (18%)

  • Administrative officers, caseworkers, administrative support staff across all the sub-sectors

Source: Employment and Skills within the UK Justice Sector 2010and Skills for Justice LMI March 2010

Occupational vacancies and skill gaps

Internal skill gaps present a greater challenge in the sector than hard-to-fill vacancies. The rate of hard-to-fill vacancies is considerably lower than across the whole economy, and the number of those due to skills shortages among these vacancies is very modest. In contrast, the extent of internal skills gaps is by and large similar to that in the workforce of the wider economy and appears to be more prevalent amongst managers and senior officials, but even more amongst administrative and secretarial staff than other occupational groups.

In addition to the technical and practical, and the customer handling skills highlighted by national surveys, skills needs in management and leadership, inter-agency working, ICT and in the area of equality and diversity have been identified. Third sector employers in the justice sector revealed a wide range of skills needs across the board, but more pronounced among volunteers.

Key facts in England:

  • 26% of employers in the sector report vacancies, compared with 12% in all sectors
  • 3% report hard-to-fill vacancies, compared with 3% in all sectors
  • 1% report skill shortage vacancies, compared with 3% in all sectors
  • 21% of establishments report skills gaps, compared with 19% in all sectors
  • the proportion of staff described as lacking proficiency with 3% in all sectors

Source: Employment and Skills within the UK Justice Sector 2010 and National Employers Skills Survey 2010

Return to the top


Policing and law enforcement

  • Police Constable (on commencing service) £22,104 - £24,670
  • Police Constable (upon completion of two years service) £26,109
  • Sergeant £34,707
  • All Police Officer roles have a £2,055 London salary weighting
  • Police Community Support Officer – starting salary at £16,000 rising to £18,700 after 5 years of service
  • Non-uniformed support grades range from £11,400 to over £40,000 depending on the role.
  • Immigration Officer: £20,968 - £26,214 (collected July 08). All new entrants start on the minimum salary scale. Salaries at senior level rise to £54,989 - £69,444. The role also includes London weighting ranging from £3,020 to £1,240.

Community justice

  • Probation Service Officers – between £19,076 and £25,375
  • Trainee Probation Officers – between £17,191 and £18,406
  • Probation Officers – between £26,229 and £34,239
  • Victim Care Officers – between £14,000 and £17,000
  • Independent Domestic/Sexual Violence Advocate – between £19,000 and £25,000
  • Community Safety Officer – between £23,000 and £27,000
  • Community Safety Manager – between £35,000 and £40,000
  • Substance Misuse Worker – starting between £15,000 and £20,000, rising to between £21,000 and £28,000 with experience, team leaders and service managers can earn between £24,000 and £35,000
  • Youth Worker – starts at around £19,000 for qualified staff, rising to £35,000 for senior staff

Courts and tribunal services

  • Ushers – between £13,984 and £16,950
  • Court Clerk – between £14,562 and £16,530
  • Bailiff/Enforcement Officer – between £14,310 and £17,425 for those working in the County Court, and between £13,716 and £15,579 for those in the Magistrates’ Courts
  • Administrative Officer – between £15,907 and £20,135
  • Legal Advisor – between £27,153 and £39,822

Fire and rescue services

  • Firefighters – between £21,157 and £28,199
  • Crew managers – between £29,971 and £31,263
  • Station Managers – between £36,365 and £40,109
  • Retained duty Firefighters are paid a fee, which can be around £2,500 a year. They also receive additional payments, according to their rank, for each incident they attend and for any extra duties they carry out.
  • Fire control operator – starting at £18,019, rising to £22,524 with experience
  • Leading Fire Control Operator – around £24,121
  • Senior Fire Control Operator – between £24,741 and £25,678

Forensic science

  • Assistant Scenes of Crime Officers and Volume Crime Scene examiners start on around £16,000
  • Scenes of Crime Officers can earn around £17,000 and £26,000
  • Senior Scenes of Crime Officers can earn from £26,000 to £30,000
  • Starting salaries for trainee forensic scientists typically range from £16,000 to £20,000.
  • With experience Forensic Scientist salaries range from £25,000 to £30,000.
  • Typical salaries at senior forensic scientist levels are £45,000 plus

Prosecution services

  • Administrative Support Assistant – between £13,283 and £16,081 (London: £14,061 - £17,205)
  • Caseworker – between £15,225 and £18,764 (London: £16,439 - £20,139)
  • Crown Prosecutor – between £27,393 and £31,002 (London £29,296 – £33,531)
  • Senior Crown Prosecutor – between £34,957 and £42,224 (London £36,355 – £43,807)
  • Chief Crown Prosecutor – between £75,218 and £135,012
  • Crown Advocate – between £46,506 and £58,002 (London: £50,059 - £62,433)
  • Senior Crown Advocate – between £61,225 and £65,799 (London: £63,883 - £68,482)

Source: Skills for Justice LMI March 2010

Return to the top


Occupational roles and sources of information

The Skills for Justice website links to various organisations in the sector. These sites variously contain careers information, entry points, salary scales and details of work roles.

A variety of key roles in the justice sector are identified by Graduate Prospects and detailed information is available on law and armed forces and emergency services. Information on the various job roles includes: job description and activities; salary and conditions; entry requirements; training; career development; sources of vacancies; and case studies. Some of the job roles available: Police officer; Police inspector, detective; Prison governor; Prison officer; Barrister; and Solicitor.

The National Careers Service website also has detailed occupational profiles for some occupations in the sector under the broad headings Security and uniformed services and Legal services. These profiles include information on entry points, training, working environment, employment opportunities and expected annual salary. Specific occupations include: butcher; consumer scientists; and baker.

Return to the top