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Policing and law enforcement

Key job roles in policing and law enforcement fall into the category of either officers or non-uniformed support staff.

Police officers train for two years as probationers before moving onto the rank of Constable. From the rank of Constable, officers progress to Sergeant and up the following ranks:

  • Inspector
  • Chief Inspector
  • Superintendant,
  • Chief Superintendants and
  • Chief Constable

Immigration Officers are the key enforcement role in the UK Border Agency. There are approximately 9,000 (2008/09) who work across the UK in two main functions:

  • Border Control
  • Enforcement/Removals

Those who enter the UK Border Agency generally start as an assistant immigration officer and work towards achieving promotion to immigration officer through internal application.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs employs approximately 5,863 (2008/09) staff whose primary purpose is enforcement with the common job type being that of an Officer.

Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) are a new and emerging support staff role in English and Welsh police forces. The role, introduced in 2006, is uniformed and that supports the work of police officers working within a community. They carry out high visibility patrols to increase the police service presence. They have limited powers to tackle lower level crime, disorder, nuisance and anti-social behaviour.

There were 16,814 full-time equivalent police community support officers, or PCSOs, in the 43 English and Welsh police forces on 30 September 2009, a rise of 6.8 per cent since September 2008, and an increase of 1.9 per cent since March 2009.

Additionally Scotland and Northern Ireland are looking to adopt the role of PCSOs in the forces to aid neighbourhood policing in the coming years.

Non-uniformed support staff

Police staff numbers for the 43 English and Welsh forces stand at 80,322 (full-time equivalents), an increase of 2,350 or 3.0 per cent compared with September 2008, and an increase of 1,026 or 1.3 per cent compared with March 2009.

Police forces also employ non-uniformed staff to undertake posts in the following:

  • Accountancy
  • Call centre
  • Crime bureau
  • Finance
  • Fingerprints
  • Force intelligence
  • Legal services
  • Personnel
  • Communication and marketing
  • Scenes of crime and transport.

Among other roles, members of police staff assist visitors to police stations, deal with emergency 999 calls, prepare case papers for prosecution, recruit and train Police Officers, facilitate the technology and systems and maintain buildings.

Similar support roles exist in non-Home Office forces and special forces as in the Police Service.

Source: Skills for Justice LMI March 2010