Detention Officers (DOs) are the first point of contact for both police and detainees entering custody, ensuring they are safely managed throughout their detention following arrest.
What is the role of a DO?
DOs work a series of shifts to provide a high standard of care for people who are detained by the police every day, week and month of the year. Their job role includes:
- supporting police officers bringing detainees into custody, completing initial documentation and searches,
- managing the care of detainees throughout their detention,
- taking DNA samples, obtaining fingerprints and documenting arrests,
- working closely with a range of key professionals including health care providers, mental health staff, interpreters and solicitors,
- providing a kind and non-judgmental ear to those in need, accessing or signposting them to appropriate sources of support.
The salary for a DO is £32,618 per annum (including an unsocial hours allowance) plus a wide range of benefits, some provided by the organisation and others via partnerships including Blue Light Card, a discount service for those working in the emergency services.
Some people join us to get an experience of policing before joining as officers, but we also have a lot of DOs who love the job and remain working in custody.
The realities of working in Custody
Custody is all about keeping people who have been arrested safe and secure while police officers investigate crimes. We have a duty to make sure people who are in custody have access to their rights and that they are being treated fairly.
In Custody our DOs work closely with Custody Sergeants, as well as other police officers who may be there investigating crimes. We also have Healthcare Professionals on site working alongside our DOs – if you are looking to work in a nursing role, please look at vacancies with our partner Mountain Healthcare.
Misconceptions about custody vs reality
It’s not like the police documentaries you see on TV. Yes, there is challenging behaviour to deal with, but it is not constant. For example, whilst our DOs are trained to use reasonable force in custody, it is far from a daily occurrence. DOs are members of police staff and are not officers, but they have designated powers in order to do their work.
“People think we put someone in a cell and get up and leave but there’s a lot more to it – I help people and get them the right services they need. I make a real difference and have pride in where I work.”
Do you have the qualities of a good Detention Officer?
Good communication skills
Being able to talk to someone who may be going through a stressful experience is really key.
Being a team player
People often come into custody with vulnerabilities or sometimes challenging behaviour but everyone works as part of a team to manage this.
Whilst some situations can be demanding ,we provide a lot of training and it’s a great feeling to know that you’ve helped both an investigation and supported someone who needs it through their stay in custody investigation.
Where could you be working?
We have 6 suites around the force, covering each county:
- Loddon Valley
- Milton Keynes
- English Language/Literature GCSE (Grade 9-4/A-C) or equivalent qualification such as Level 2 Functional Skills or higher academic qualifications – certificates will be required. If you do not hold the mentioned qualifications, recent equivalent professional experience will also be considered.
- Age 18 at date of employment (though you can apply at age 17) – no upper age limit.
- Full Driving Licence.
- Be in good health and able to physically and mentally perform your duties, having the ability to successfully complete the job-related fitness test. BMI readings will be taken at your fitness test and medical as part of your overall health assessment.
- Self-assessment questionnaire,
- Provisional Offer,
- Vetting, references, medical checks & fitness test,
- Formal offer.
- Five weeks’ training at our Force Training Centre in Sulhamstead, designed to give you a solid understanding in the essentials of a Detention Officer’s role and powers.
- You will receive officer safety training, which includes de-escalation and restraint techniques, as well as first aid training to College of Policing standards.
Recruitment for Detention Officer roles based in Oxfordshire and Berkshire is now open! Please visit our vacancies page to apply.
If you have any queries please contact our Recruitment Department via RecruitmentStaffDO@thamesvalley.police.uk