Police Officer

The role of a Police Officer

Being a Police Officer is much more than blue lights and fast cars. It’s protecting the vulnerable when they need you most. It’s working in partnership to tackle serious and organised crime and it’s making critical decisions that will change lives forever. You will investigate a wide range of crimes such as burglaries and assaults, going that extra mile to ensure the best chance of securing a conviction.

Policing the Thames Valley 24/7, 365, is both challenging and rewarding. As a Police Officer, you’ll be tested, more so than you have before – resilience is key, alongside your ability to empathise, listen and communicate.

It’s a position of responsibility, of trust, of purpose. Above all, it’s working as part of a family, a policing family. A team that pulls together as one, rising to the challenge every single day.

Could you be a Police Officer?

We want to empower you with all the information you need on your journey to becoming a Police Officer, and to this end, we encourage you to read some of the information presented in the sections below. 

From learning what we can offer you if you choose to start your policing career with us, the recruitment process explained, to the way we value difference in our workforce, we hope you will find all you need to take the next step and join our team. 

As a TVP Police Officer you will:

We are looking for resilient individuals whose first instinct is to help and support others; the problem solvers and solution-finders, those calm under pressure, who ask questions and are curious, but also approachable with a natural ability to communicate with people from all walks of life. 

If this sounds like the role for you, join our team as a Police Officer.

Ready to embark on a career as a Police Officer?

The quiz below can guide you towards a well-informed decision. Please note, this tool is a guide, not a definitive statement about your suitability.

We believe it’s important that our officers are supported to be the best they can be. Whether that’s through additional learning, support when things get tough or through discounts to enjoy with family and friends away from the workplace – your wellbeing will always be a priority.

Here are some of the reasons you should join the TVP family:

  • The starting salary for all new recruits is £31,551 (which includes £3,000 South-East allowance). On the current salary scales, after seven years of service the salary will be in excess of £49,044 (which includes £3,000 South-East allowance);
  • from 1 November 2022 military Veterans transitioning into a policing career with TVP will be supported with an additional, one-off resettlement payment of £2,500 paid into their first month’s pay. For details on eligibility and expectations relating to this payment, see our Military Resettlement page;
  • additional benefits including pension scheme and annual holiday entitlement;
  • wide range of discounts for retailers, restaurants, travel, tickets and more available via our TVP Reward mobile benefits app plus eligibility for Blue Light Card membership;
  • discounts available to PCDA student officers via Apprenticeship Extra card and TOTUM card respectively;
  • wide ranging career prospects including opportunities for promotion and specialisation including: Public Order, Taser, Detectives, Major Crime, Digital Investigation, Counter Terrorism, Firearms and Roads Policing;
  • a focus on your continuous professional development which includes a structured Performance Development Review;
  • our ‘Support for Study’ scheme ensures you have the opportunity to gain additional accreditation and qualifications;
  • a well-established Wellbeing function ensures you receive the support you need when you need it, including support for your Mental & Physical Wellbeing, Financial Wellbeing, Leadership Wellbeing and Health & Safety at work;
  • A wealth of support services are available through membership of the Police Federation,
  • a variety of Peer Support, Staff Support Networks and Buddy Groups including: Support Association for Minority Ethnic Staff, Disability Support Network, Women’s Network, Gypsy Roma Traveller Police Association, Muslim Police Association, Christian Police Association and Men’s Forum.

Find out more about how we could be supporting you and how we value difference at TVP.

 Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • be at least 17 years of age upon application but must be 18 years of age by your first day in the role; there is no upper age limit;
  • be a British citizen, or an EU/European Economic Area (EEA) national, Commonwealth citizen or foreign national with Indefinite Leave to Remain or Pre-Settled/Settled status and no restrictions on your stay in the United Kingdom (for PCEP, DCEP and PPD). Applicants for the PCDA cannot be accepted with Pre-Settled status due to national funding rules of the Apprenticeship;
  • residency – have been a UK resident for the last three years;
  • hold a full manual UK or EU driving licence by the time of formal offer;
  • not have served any time in prison or youth detention (if you have a criminal conviction, it may lead to your application being rejected – we will take into account the date, nature of offence plus evidence of good character since the offence);
  • be in good health and able to physically and mentally perform your duties;
  • not have any piercings or tattoos which could cause offence;
  • live within 30 crow miles/40 road miles/ a 1 hour commute of two of our main police stations by formal offer of appointment. A degree of flexibility is expected in terms of postings as we may be forced to post to locations within policy parameters if organisational need dictates this.

Educational requirements:

Police Constable Entry Programme (PCEP) and Detective Constable Entry Programme (DCEP):

  • You must have achieved English GCSE (A*-C/9-4) or an equivalent Level 2 qualification (e.g. Functional Skills, O-Level or CSE Grade 1) and two A-Levels (A-E) or equivalent, OR relevant professional experience. If you don’t have A-Levels but do have at least one year of professional experience working in areas such as those below, we encourage you to apply. (Note that this is not an exhaustive list and all previous experience will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.)
    • Armed forces
    • Border force
    • Criminal justice sector/CPS/courts
    • Cyber/digital and financial fraud crimes
    • Dedicated investigation or analytical role
    • Emergency services
    • Health and social care sectors
    • Justice and law enforcement sectors
    • Police staff, particularly custody, public contact/demand hub/enquiry office roles and investigative roles
    • PCSO or Special Constable
    • Prison service
    • Professional services/project management
    • Teaching
    • Youth work

Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA):

  • In addition to the above, you will also need Mathematics GCSE (A*-C/9-4) or an equivalent Level 2 qualification (e.g. Functional Skills, O-Level or CSE Grade 1)

Professional Policing Degree (PPD):

  • You must have achieved English GCSE (A*-C/9-4) or an equivalent Level 2 qualification (e.g. Functional Skills, O-Level or CSE Grade 1) and the Level 6 Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Policing or be in the final year of study
Police Officer recruitment process

The recruitment process to become a Police Officer takes a bit longer than other roles, due to the nature of the job, so we want to provide you with a realistic overview of the steps involved. 

Once you start your application, our recruitment team will support you every step of the way, and they are always available to answer your questions. You can contact them at RecruitmentPoliceOff@thamesvalley.police.uk

Application process explained:

Typically, the process from initial application through to start date can take six to nine months and includes:

  • Step 4. Online assessment centre – Interview/Written – taking approx. 3 hours to complete.
  • Step 5. Provisional offer
  • Step 6. Interview
  • Step 7. Pre-employment checks including fitness test, medical, references and vetting. Useful information about the fitness test and vetting can also be found in the videos below. 
  • Step 8. Start date

At Thames Valley Police, we are committed to better reflect the communities that we serve. 

We encourage applications from our underrepresented communities including all ethnic or religious backgrounds, LGBTQ+ and women.

Our Positive Action and Engagement Team provide support and guidance to anyone from an ethnically diverse background throughout the police officer recruitment process as well as advise on career development and progression. They can be contacted via: positiveactionteam@thamesvalley.police.uk

Learn more about the team and the support they can provide you to start your career in policing.

Our Entry Routes

At TVP, we are proud to provide a number of entry routes so that anyone interested in becoming a Police Officer can attain their dream career. Regardless of the entry route chosen, all our Police Officers receive the same salary and opportunities. 

Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship PCEP


This is our main Police Officer entry route, with 80% of new joiners choosing this 2-year programme to start their career.
  • For both degree and non-degree holders
  • Two years programme of learning 
  • 24 weeks initial training 
  • Blend of practical experience and classroom-based learning
  • 10 weeks of individual coached patrol and tutoring followed by work-based learning at your base station
  • View the 2-year PCEP overview

We are now accepting applications for this entry route.

Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship PCDA


This 3-year programme appeals to those who wish to attain a degree. Earn whilst you learn, with no student loans to repay.

  • For those who want to obtain a degree 
  • Three years programme of learning 
  • 21 weeks initial training 
  • Blend of practical experience and classroom-based learning
  • 10 weeks of individual coached patrol and tutoring followed by work-based learning at your base station
  • Attain L6 accreditation in BSc Professional Policing Practice
  • View the PCDA programme overview 

We are not accepting applications for this entry route at the moment, but you can register your interest for the programme. As soon as we open again, you will be notified. 

Professional Policing Degree PPD


If you hold a Professional Policing Degree (PPD) or are in the final year of studies, this 2-year work based programme is for you.

  • For those with a Degree in Professional Policing
  • Two years programme of learning
  • 14 weeks initial training
  • Blend of practical experience and classroom-based learning
  • 10 weeks of individual coached patrol and tutoring followed by work-based learning at your base station

We are now accepting applications for this entry route.

Detective Constable Entry Programme DCEP


This 2-year programme is for those eager to pursue a career in investigation, going straight into the Detective role at completion.

  • For both degree and non-degree holders 
  • Two years programme of learning
  • 24 weeks initial training
  • Blend of practical experience and classroom-based learning
  • 10-14 weeks of individual coached patrol and tutoring followed by work-based learning at your base station

Learn more about the programme on our Detective Constable page.

Learn more about life as a Police Officer

Meet our Police Officers

Read some of the inspiring stories of our Police Officers, and how they are protecting our Thames Valley communities.

Military Resettlement

We are proud to offer a second career to those who have previously served with His Majesty’s Forces. Learn more about the support we offer and how you can join our team – Military Resettlement at TVP

Contact us

Our recruitment team is available to support you every step of the way and answer your questions. You can contact them at RecruitmentPoliceOff@thamesvalley.police.uk