Today is the 31st December 2013. That means tomorrow is the year I graduate, which is a pretty big deal! This means trying to figure out what career you want and then the beginning of laborious job hunting! As a Criminology student, it may be of no surprise that I want my future career in this field; in hopefully joining the police! I am lucky in that I have known what I have wanted to do for a long time, whilst some people take a bit longer to work it out. Unfortunately the main problem for myself and others in this boat, is the lack of vacancies and recruiting during the last few years. Many people may not realise that one of the knock on effects of the government cuts, is that public agencies have not only had to shrink their workforce but also freeze future recruitment. That was the bad news, but there is good news!
(Images taken by myself on 4/2/2012 of Leicestershire Police at the English Defence League vs. United Against Fascism March in Leicester)
Firstly, pretty much all Police Forces are encouraging volunteering, which is suited to students. This is not only a superb way to get experience, but massively increases your chances of breaking into the police force when you finish your degree. When recruiting starts it makes more sense for them, in a time and financial sense, to take on an individual who has already had some experience and training, than an individual with none. This internal recruiting of people already involved in the police gives volunteers a huge advantage over other applicants.
There are several types of volunteering which suit students. Becoming a Special Constable is a voluntary position which gives you the same powers and uniform as regular officers serving around 4hours a week in your local community. Secondly, there are Police Support Volunteers which give you the opportunity to volunteer in a diverse range of roles in support of the police officers and staff. I am currently awaiting security clearance to begin in a voluntary role for Leicestershire Police as a Police Support Volunteer, which I am very excited about!
The Second piece of good news, is that with the turn of the New Year, recruitment is very slowly starting to get moving again! Several forces including the Metropolitan Police, have said that statements on upcoming recruitment will be made soon and that people should keep checking back on the relevant internet pages. However, some of this recruitment will almost certainly be internal, which as mentioned earlier is another excellent reason to get into volunteering to give yourself that extra bit of chance! And for students in their final year, The Metropolitan Police Graduate Scheme is available to those who are predicted at least a 2:1, which is a fast track stream for graduates hoping for a career in the Met. For more information, visit http://www.metpolicecareers.co.uk/graduates/
Overall, things are on the up! Fingers crossed that as I am finishing my degree this summer, it will have really opened up, but nonetheless this is a great sign for aspiring police officers in the years below me for the near future. If I have one piece of advice to give, it is to apply to volunteer positions early on. Due to the nature of the police, it understandably takes a long time for security checks and applications to be vetted so the quicker you can apply the quicker you will be out doing it! I would recommend doing this during your first year, to give yourself the greatest amount of time with these opportunities. Below are two links to the Leicestershire Police website which has a great deal of information on the two roles I have spoken about and the contact details for getting involved.
As always, any questions or queries please feel free to comment!
Happy New Year!