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1234

Hello, 

Basically I applied to be a PC in 2014 and I have now finally been given a start date. It has been a long process due to cuts etc. 

A lot has changed in the three and a half years since my application. I'm now engaged, made progress where I work, have a mortgage etc. No kids at the moment but I think a child will be likely in the next couple of years. 

I'm in 2 minds on whether to reject the job offer or accept... 

I currently work in a Mon-Fri 9-5 office based job, have been since I graduated 6 years ago. I am in need of a change as I have worked for the same company for 6 years and I feel I need a new challenge but is this the right change... 

I will be taking a pay cut but not 'huge' and that will be manageable my biggest concern is the transition into shift work, work life balance, family life as a PC.  

Basically I'm looking for some honest opinions from serving officers, applicants etc. regarding the job, the work life balance, shift working etc. 

 

Apologies for rambling on and thanks for reading any advice, opinions and thoughts would be gratefully received. 

 

Thanks 

 

 

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Hyphen

The big question is why did you apply to be a cop? A lot depends on your reasons and how much you want it. Only you can answer that part. You’ve hung on for 4 years so you seem to be keen on the job.

If it’s not a huge pay cut and you can financially manage then it’s short term, within 7 years you’re on 38k which isn’t bad at all.

Its difficult to sugar coat things. It depends on the force but I think many forces are in the same boat. Staffing levels are depleted, most days you will be rushed off of your feet and you’re never guaranteed to finish on time. The workload will likely be very high with all sorts of things to juggle as well as the stresses and demands of the job. 

Youll be tired a lot of the time, shift work is quite demanding and in terms of work life balance this can be a struggle particularly if your partner works normal hours. Again, some shift patterns are better than others and it depends on your force.

You do seriously need to make sure that your other half is fully prepared for this and that she is aware of the demands/shift work etc.

Now that the bad stuff is out of the way, there is no other job like it. You never know what is around the corner. You are pushed most days, you are challenged and the time flies. Your confidence will grow and you will enjoy working under pressure. I personally enjoy working shifts, the thought of doing a 9-5 office job now makes me shudder.

Theres not really anything to compare being a cop to. I would struggle to go back to a normal job now.

This is why being a Special can be a benefit as it gives an insight in to the job and the types of incidents and stresses. 

The other thing to think is if you go for it you aren’t locked in, if it didn’t work out then you could always look for something else.

Good luck.

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1234
3 minutes ago, Hyphen said:

The big question is why did you apply to be a cop? A lot depends on your reasons and how much you want it. Only you can answer that part. You’ve hung on for 4 years so you seem to be keen on the job.

If it’s not a huge pay cut and you can financially manage then it’s short term, within 7 years you’re on 38k which isn’t bad at all.

Its difficult to sugar coat things. It depends on the force but I think many forces are in the same boat. Staffing levels are depleted, most days you will be rushed off of your feet and you’re never guaranteed to finish on time. The workload will likely be very high with all sorts of things to juggle as well as the stresses and demands of the job. 

Youll be tired a lot of the time, shift work is quite demanding and in terms of work life balance this can be a struggle particularly if your partner works normal hours. Again, some shift patterns are better than others and it depends on your force.

You do seriously need to make sure that your other half is fully prepared for this and that she is aware of the demands/shift work etc.

Now that the bad stuff is out of the way, there is no other job like it. You never know what is around the corner. You are pushed most days, you are challenged and the time flies. Your confidence will grow and you will enjoy working under pressure. I personally enjoy working shifts, the thought of doing a 9-5 office job now makes me shudder.

Theres not really anything to compare being a cop to. I would struggle to go back to a normal job now.

This is why being a Special can be a benefit as it gives an insight in to the job and the types of incidents and stresses. 

The other thing to think is if you go for it you aren’t locked in, if it didn’t work out then you could always look for something else.

Good luck.

Thank you so much for the reply. Very insightful :) 

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Growley
Hello, 
Basically I applied to be a PC in 2014 and I have now finally been given a start date. It has been a long process due to cuts etc. 
A lot has changed in the three and a half years since my application. I'm now engaged, made progress where I work, have a mortgage etc. No kids at the moment but I think a child will be likely in the next couple of years. 
I'm in 2 minds on whether to reject the job offer or accept... 
I currently work in a Mon-Fri 9-5 office based job, have been since I graduated 6 years ago. I am in need of a change as I have worked for the same company for 6 years and I feel I need a new challenge but is this the right change... 
I will be taking a pay cut but not 'huge' and that will be manageable my biggest concern is the transition into shift work, work life balance, family life as a PC.  
Basically I'm looking for some honest opinions from serving officers, applicants etc. regarding the job, the work life balance, shift working etc. 
 
Apologies for rambling on and thanks for reading any advice, opinions and thoughts would be gratefully received. 
 
Thanks 
 
 
Shift work and work/life balance are important concerns. It's ultimately going to come down to how well your partner can cope with you not being around as much.

Personally, I prefer having rest days when other people are about, and my wife has only ever known me to work shifts, so she's fairly good about me not being around all the time, but other people I work with have had serious problems at home with it.

It is worth pointing out however that the job has plenty of roles with plenty of varying shift patterns. Once you've done a couple of years, it may well be possible to move to a role which has something close to a 9-5.
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Ironic
Posted (edited)

Consistent office job vs shift-working police officer. Its a difficult decision. I had a similar one (minus the partner + mortgage :) ).

In 2016 I went from a 9-5 office job within 3 miles off my home address, with plentiful parking, great hours and potential for progression. I had started as a temp in 2015 and had recently been taken on full-time. The job itself was rewarding, but it was a start-up kind of company and social life within the office was great too. Overall its more than you can ask for. Had I not left to join the police, then I expect I would still be working there.

In April 2016 I passed my final interview for TVP started Summer 2016. For me, it was a notable jump in hours and tiredness, but ultimately much more rewarding. It was a pay cut in the take-home salary before overtime was marginally less, but made up within nearly 2 years of being in the job + overtime. The main difference is the satisfaction. Ultimately, my previous job was not customer facing, aside from the occasional snotty customer on the phone. (verbal only). The main thing to expect is, whilst the boss and skippers will try and get you to go home on time, it can be 50/50. I might go two weeks getting to go home on time, but then for the next week, I end up staying on late to sort out something, but It generally works out in the end though.

It comes down to what you want. You will end up doing more hours and be more tired as a PC, but will working in an office be as interesting? Only you can make that decision.

Being a SC might give you an insight into what being a PC will be like, the culture, the people and the jobs. Might be worth giving some consideration :) 

Edited by Ironic
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Chaos

Tonight I'm starting 4 shifts of 1800 till 0400 hrs... I've been up since 7 am to get the kids ready for school... Been doing a bit of house work and garden because it's a nice day, then picking the kids back up from school before going to work at 1800 hrs...

 

Hopefully be back home from work on time to do it all again tomorrow...

 

By the end of the 4 shifts I'm pretty knackered and I will try to get some sleep inbetween shefts... It's not always ideal working shifts, however it's great being off in the middle of the a weekday when everyone is in work.

 

I would say go for it, if it's just a bit of a pay cut then within 7 years you will be on top cons. And like other have said you can always transfer to a department that will do a 9 to 5 mon to Fri if that's what suite you.

 

The work load is ok, being on a response section is great, lots of banter, and a great team. I don't tend to bring any work home with me.

 

I can only speak about my force obviously.

 

 

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Policey_Man

I agree with what was said above, in that you need to consider what your motivation is to be a police officer, as that is what will keep you going. It sounds corny, but it is true when they say it is a job like no other.

You will often get work off late, you are tired, you see horrible things and deal with horrible people. Some days you can be bored out of your mind, especially when you're new and have to do the rubbish jobs like guarding crime scenes or doing a constant watch (i.e. sat watching a vulnerable prisoner in custody cell in case they harm themselves) or a hospital guard. You can be thoroughly demotivated. Members of the public will moan you're doing a bad job and they never see you. You'll get complaints about what you've done when you're simply trying to do your best.

But, then on other days, you can have more fun or enjoyment than you thought possible at work.... you can save someone's life, you catch the criminal that's been wanted for months or you get to help a scared victim that has been scared and frightened for months. You help put criminals behind bars, where they should be. You can make a real difference to people's lives. You have foot chases and car chases, you play pranks on your mates and they do the same to you. You have a very strong bond and friendships with your colleagues that you don't get in most other places. You get to see and do things that most other people never get to see or do.

The opportunities are endless.... want to work on the helicopter? Want to be a detective? Police dog handler? Want to be trained to an excellent level of driving so you can drive fast cars very well? Want to learn to shoot and play with guns? Up for dealing with difficult people and riots? There is something out there for everyone.

But, none of it is easy. If you want an easy life, the police isn't for you. It's a challenge. People don't always like what we do. Politics gets involved and causes issues. We don't have nowhere near enough money or staff at the moment which doesn't help. It's massively frustrating at times too. But it'll get better. The one thing I'll guarantee, is that life as a copper is never going to be dull and you'll have plenty of stories to tell.

Some police forces offer ride alongs... you may wish to consider looking into that. Being a Special Constable is also an excellent insight, but I appreciate given your time constraints that's not really realistic now. It might be worth going into the specific forum for the force you're applying for, as obviously they will give you a better insight into that particular organisation.

At the end of the day, as @Hyphen has said, you've hung on for so long, why not give it a go. It's not like you have to stay if you don't like it. But, if you don't try it, will it be one of those regrets that you have later in life, where you say, "I wish I'd become a copper"?.....

If you have any specific questions you want to ask about feel free to ask or PM me.

You may also find some interesting insights on this thread:

 

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1234
Posted (edited)

Thanks for the replies! 

 

Some great advice and extremely useful insights I really appreciate it. 

Edited by 1234

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liamlewis

I'm currently serving in the Armed Forces and am due out in july, I also start with my force in that same month and to say I cannot wait to start would be an understatement, I can't get enough police at the minute, and yes the police like any other job will have its sore points but you'll have oppos to draw from on off days and those days that are testing. After 10 years serving I really really can't wait, beyond excited now. I have done the ride along scheme and it's a great way to get exposure to officers and how they conduct business. My advice is this, don't hesitate go for it, throw your heart and soul into it, and you'll be rewarded.

 

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CountyCop
On 26/03/2018 at 09:32, 1234 said:

Hello, 

Basically I applied to be a PC in 2014 and I have now finally been given a start date. It has been a long process due to cuts etc. 

A lot has changed in the three and a half years since my application. I'm now engaged, made progress where I work, have a mortgage etc. No kids at the moment but I think a child will be likely in the next couple of years. 

I'm in 2 minds on whether to reject the job offer or accept... 

I currently work in a Mon-Fri 9-5 office based job, have been since I graduated 6 years ago. I am in need of a change as I have worked for the same company for 6 years and I feel I need a new challenge but is this the right change... 

I will be taking a pay cut but not 'huge' and that will be manageable my biggest concern is the transition into shift work, work life balance, family life as a PC.  

Basically I'm looking for some honest opinions from serving officers, applicants etc. regarding the job, the work life balance, shift working etc. 

 

Apologies for rambling on and thanks for reading any advice, opinions and thoughts would be gratefully received. 

 

Thanks 

 

 

Firstly well done for riding it out, four years is a long time to wait!

My two cents for what its worth, look at what your current job offers, does it offer good pay progression opportunities for expansion and a good work life balance? Most importantly do you enjoy it? Next does your partner understand the dynamic of shift work? There is a reason many cops end up with cops or those similar professions, nursing and teaching are the most common combination. Shift work can have a massive strain on your relationship especially when you have children so again something to consider for the near future.

The police service at this current time does not really offer all of this, many forces have differing shift patterns any way so it will be entirely subjective to which force you join. Promotion opportunities and sideways moves tend to be limited (Force Dependent) and are not merit based unfortunately, things like this you should consider if you are taking a pay cut and remember we could be subject to another pay freeze again.

I do not want to paint a bad picture of the service but seriously consider what you are getting into, there have been numerous people I have know that have joined and left, from joining in circumstances similar to yours. What I would say is properly assess the situation and realistically look at how it will impact on you and your partner and whether you are ready to put up with the stresses of the job.

Its was easy for me when i joined, I had no mortgage, no partner and was fresh from uni, so I didn't have to consider what you have to now. Its a bit different now for me as all that has changed, however I now know where I stand with a few years in the job. Personally I would jump at a 9-5 role or a more stable shift pattern than what I'm currently on. My partner and I are looking at trying for children, the shifts however are getting in the way, hopefully that may change with an up coming transfer for me.

Whatever you choose to do good luck with it and if you do make the jump I hope you enjoy it!

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1234
1 hour ago, CountyCop said:

Firstly well done for riding it out, four years is a long time to wait!

My two cents for what its worth, look at what your current job offers, does it offer good pay progression opportunities for expansion and a good work life balance? Most importantly do you enjoy it? Next does your partner understand the dynamic of shift work? There is a reason many cops end up with cops or those similar professions, nursing and teaching are the most common combination. Shift work can have a massive strain on your relationship especially when you have children so again something to consider for the near future.

The police service at this current time does not really offer all of this, many forces have differing shift patterns any way so it will be entirely subjective to which force you join. Promotion opportunities and sideways moves tend to be limited (Force Dependent) and are not merit based unfortunately, things like this you should consider if you are taking a pay cut and remember we could be subject to another pay freeze again.

I do not want to paint a bad picture of the service but seriously consider what you are getting into, there have been numerous people I have know that have joined and left, from joining in circumstances similar to yours. What I would say is properly assess the situation and realistically look at how it will impact on you and your partner and whether you are ready to put up with the stresses of the job.

Its was easy for me when i joined, I had no mortgage, no partner and was fresh from uni, so I didn't have to consider what you have to now. Its a bit different now for me as all that has changed, however I now know where I stand with a few years in the job. Personally I would jump at a 9-5 role or a more stable shift pattern than what I'm currently on. My partner and I are looking at trying for children, the shifts however are getting in the way, hopefully that may change with an up coming transfer for me.

Whatever you choose to do good luck with it and if you do make the jump I hope you enjoy it!

Thanks a lot for your reply, much appreciated :)

All the best. 

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1234

Also for greater clarity, the force is West Mercia. Thanks for everyone who has replied :)

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BlueBob

Okay, try another avenue  - re-evaluate your current job/role, create a new CV and spend a coupe of days bashing it out to some relevant recruitment agencies.  See what comes back.  You may find you can change your current, change of income etc without jointing up and the freedoms and restraints that gives you.
If, after a good go at the recruitment you find any potential roles are uninspiring you can at least say you equally explored there avenues and didn't 'settle' on policing based solely on a decision you made 4-5 years ago.   Don't join just because of that out of date decision. 

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Corpsehand

Just checking back in on this - did you come to a decision @1234?

I'm about to swerve my free breakfast, flexi-start, cushty 9-5 to join the regs, so I'm interested to see where you landed. 

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Mac7

I’ll throw my tuppence in just for good measure.

Prior to joining i was in a 9-5 office job. It was a career, I had opportunity to progress and I was relatively senior within the company. But I would sit there at my desk and think about what I was achieving in life both personally and professionally. I always came to the same conclusion - nothing.

I applied to the police and was successful. I took a 10k pay cut and I can honestly say I have never looked back. It was the best decision I have ever made. I could be earning a lot more and most of my friends that work in private industry do. But they do not have the self satisfaction and sense of achievement that I have. It sounds cheesy but it’s true and I enjoy coming to work, unlike a lot of people. I’m never going to be well off in the police, but I’ve been involved in some incredible stuff, taken some amazing opportunities and can see opportunities on the horizon.

Good luck in what you decide/have decided.

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