Working with the Police

Working with the police offers an exciting career with many opportunities for varied, interesting work that really makes a difference to people's lives. Whether you're a serving officer looking to remain with the service post-retirement from frontline duties or you're coming to the sector for the first time, there should be something suitable for everyone within the UK's police services.

Many of these roles will, however, require you to undergo special vetting processes before you are offered a job. So it pays to find out what opportunities are out there and how to get security cleared before making an application.


The roles available for non-police personnel

There are many roles available for non-officers with the police, ranging from administrative tasks to assisting in investigations. These professionals work side by side with serving officers and handle much of the same confidential information, so it's important for applicants to be able to demonstrate integrity and honesty when putting themselves forward for a role.

Among the common types of careers working with the police are positions such as:

  • Data analysts

  • Forensics

  • IT support and investigations

  • Communications officers

  • Project management

  • Call and dispatch handlers

  • Holmes indexing

  • Prosecution file preparation

  • Human resources


Opportunities for retired officers

For those who are currently working as police officers, reaching the end of your career in uniform does not mean you have to walk away from the service. In fact, there are many opportunities for ex-officers to continue working closely with former colleagues, as their experience and skills will be invaluable in supporting their work, whether this is investigating crimes or assisting with public safety.

Opportunities for those who already have a record serving with the police may include:

  • Civilian investigators

  • Crime analysts

  • Support and outreach workers

  • Digital forensics examiners

  • Security consultants

You may also be able to transfer your skills to a wide range of other organisations that will work closely with the police. 

This may include direct law enforcement such as the National Crime Agency or Border Force, or central government departments such as the Home Office or HM Revenue and Customs. Those with specialist skills such as advanced driving or firearms training may be in especially high demand.

Many of these roles will require close cooperation with serving offers and as such, candidates who have familiarity with the way police services operate will be invaluable.


Ensuring you have the right clearances

Many jobs working with the police will involve access to a range of sensitive materials and locations. In addition to working at police premises, civilian and ex-police employees can expect to have access to confidential intelligence information, financial and operational assets, and restricted databases such as the Police National Computer. 

As such, it will be vital to have the appropriate security clearance in order to prove your honesty, integrity and reliability whenever working with the police.

The most common way this is achieved is through the Non-Police Personnel Vetting (NPPV) system. This applies to many people who are working with the police but aren't police officers themselves. The process is much more in-depth than basic checks such as the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), which reviews any criminal records.

NPPV clearance will involve examining areas such as your financial history and a check against the Police National Database, which will record the details of any previous investigations, even if there was no formal outcome such as a charge or conviction. Vetters will also look at the history of close family members.

There are several levels of NPPV check that will need to be completed for full access, though these may not be needed for every role. These include:

NPPV Level 1: Limited Access - This does not permit holders to view any classified material, and mainly applies to utility workers on police premises who have no access to electronic or physical materials.

NPPV Level 2 (Abbreviated): Unsupervised Access - This allows for the viewing of material up to official-sensitive level, either on police premises or by remote access, but not systems access.

NPPV Level 2 (Full): Unsupervised Access - As above, but with occasional access to secret materials.

NPPV Level 3: Unsupervised Access – This provides holders with permission to access police material and information up to secret level, with occasional access to Top Secret materials.

In addition to NPPV clearances, jobs with the police may also require the below clearances:

Management Vetting (MV) Clearance - This clearance may be required for certain positions, especially those with access to sensitive information, intelligence, financial or operational assets. These designated posts are defined as those where there is a high potential for sensitive police assets to be compromised, leading to serious damage to the force.

Recruitment Vetting (RV) Clearance - A minimum requirement for officers and civilian support staff, this looks at applicants' personal histories to ensure they have the honesty and integrity needed to work with the police. This will include background checks against police and crime databases, a credit check and that applicants are not members of any prohibited organisations.

Those who have already demonstrated their integrity and trustworthiness through service as a police officer may be well-placed to achieve higher levels of security clearance, while their familiarity with the procedure may also be a significant advantage when applying for jobs with the police.

If you want to see what opportunities you may be suited for, browse our security cleared policing roles today.