On the Beat

What does a police officer do?

Do you want to know what it is like to be a police officer?

What makes a 'special' police officer?

In this section, you can find out what it means to work for the police as an officer, or a member of staff.


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Below are a list of questions that we are asked the most.

1) How many police officers/Specials do you have at Norfolk Constabulary?
Approximately we have:

  • 1500 - 1700 police officers  
  • 700 Specials

2) How many police cars/vans do you have?
Approximately 400 vehicles including motorcycles.

3) Can I go on "duty" with a police officer?
Unfortunately no, due to health and safety reasons it is not possible to send a member of the public out on patrol with a police officer.

4) Can I carry out work experience at Norfolk Police?
Places for work experience are limited, to find out more, please e-mail the recruitment team via our contact us online form.

5) Do you have Police Cadets?
No, we do not operate a Cadet Scheme. However we recommend that anyone who wants to become a police officer, to become a Special first as this helps you to understand the role of a police officer and is a good way to get experience.

You could also be a Police Support Volunteer. This is a civilian based role (you are a member of staff rather than a police officer) in which you can help the police of Norfolk Constabulary.

As part of police training, an officer will do role play where he learns how to deal with people in different situations. So a Police Support Volunteer may help the officer by being an actor for the day! 

They can also help by watching the drivers in their village, making sure that they are not going too fast!

This is not a paid role.

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Police Staff
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At the police station, there are other members of staff who work there who are not police officers these are called Police support staff.

In fact, there are more than 1,200 people at Norfolk Police who work in a wide variety of jobs to help the police officers achieve the best they can.

These jobs include call handlers who answer emergency calls in the Contact and Control Room to the car mechanics who look after the police vehicles.

There are also staff who work on the police websites (like this one!), take photographs of crime scenes, make sure all the computers work or make sure everyone is happy in their job.

So whether you are good at maths, English, fixing things or are good with a computer, it is worth knowing that Norfolk Police looks for people from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences with all sorts of different abilities to help keep Norfolk safe.

Maybe you would like to work for the police in the future?

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What is a Volunteer?
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Did you know that the police also has volunteers known as Police Support Volunteers who help improve the service the police give to the people of Norfolk?

These volunteers give up their own time to help keep Norfolk safe.

As part of police training, an officer will do role play where he learns how to deal with people in different situations. So a volunteer may help the police by being an actor for the day! 

They can also help by watching the drivers in their village, making sure that they are not going too fast! Maybe you have seen some volunteers where you live helping the police out.

By giving the police just a little bit of their time, volunteers have a real impact on the community as they carry out jobs that help free up police officers' time for other things.

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What is a Special?
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The Special Constabulary are a group of people who volunteer to work with the Police. They are commonly known as ‘Specials’.

Specials work alongside police officers. They may go on patrol with them and will often attend events, like football matches, where a large number of people in uniform are needed to make sure the public are kept safe.

Just like police officers, Specials can work during the day or night. The hours that a special works will depend upon what else they have planned.

Many specials have full time jobs as well as volunteering to work with the Police. For example, a doctor or a teacher may be a Special in their spare time. Do you know someone who is a Special?

To be a Special you have to be over 18 years of age - Maybe it is something you would like to do when you are older.

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What is a Police Officer?
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Would you like to know what a police officer does?

Do you know what equipment police officers carry? 

Do the police still work while you are tucked up in bed?

So many questions!

We asked PC Emma Drew, an officer who works in North Walsham for some answers.


Why did you become a police officer?

I decided I wanted to be a police officer when I was 11 years old as I wanted a job where I could help people.

I liked the variety of the job, as every day would be different and I would be able to get out and about and not stuck in an office.


What do police officers do? 

Police officers do lots of different types of jobs but the police officers you see in uniform spend a lot of time trying to solve crime and helping people.

When someone needs help an officer will be called on their radio and if it is an emergency they will need to leave quickly so must always be ready to go. Officers also spend a lot of time on Patrol.


What does 'on patrol' mean?

'On patrol' means that a police officer is driving or walking around the area they work. This is so that people can see them are less likely to commit crime as they think they may get caught.

By speaking to people in the community, officers can find things out that help them do their job.


How do you know someone needs help?

If someone calls the police because they need help or something bad is happening a police officer is called on their radio and told where they need to go so that they can find out what is happening.

Our radios are like a special mobile phone and are really important as they help officers to stay safe.


What things do you carry? 

I carry lots of different things and most of them are to help keep me safe like my radio, baton, handcuffs and CS spray.

I also have to carry my pocket note book and lots of paperwork.


Do police officers work at night time?

Yes, there are police officers on duty 24 hours a day. Officers take it in turns to work day and night shifts so that nobody has to work nights all the time.


What do you like best?

I like meeting lots of different people and being able to help them.


Describe a typical day in your life

There is no such thing as a typical day for a police officer as every day is different.

At the start of their shift officers usually check their computers to see what has been happening and if there is any new work for them.

Officers will then spend the day either investigating crimes which could involve talking to witnesses or arresting someone or they will be out on patrol and answering calls on their radio to help people, this could for a car accident, an argument or because someone has had something stolen.

Officers also have a lot of paperwork to do before they go off duty.