Police Sergeant and Inspector UK: An Introduction

Police Sergeant jobs are seriously hard to get!

Hello, and welcome to the first of our series of blogs on the Police Sergeant and Inspectors examinations. In this series, we’ll be taking you everything that you need to know about these tough tests. Hopefully, by the end of these guides, you’ll be in a fantastic position to achieve success, and take your place amongst the Police Sergeants and Inspectors of this world. In this blog, we’ll provide you with an introduction to both roles, and some of the requirements for each.

Let’s start by looking at the two roles.

What is a Police Sergeant?

Police sergeants play a very important role in day-to-day police operations within the UK. As the next rank on the ladder following ‘Constable’, Police Sergeants are tasked with handling the supervision of constables and civilian support staff. Sergeants are the first management based rank in the police force, and as such, have a number of important duties. These include:

  • Briefing staff. As a sergeant, you will be responsible for the management of those who rank below you in the force. This means that you must be able to give informative and confident briefings, clearly explaining protocols and tasks.
  • Supervising investigations. Sergeants are responsible for managing those below them. This means that you will be tasked with supervising the workload and investigations of these staff members. Police sergeants are an essential cog in the constabulary machine. As middle managers, they ensure that work in local constabularies is running smoothly.
  • Coordinating response improvement. Sergeants are responsible for ensuring that constant improvement is made to the police force. That is to say, you will need to review incidents and investigations, and find ways that they can be improved upon for next time. It is essential that the police are always at the top of their game, to ensure the safety of the public.
  • Maintaining high standards of professionalism. As a ranking manager within the police, it’s essential that you can lead by example, and display impervious levels of professionalism.

The Police Sergeant and Inspector Tests will filter out the weakest candidates

What is a Police Inspector?

Inspector is the next rank up from sergeant, and thus takes on even more responsibility. Inspectors supervise a wider margin of employees than sergeants, who are themselves managed and supervised by inspectors. Along with this, inspectors are also tasked with:

  • Inspecting all elements of police work including personnel, case records, conduct, premises and activities. Inspectors will need to record a detailed log of every incident that occurs, along with helping staff to create positive resolutions to problems.
  • Creating reports in regards to key areas such as discipline, efficiency and operational management.
  • Works with employees in superior ranks to ensure that the police is being run efficiently, from top to bottom.
  • Takes part in essential operations, often commanding, during emergency scenarios – such as riots.
  • Acts as a police liaison for community planning and developing projects, helping to ensure that police procedures are in line with the requirements.

How do I apply?

In order to work as a sergeant, or an inspector, there are two routes available:

Direct Entry – Direct entry is an application process for candidates who are currently not serving in the police force. Direct entry allows candidates to work through an in-depth application process, after which time successful candidates will be given a place on an elite training course, to prepare them for the role.

Sergeant and Inspector Examinations – If you are a currently serving police employee, then it’s also possible to progress up through the force, and gain the rank of sergeant or inspector. In order to do this, you will need to take the sergeant and inspector examinations. These exams are notoriously difficult, and will require candidates to learn large amounts about the law and legal framework.

What kind of skills will I need?

Both routes will require a distinctly different skillset. For Direct Entry, you won’t actually be required to have an in-depth knowledge of legal procedure, as this is what you will be taught on the training course. Instead, you’ll need to prove that you have the following competencies:

  • Emotional Awareness
  • Ability To Take Ownership
  • Works Collaboratively
  • Delivers, Supports and Inspires
  • Critical Analysis
  • Innovative and Open Minded

Along with these, you also need to have an understanding of the following core values:

  • Integrity
  • Transparency
  • Public Service
  • Impartiality

For the Police Sergeant and Inspector examinations, however, the requirements will be different. Given that you already work within the police force, it is assumed by the police that you can exhibit these qualities. Therefore, the Police Sergeant and Inspector examinations are much more technical in nature than the Direct Entry assessments, and will require you to have an extensive knowledge of the law. You’ll be asked questions that directly reference particular areas of legal framework, and asked to decide whether particular actions constitute legal or illegal behaviour.

In our next blog, we’ll give you a full run through of the Police Inspector core competencies listed above, and a detailed breakdown of how they work.

The Police Sergeant and Inspector tests will differ according to how you apply

6 thoughts on “Police Sergeant and Inspector UK: An Introduction

    • Jordan Cooke says:

      Hi Adam,

      Thanks for your comment. In terms of promotion time, this really depends on a) the constabulary that you are working for and b) how good you are at the job! As with any career, if you prove yourself an excellent and reliable police employee then you will climb much quicker than someone less good. Hope this helps =].


      The How2Become Team.

  1. Richard Norman says:

    Despite flourishing in sergeant interview and presentation delivery, I have an issue with the briefing element. Is there a set formula/advice you could kindly suggest to get me and others through this aspect?

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