Am I too short to be a police officer? Campaign aims to dispel myths
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is launching a new campaign to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions around what it takes to become a police officer.
It is hoped the campaign will also increase people’s knowledge of the various routes into policing now available under the Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF).
Fitness, age, height and disabilities are all common issues that concern people considering a career as a police officer, so the campaign will feature case studies of officers who successfully joined the force despite these concerns.
It comes as the force continues to seek applicants for the police officer role, both under its Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) and its Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA), which opens again today.
Both were introduced under PEQF, which was developed by the College of Policing to support the development of policing as a profession and raise educational standards.
The DHEP allows the conversion of a degree into a graduate diploma in Professional Policing Practice, while the PCDA involves studying for a fully-funded degree apprenticeship.
Both involve on-the-job training and recruits begin earning from day one.
PC Megan Gwynne, who passed out in the summer, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth and then as a teenager developed cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.
She also had worries about not having the strength to be an officer.
Megan said: “I had some reservations because I am only 5’1” and didn’t know whether I would be big or strong enough to effectively handle conflict and violent situations.
“I was also hesitant about whether I would be accepted through the medical assessment, however, this proved to be nothing to worry about.
“There are loads of women on shift who are my size and even smaller so there are no limits. If you believe you can do it I think it’s definitely something you can achieve. There is a place for everyone within policing and I think it’s important to have diversity and people from all different backgrounds.
“Also, if you have a disability you shouldn’t shy away from applying. Each person is assessed on an individual basis and I was supported with my medical condition when I worked as a detention officer and throughout the application stage for police officer.”
PC Cheryl Lee, who also graduated earlier this year, is a single mum with two sons, aged two and four. She has help from family who live nearby and a nanny.
She said: “When I started on division, I was a mixture of nerves and excitement but I kept busy by planning out the logistical side of things, particularly childcare and ensuring I incorporated sleep, as well as parenting and the actual hours.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to get everything right from day one but I soon realised I would be supported.”
Fore more officer case studies and information about the new routes into policing, visit our website here https://www.cambs.police.uk/apply/Jobs/Police-officer/Become-a-police-officer
Some of the most common concerns, myths and misconceptions about becoming a police officer
I’m worried about the fitness test? I am not very fit.
Don’t worry, you need to reach Level 5.4 on the bleep test which is achievable for most people. Please follow this link to the College of Policing site https://www.college.police.uk/support-forces/health-safety-welfare/job-related-fitness-standards which details exactly what is involved and some helpful tips.
I’m in my 40s, am I too old to join?
Definitely not, we welcome applications from more experienced candidates.
I am leaving college without any work experience, can I become an officer?
You can actually apply when you’re 17 and attend the assessment centre and other processes but cannot join until you are 18. Some applicants prefer to gain some other work experience before they join and others don’t.
I have a family, are the shifts flexible?
As an officer you will be expected to work shifts, however, you can apply for flexible working to help support your personal commitments.
I am 5ft tall – can I be a police officer?
Yes. There are no height requirements to join.
I have a medical condition x, does this affect my suitability for the role?
Many of our applicants have medical conditions which they fear may prevent them from applying but they do not necessarily stop you from becoming a police officer. If you would like to discuss your condition and eligibility prior to applying then please email our recruitment team at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be happy to help.
I’m dyslexic, can I be a police officer?
Absolutely, we have many officers who are dyslexic and they are brilliant officers. We will ensure as soon as you arrive you have the support and adjustments you require.