It’s fair to say that being part of the force’s Tactical Support Team (TST) isn’t for the faint hearted.
They help to keep public order on match days, putting themselves in the deep end between rival fans for a start.
They also help conduct specialist searches connected to missing people, murders and other major crimes and even Royal visits. That could mean squeezing yourself down a drain one minute to wading through deep or fast flowing water the next. There’s certainly a lot of variety.
Sergeant Chris Haines has been part of TST for the past three years and says it’s “like no other job out there. We train regularly to ensure we are ready to deal with whatever situation we are faced with. A normal day can suddenly change to one where your skills are put to the test. You never know what each day will bring.
“One day you could be searching for drugs or a vulnerable missing person while the next you could be forcing entry to a house or working at height and talking to a campaigner who might be putting their life at risk or others’ lives at risk. You just never know – we deal with the weird and wonderful. In many ways you have to expect the unexpected.”
Chris admits it’s probably not the job for everyone, but if you like being “out and about with no day ever the same, working as part of a big team and having that camaraderie and ability to communicate, then it could be right up your street. It’s such a varied environment.
“Everyone in the teams has a particular strength and of course we call on that when it’s most needed. Not everyone is great at heights, but they’ll be good at something else. “
The tactical support team were among those who worked at the Leicester City Football Club crash site and Hinckley Road explosion site.
“It’s something we’ll never forget. We’re obviously trained to do it and although it’s clearly extremely difficult because of the circumstances, we know we have a job to do and we want to do it the best we can – whether it’s a high profile case or not.”
“You don’t have to have been a police officer for a particular length of time before applying to be part of the team. It’s just about whether you’re the right fit for the job and having lots of enthusiasm for it obviously helps,” added Chris.
There are several routes into policing open to graduates, non-graduates and people moving careers aged 19-57 years.
Current routes include the graduate scheme for those who already hold a degree and the apprenticeship scheme which allows individuals to gain a degree while working and earning a full salary as a police officer. Starting salary is just over £24,000 and within seven years could be just over £40,000 in the same role.
If you enjoy facing challenges and solving problems and would like to contribute to keeping people safe then policing could be for you. No two days are the same you'll get to learn new skills, meet new people and set out on a career path that could see you specialise as a firearms officer, dog handler, traffic officer, digital media investigator, detective or become the trusted, familiar face of neighbourhood policing.
Applications for anyone with a degree are open now and they open tomorrow for anyone wanting to join the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA).