What It Means To Be A Police Constable
A career in policing is primarily about one thing: working with people to ensure public safety through crime prevention and law enforcement. Police work requires that a constable be able to build relationships in the community, showing sensitivity to and concern for the needs of people from all races, cultures and backgrounds.
The Police Services Act describes four key areas of responsibility for a police constable:
- preserving the peace;
- preventing crimes and providing assistance to others in their prevention;
- assisting victims of crime;
- apprehending and charging offenders and executing warrants.
In addition, a police officer is responsible for:
- referring individuals to community services and agencies;
- educating the public.;
Police work is also demanding. A police constable must work shifts, including evenings, nights and weekends, at all times of the year. This is not a job that everyone will like, or can do well.
One of the goals of policing is to reflect the diversity of the communities served. This enables police services to continually improve their capability to deliver service that is effective and responsive to the needs of the community. Police services are therefore looking for men and women from all backgrounds and walks of life, including people of various races, cultures, and religions. Everyone who has a strong interest in becoming a police constable, and who feels that she/he meets the qualifications described in this information package, is encouraged to apply.
For people who are truly interested in serving the needs of the community, police work is rewarding. The job challenges you each day in complex ways. Whether you are dealing with the security concerns of a store merchant, talking with a senior citizen, or befriending a group of local kids, you will find that a police constable bears a great deal of responsibility to the public. Fulfilling this responsibility will give you a sense of accomplishment and the confidence that you are making a contribution.
Training As A Police Constable
Once you have successfully proceeded through the selection process, you will undergo an intensive standardized training program at the Ontario Police College in Aylmer. This training program is designed to provide you with an understanding of the policing role in society, give you a sound knowledge of the law and procedures, and develop your skills to deal with various situations. Throughout this training program, there will be tests and then a final examination.
Some of the subjects and activities covered in the training program include federal and provincial statutes, firearms, defense tactics, fire safety, cross-cultural training, police procedures, and crisis intervention. An important component of the program is physical fitness training in which you will be required to meet specified physical fitness standards.
In addition, some police services provide further training at their own facilities. You will be required to pass such training before becoming eligible for appointment as a police constable.
Professional development related to various aspects of policing will continue throughout your career.
What You Can Expect
Once you have been appointed to the rank of constable, you will progress through four classifications, from fourth class constable to first class constable. Your initial employment will include a period of probation. With good performance and availability of opportunities, you will be eligible for promotion to higher ranks.
As a police constable, you are eligible for a competitive salary. Benefits vary across police services but they generally include paid vacation, medical and dental plans, life insurance plan, employee assistance programs and opportunities for professional development.
What It Takes To Become A Police Constable
To be considered for a career in policing, you must meet certain minimum requirements as outlined in the Police Services Act.
Specifically, you must:
- be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada:
- be at least 18 years of age;
- be physically and mentally able to perform the duties of the position, having regard to your own safety and the safety of members of the public;
- have successfully completed at least four years of secondary school education or its equivalent. (Note: official transcripts and diplomas will be required).Where education has been completed outside Ontario, official proof of equivalency must be obtained by contacting the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training;
- be of good moral character and habits, meaning that you are an individual other people would look upon as being trustworthy and having integrity.
In addition, you must:
- possess a valid driver's licence with no more than six accumulated demerit-points, permitting you to drive an automobile in Ontario with full driving privileges;
- have current certification in CPR and first aid by the time the offer of employment is given;
- be able to pass a security clearance as well as background investigation, credit and reference checks.
If you have any criminal convictions under a federal statute, you must obtain a pardon. If you have 'Findings of Guilt' which have resulted in absolute or conditional discharges, the records must be 'sealed' by the RCMP.
(This will be done automatically following one year if the absolute discharge is registered after July 24, 1992. For a conditional discharge, this will be done automatically following three years if the conditional discharge is registered after July 24,1992. Otherwise you must apply to have these records sealed.)