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Become a police officer: tasks, salary, training + application

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Who can become a police officer? The police have been one of the most popular employers for German schoolchildren for years. The good news: The public debate about internal security will create many new jobs in the police in the coming years - across the federal states. The bad news: The application is not easy. What you need to know about the requirements for training, salary and application if you want to become a police officer ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Police officer duties

A police officer is a law enforcement officer - as such, he ensures law and order. Anyone who now thinks of wild crime chases is not completely wrong. Hunting criminals is only part of the job as a police officer. For example, the police record personal details in the event of a traffic accident. If a loud party is celebrated in the apartment below you at three o'clock in the morning, she is just as available for disturbance of the peace as if you report suspicious noises in the house next door - even though the neighbor is on vacation. Reports or advertisements must be drawn up about such incidents.

Policemen are mainly responsible for security and prevent or combat crime. You are always the point of contact for the population, regardless of whether it is a question of how to get there or reporting a theft. The tasks are different depending on the access: In the middle service, for example, you belong to the riot police and ensure that everything runs smoothly at football matches and major events. Patrol duty is also part of your everyday life. In the upper and higher service you have managerial tasks.

Policeman Jobs

Police officer training

There are several ways to become a cop. Both dual training and dual studies are possible. For example, the training at the federal police in the middle police force lasts two and a half years and is structured as follows:

  • 1st year of service
    The content is law, operational theory, practical exercises and sport. The first year of service lasts 12 months and ends with an intermediate examination.
  • 2nd year of service
    In the second year of service (also for 12 months) you have so-called internship. Here you will learn, for example, police tasks in border protection, for example at land and sea borders.
  • 3rd year of service
    The last year of service lasts only six months and deals again with law, operational training and sports. After passing your career test, you are a police officer.

However, the admission criteria for the Federal Police and the State Police are different. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia recently decided that from now on applicants with a secondary school diploma will be admitted again - this was last the case 20 years ago. Formal criteria such as educational qualifications, but also personal ones such as body size or previous illnesses can destroy the ambitions - more on this in the next section.

Requirements: How do I become a police officer?

Fulfilling all the requirements of the police is sometimes even more difficult than mastering the idiot test while drunk. Many dreams burst even before you apply. Or are you aware that young people with neurodermatitis do not even need to apply? Atopic eczema is - in some federal states - an exclusion criterion.

This notice is important: The state police are the responsibility of the states. The employment requirements therefore differ from state to state. While applicants in Rhineland-Palatinate may not be older than 24 years at the beginning of their training, the upper limit in Saxony is 35 years, in North Rhine-Westphalia even 37 years. Saxon police officers must be at least 1.60 meters tall, Rhineland-Palatinate 1.62 meters and Bavarian 1.65 meters. For male police officers in North Rhine-Westphalia, the minimum height is 1.68 meters - exceptions are generally possible.

Requirements, exclusion criteria, application process - very different from Flensburg to Rosenheim. So be sure to take a look at the career pages of the individual countries. The essential basic prerequisites can be summarized as follows - with reservations - across national borders as follows:

  • At least a secondary school certificate with completed vocational training or secondary school leaving certificate, for high-level service high school diploma
  • Citizenship of an EU country, alternatively possession of a permanent residence permit
  • Fluency in the German language, both spoken and written
  • Minimum size
  • Required age
  • Personal aptitude
  • No previous convictions or ongoing investigations
  • Orderly economic situation (no debts and liabilities)

A swimming certificate is also often requiredIn addition, tattoos and piercings may only be worn with restrictions (not in the visible area). Whether the applicant is physically and characteristically suitable is checked as part of the application process (more on this in a moment). And one more point that is relevant: secrecy. If you are passionate about sharing travel or food photos on Facebook, you are welcome to continue doing so as a police officer. But you should also have yourself under control when it comes to business matters. Postings about missions, suspects or cases are absolutely taboo!

Cop salary

Those who complete training to become a police officer can look forward to good pay. The training salary is consistently high from day one. However, there are differences depending on the federal state or police authority. The following graphic shows the training salary at state authorities.

The federal police state the salary for a police officer candidate in the middle-class position of 1,220 euros. Those who start studying to become a police commissioner candidate, on the other hand, receive 1,410 euros per month from the start of their studies. What is special about these salaries (the correct term for the remuneration): The information is kept net. In addition, there are surcharges for night shifts or weekend or holiday work.

How your salary will develop over the next few years, depends largely on your career, rank, but also on the employer. Since you as a police officer acquire civil servant status after three years, your salary is non-negotiable, rather you fall into a grade.

Employer: who is looking for police officers?

As a police officer, you perform official duties. These can lie with the state police, which is responsible in the respective federal state. The federal police are responsible throughout the state. Here you are at work at train stations, airports and in border areas. Another job for you can be at the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) or at the police of the German Bundestag.

Career Opportunities: The Prospects as a Police Officer?

For many years, authorities in the public service made massive savings in terms of personnel. This now leads to a pronounced deficiency, so that there is a great need. Those who pass the selection process have a secure job in prospect. In the police service there is the middle, the upper and the higher service - these are the respective careers that you pursue depending on your school leaving certificate. Those who want to advance their careers can qualify for new areas of responsibility with a degree or internal administrative courses.

The civil service is very attractive for many employees, not least because termination is almost impossible (except in the case of serious violations). Theoretically, however, the skills you have acquired can also be used as a self-employed person, for example as a detective or bodyguard.

Selection process: this is how it works

Now the difficult part begins. Applicants have to prove that they are up to the job, both physically and physically. Anyone who successfully survives the selection process can imagine a little. After all, these skills have been proven, among others:

Again, the note: The application process differs from state to state. Take Saxony as an example: On the first day of the exam, applicants have to complete three tests on the computer. The personality test is intended to show whether one's character is suitable for the police profession. A German test - including a dictation - asks for language skills. The cognitive ability test (hopefully) testifies to the candidate's intelligence.

This is followed by the physical aptitude test. Now the gym bag is unpacked: the applicant first has to overcome nine parts of the box in a maximum of 60 seconds. The course is also known as the box boomerang test. Then the applicants complete push-ups: men at least 15, women at least five. This seems feasible, although the exercise is linked to the box boomerang test without interruption. For the final 2,400-meter run, no more than twelve minutes must be on the stopwatch. Female applicants must have covered at least 2,000 meters during this time. The sports test is included in the overall rating with a total of ten percent.

On the second day of the exam, the focus is on communication skills. The applicants discuss a police issue in a group interview. Assertiveness, but also the ability to cooperate and empathy are required. On the third day, applicants still have to undergo the police medical examination. These include hearing test, stress ECG, eye test, lung function test plus a consultation with a doctor. Regardless of the previous appearance, there is a risk of a quick end.

Basically: Anyone who fails even one test component is immediately thrown out of the selection process. The other applicants are sorted in a ranking. The higher up the ranking, the greater the chances of being hired. The Saxon selection process, for example, differs quite significantly from the Bavarian one. The sports test of the Bavarian police consists of these five exercises:

  1. Small bank: Hop over a small bank as often as possible in 30 seconds.
  2. Bench press: Elevate a barbell as often as possible.
  3. Pendulum run: Walk back and forth between two small benches four times, skipping the bench, picking up a rope, taking it with you and putting it down again.
  4. Cooper test: Run as many 100-meter laps as possible in twelve minutes.
  5. swim: Covering 100 meters in a maximum of two minutes and 45 seconds in any swimming style.

The Bavarian police then conduct a 90-minute language test (spelling, grammar, feeling for language), a 50-minute basic skills test (logical thinking, memory), a 45-minute group discussion (communication and teamwork skills) and a 45-minute job interview.

The final step is an examination by a police doctorwho, for example, also carefully examines the applicant's posture, skin, height, weight and - be careful - the sexual organs. Drug screening is also possible. In North Rhine-Westphalia, on the other hand, there is not even a sports test. It is sufficient to present the German sports badge and a swimming certificate.

Becoming a police officer: when you have no chances

The requirements are tough, as a cursory glance at the reasons for exclusion makes clear. However, lawsuits from applicants who were too big or too small, who were rejected because of too many or too big piercings, etc. regularly land in the courts - sometimes with success. Tip: Apply even if you absolutely want to become a police officer, but do not fully meet one or two requirements. There is generally room for maneuver when it comes to recruitment - in almost all federal states.

Take Rhineland-Palatinate as an example: An earlier investigation or criminal proceeding can lead to the exclusion of an applicant because there are doubts about his or her suitability. But, according to the Rhineland-Palatinate police on their careers page: "Exceptions can be permitted if you appear suitable for the police service after an overall assessment of your personality as well as the act and its circumstances." However, you should not withhold your dark secrets, that can even after hiring, lead to subsequent exclusion from the police service. This also applies to physical handicaps, for example. For the Lower Saxony police, for example, these are reasons for exclusion:

  • diabetes
  • asthma
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • disc prolapse
  • Poorly healed bone fractures with functional restrictions
  • arthrosis
  • Thyroid disease
  • Clotting disorders
  • Blood disorders
  • Heart defects and cardiovascular diseases
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Psychiatric illness
  • Convulsions
  • Hearing loss
  • Tumor diseases
  • Overweight with a body mass index greater than 27.5
  • Condition after Achilles tendon rupture, also after surgery
  • Color blindness
  • Night blindness

Some federal states sort out applicants with neurodermatitis, psoriasis, olfactory disorders or rheumatism. Myopia is also a potential career killer. And another example, this time from the Federal Police: Applicants with “language defects that impair communication” have no chance. The term is not defined in the following, but it should be, for example, strong lisp or stutter.

Applicants who have attempted suicide are also excluded. There are obviously doubts about a stable personality structure. Again the advice: It is essential to look at the reasons for exclusion in the respective federal state, but if in doubt apply anyway - possibly with a detailed explanation of the background.

Police officer application: tips & templates

You can apply to the NRW state police all year round. If your application is received by October 8th of each year, you will be assured of processing for recruitment in the following year. But if you really want to become a police officer, you need more than a convincing cover letter. You should formulate convincingly that you have or have acquired this knowledge. It is important that you emphasize your personal suitability. It can look like this, for example:

  • "I have been showing my reliability and acceptance of responsibility for three years in the association Kampfsport Fantasiestadt e.V. There I not only hold the position of treasurer, but have also been working as a trainer since last year."
  • "For two years now, I have been giving workshops on self-assertion and self-defense for women once a month on a voluntary basis."

What other documents do you need to apply to the police? There can be no nationwide list for this either. Example of the Hesse police force: As part of your application you must ...

  • Fill out the application form and send it off (online or by post)
  • Sign the declaration of consent for the reliability check and drug screening
  • Tabular curriculum vitae and
  • Enclose a copy of your identity card, passport or residence permit
  • Notes and self-assessment on suitability for police service as well as
  • Bring your doctor's certificate with you
  • Birth, parentage or naturalization certificate and
  • Information from the register of fitness to drive and
  • School leaving certificate and
  • Submit driver's license (class B) later

Preparing for the selection process takes months, depending on your physical and mental fitness. This is the best way to prepare for the police recruitment test:

  • to do sports: Regular exercise improves the prospects for the sports test. It's best to jog, swim, sprint and lift weights.
  • Refurbish general education: For example with a knowledge or quiz app.
  • Simulate job interview: Practice in front of the mirror or re-enact a group discussion with the family.
  • Obtain certificates: Take care of the necessary documents early on so that you can clear your head for the actual application. By the way: The costs for this are usually not covered.
  • Apply in several federal states: That increases your chances. German federalism ensures that you have different opportunities in the individual federal states - this does not always have to be to your disadvantage.

Free templates with sample text

Benefit from our free application templates. You can download these individually as a Word file by clicking on "Cover letter", "Cover sheet" or "CV" - or as a complete application set by clicking on the preview image. You will then receive all three Word templates combined in one zip file.

➠ Template / sample: cover letter, cover sheet, curriculum vitae

Application templates: 120+ free samples
Use our other professional designs and free application templates to apply.More than 120 professional templates for CV, cover letter and cover sheet as WORD files including sample texts can be found here:

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