Detention Officer
Northumbria Police

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Paul P

0.00.00 Hi, my name’s Paul P. I’m a Detention Officer for the Northumbria Police. A lot of people think my job’s like a Prison Officer but what I’ve got to remember is that everybody’s not guilty when they come in, they’re only guilty after they’ve been to Court, so you’ve got to treat them as if you want to be treated yourself. The negative sides when it’s normally to be honest with you, a Friday night is when you get a lot of the drunk and disorderlies in and a lot of aggressiveness and that’s a side of society

0.00.30 and the good side bit is when you get somebody in there who you can see they know they’ve done wrong but they can actually errors of the ways and they actually ask for help about for how they can get out their predicament, whether it’s drug advice, going to see a councillor which is provided or just wanting never to be in custody again basically. Well my parents always thought I’d join the Armed Services, just because it was the type of thing I played with, little plastic toy soldiers, probably my favourite toy as a kid.

0.01.00 But I think the aspect of when I got older basically not really wanting to be shot at which is the main reason why I didn’t join the Services. So I think that’s why I looked towards to something as active as the Police Force. At school I enjoyed school to be honest. I enjoyed the sports aspect, playing rugby, the socialising aspect and I enjoyed certain subjects, but made me personally if I’m interested in a subject I’ll tend to do really, really well at it.

0.01.30 If I’m not, like for example, French and German, languages, I’m not interested and I won’t do well in it. So I generally did, I did well in the aspects of geography and history. The turning point in making me instead of just being a whimsical fantasy of joining the Police, I mean doing something actually about it was university.

0.02.00 Before that I had a set of GCSE, A levels, university, get the job, get the house and university made me realise that it just wasn’t for me, that the desk job aspect of it. At least it gave me a bit of a jolt, woke me up from a slumpish road I was going down. I looked into joining the Northumbria Police but found out that without my glasses on my eyesight wasn’t good enough to join as a Police Officer. So I looked into getting eye surgery. After I did that at the time they wouldn’t accept still that surgery cos it was new.

0.02.30 So since then I’ve done jobs as a salesman, doing that, I also spent six months away travelling to get the more life experience, through America and Australia. And then when I’ve come back I found out that they do allow the surgery now and that’s why I started looking towards the career as a Detention Officer, to give me the insight to go for the ultimate goal as a Police Officer.

0.03.00 I’d say my father was a big influence for making me work hard to reach my goals, is because he struggled to become an accountant. He started off, he struggled quite badly at school. He had the same problem I do, if he’s not interested in something he kind of just switches off. But he had to retake one of his years when he was younger and that kind of gave him the jolt, the realisation to become a chartered accountant which is, at the time was one of the hardest exams to go through.

0.03.30 With regards to people I work with, mostly with regards to some of the Police Officers who have been here for a long time, some are sergeants, when you hear the stories of what they’ve been through in the past, you respect the job they’ve done and the job they’re doing for society at the home, it does make you, encourage you to want to, well for me personally to become a Police Officer, which is one of the reasons why I looked for the job as a Detention Officer, to get an insight into the organisation.


Paul P is a Detention Officer with Northumbria Police. He applied to join the police force after university, but poor eyesight let him down. He had corrective surgery but at the time that wasn’t accepted. It is now, and so he was able to apply to be a detention officer. His ultimate goal is to become a police officer.

More information about Prison service officers (below principal officer)

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

67%  male 
33%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Prison service officers (below Principal Officer) direct, co-ordinate and participate in guarding inmates and maintaining discipline in prisons and other detention centres.
There are no formal academic requirements for entry but candidates must pass a pre-entry test and full medical examination. Basic training is followed by a 12 month probationary period during which further on-the-job training is provided. Background checks are required for entrants, and there are generally nationality restrictions and a lower age limit of 18 years.
  • Escorts prisoners to and from cells and supervises them during meals, recreation and visiting periods;
  • Watches for any infringements of regulations and searches prisoners and cells for weapons, drugs and other contraband items;
  • Guards entrances and perimeter walls;
  • Investigates disturbances or any other unusual occurrences;
  • Escorts prisoners transferred from one institution to another;
  • Runs prisoner rehabilitation and support programmes;
  • Provides care and support to prisoners in custody including prevention of self harm;
  • Trains and supervises prison staff;
  • Reports on prisoners’ conduct as necessary.
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