Roads policing career pathway

Career stories, available roles, progression and working environment.

Often referred to as 'traffic', roads policing is the term used to describe the job family that are responsible for policing the road network.

Career stories

Entry into roads policing

Possible entry routes

Roads policing constable is a role often filled by experienced constables from other uniformed roles, such as response or neighbourhood policing. 

Often, these officers have demonstrated an ability to police the local road network and have developed skills and knowledge surrounding the road traffic act and other key legislation.

Normally, constables will have had some driver training through a standard driving course and possibly an initial phase pursuit course.

Once appointed, constables are likely to develop their driving skills through an advanced driving course and tactical pursuit and containment (TPAC). 

Constables will also experience on-the-job training in road traffic legislation and formal training in vehicle construction and use for many types of vehicles. 

Roads policing constables will also develop key investigation skills through responding to and investigating some road traffic collisions.

Intelligence gathering skills are also developed, especially around the use of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology.

The role

Each police force will often work slightly differently, but generally roads policing teams are made up of constables who are supervised by a roads policing sergeant. 

Usually, an inspector oversees roads policing as part of a wider set of responsibilities, although in some larger cities this may be a higher-ranking officer.

Sergeants and inspectors will likely follow an in-force promotions process that will see them posted into various roles across policing.

Following this process, these leaders could move into the role of a roads policing sergeant or inspector.

In-role training

  • collision investigation
  • vehicle construction and use
  • vehicle prohibition (PG9)
  • general traffic legislation
  • advanced driving
  • VIP driver
  • officer safety
  • TPAC (pursuits)
  • pursuit tactical advisor
  • communication
  • Taser
  • hazmat legislation
  • commercial vehicle legislation
  • intelligence

Other training

  • tutor constable 
  • family liaison 
  • standard motorcycle 
  • advanced motorcycle

Specialist roles

  • special escort driver
  • special escort motorcyclist
  • road crime team officer

Progression

Roads policing is multifaceted and there are opportunities to progress within rank. 

Many forces will have specialisms within the roads policing area, such as a road crime team who specialise in recovering stolen vehicles and the associated targeting offenders.

Some forces will also have dedicated road safety and/or motorway teams that again will have a specialist skillset for the role they are performing. 

In larger forces, there may be specific roles for family liaison officers, yet in most this will be another 'bolt on' to the role of a roads policing officer.

It is likely that constables will have some experience from other job families before starting. 

If you are looking at progressing through the ranks, you should read the national police promotions framework (NPPF) information

It may not be possible to progress through the ranks within a particular job family, as forces may assign newly promoted individuals or those in acting posts, in line with organisational need.

Fast track

The fast track programme for serving constables is a development programme and promotion mechanism to enable the most talented serving police constables to advance to the rank of inspector within two years.

    Exit routes