What To Study To Become A Police Officer

If you are looking to protect and serve your community through being a police offer and you're wondering what you need to study in order to do so, then keep reading. 

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Police officers are often looked up to as the heroes of communities and many people aspire to be in this position. This career path requires a lot of commitment, quick thinking skills and good communication skills. 

If you are looking to apply to become a police officer then you should know that you do not have to obtain a diploma or degree but you must have passed matric with the compulsory languages and mathematics or mathematical literacy. 

The South African Police Service (SAPS) usually advertises trials in the newspapers and on its site throughout the year. 

The requirements which applicants must satisfy are the following: 

  • You must be a South African citizen 
  • You must be at least 18 years old but under the age of 30 years old
  • You must have a valid driver's license 
  • You must not have a criminal record
  • You must be fluent in English and at least one other official language. 

Once applicants are chosen for trials, they will undergo training which lasts for six-months and takes place at one of the SAPS training colleges around South Africa either in Bishop Lavis, Wentworth, Pretoria or Hammanskraal. 

Graduates will then have a training period of approximately three months. 

Since police officers work within the justice system they are tasked to prevent, investigate and fight crime in society. 

Police officers are often required to deal with tense and dangerous situations in which they must be able to control their emotions and regulate the situation. This requires them to be physically and mentally fit. 

They operate within murder scenes, drug busts, robberies and civilian incidences. They also often work unconventional shifts which can be 12 hours long during the day or the night. 

Those who are newly recruited or considered for appointment to SAPS as a police officer will be subjected to an integrity test before appointment, this is according to the draft bill published by the Police Minister, Bheki Cele. 

This test may entail the following: 

  • The taking of fingerprints;
  • Taking a buccal sample (cheek swab) to be analysed for a DNA profile;
  • A polygraph test (a lie detector test);
  • Financial disclosures;
  • Disclosure of income and expenses;
  • Membership of entities such as boards, directorships and institutions;
  • Determination of contracts with the state.

This test would verify whether a candidate is honest and dependable and no person under consideration will be able to be appointed in SAPS unless they have successfully completed it. 

There is always a need for police officers so this is a great career path to consider. 

View the SAPS website for more information. 

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