Career change from police officer


I have worked in the police now for almost 10 years but would like to leave. My most recent role has been in an L&D environment but still as a frontline officer.

Most of the roles that I am finding an interest in require a CIPD qualification.

Does anyone have any advice on where to start as I am worried about paying a lot of money into a career that I could later decide isn't for me.

I have very little experience outside of the police so it is quite a daunting thought to leave and I ideally don't want to drop my salary too much.

  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    15 Jan, 2024 10:48

    Thanks for posting , and welcome to our Community.

    We've had many posts over the years from those who have transitioned into HR (or L&D) from the armed forces, from teaching, and so on. I can't easily recall a discussion about moving from a police role... but I'm hoping that someone will pop on here to offer some advice. 

  • Well, you're unlikely to find anyone on a CIPD forum who will tell you not to get CIPD qualifications. But I can tell you that they are rarely a waste of money. Some of the best managers I've worked with have been those with CIPD qualifications even though they don't work in HR. It gives them a grounding in the core principles of management practice that stands them in excellent stead regardless of where they work or what they do.

    More non-HR people with CIPD qualifications will only be a boon.

    In your case, though, the question is whether you want to work in L&D. I often counsel people moving out of line management or finance into HR who think they have a decent grasp of HR practice because of their exposure to payroll, policy or Employee Relations casework. They think the transition to HR ought to be easy. It rarely is because their exposure is only surface level. They know how to read the clock, but have no idea how the gears fit together. So when the clock breaks, they are at a loss.

    It is much the same in L&D, but it's less like a clock and more like poetry. You may be able to recite a poem fluently from memory, but do you understand the subtle interplay of rhyme and metre that cause the words to impact the reader so much deeper than the words alone can achieve? If not, then whilst you may be an excellent presenter of information, you can't work as an L&D professional.

    The CIPD qualifications aim to provide not necessarily that core knowledge but, at least, the tools to be able to pick through an organisation's policies, culture, resources and people to be able to begin assembling the knowledge from which effective L&D solutions are built.

    I've known a few ex-coppers who transitioned into HR. Once they adjusted their perspective to stop seeing all employees as potential offenders, they did pretty well.
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    15 Jan, 2024 10:59

    In reply to Robey:

    Thanks,  ... I hoped you'd see this Slight smile

  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    15 Jan, 2024 11:14

    In reply to Steve Bridger:

    Bradley, I've been reminded of this page on the CIPD website.


    A few other discussions, e.g. 

     Mid-Career Transition To HR 

  • Thank you for the replies.

    I don't want to work in L&D at least not in any sort of training role. My current position is supporting student officers once they have finished their formal training, regarding welfare/performance.

    In no way do I believe that that means I have the right experience though, it is just something that I have enjoyed.

    How intense is the training for a level 3 CIPD and can that be done alongside my current role before getting into a role that would require it?
  • In reply to Bradley:

    Level 3 would be a bit like doing an extra GCSE alongside everything else. Very few roles will *require* a Level 3, as it's an entry-level qualification. Typically people will undertake the qualification while doing an entry-level role. However, as you are leaving the Force to enter conventional employment it would probably be a good idea to get the qualification under your belt first, if you can. It will show a commitment to the transition that may help to reassure potential employers that you're more than the average plod.

    Depending on your current level of academic achievement and rank, you may prefer to consider doing a Level 5 (a bit harder than doing an A Level). This won't alter the kind of entry-level roles you're likely to be qualified for, but it may accelerate your ability to move up to something more commensurate with your experience.
  • The easiest and cheapest way to find out if moving to a new professional area is right for you is to simply try and speak to as many professionals in that area as possible. This could be via LinkedIn, local CIPD branch etc.

    It might cost you the price of a few phone calls or coffees but having a chat with a wide range of HR people will give you a good idea if HR is for you.
  • Hi Bradley, have you considered coaching? Given your comment about supporting officers perhaps that might be a more appropriate route to pursue ....?? Just a thought.
  • Bradley, you've got some great pointers/ advice from Robey and Steve above. I'd also echo Steven's comments about CIPD events, meet ups in the HR space and coffees with people in your network who work in HR or Learning or the people space and gather intelligence that way. There are lots of great books on the formal elements of the profession too and short courses as well as 'free content' the trouble with that is it takes time and you might go down rabbit holes with low quality content.

    I did a formal qualification quite a bit into the start of my career. I moved from managing projects and doing many HR and Learning elements in my job before moving formally into the function. I've done a number of short courses and the CIPD qualification.

    Before moving careers, I got a coach and they helped me to think about my transferable skills, how to map my path - we are all starting from a different point- and also how to position my experience on my CV and public profiles. It helped enormously and confirmed it was the right thing for me. A combination of things are likely to lead you to decide what you want to do and how to get there.

  • Sorry if I have missed something here but assuming your interest is in HR or L&D is there no way that you can ask your current employer about opportunities within the organisation within the relevant department? Can you for example ask about the potential for a secondment if an opportunity arises that aligns with your career aspirations?