FROM now until January 31, Lancashire Police will open the recruitment window for police constables.

Working as a police officer is said to be an "incredibly rewarding role", where no two shifts are the same and protecting vulnerable people and bringing offenders to justice is the core of our day-to-day. With both routes opening up for prospective students, it gives those with and without a degree the opportunity to apply.

Applicants will need to have a minimum of a Level 3 qualification for the PCDA - a three-year programme where you can study for a degree whilst training on the job.

If you hold a degree, or a level 6 degree equivalent or are expected to acquire this before you receive a formal job offer, you can apply via the DHEP route.

Successful applicants on this pathway will then spend two years learning on the job, while studying for a Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice.

There are two avenues available for the DHEP – the uniformed, and detective route.

Both choices will see student officers spend their first year on the response team, learning the job on the front line.

Those who then choose the detective route will spend their second year attached to the investigation portfolio, whilst uniform continue in response.

The detective route is only available on the DHEP pathway at this time, but those who successfully complete their probation on the PCDA will be eligible for career progression into the investigative world, if they wish.

PC Umar Ijaz works in Blackburn with Darwen and also covers Hyndburn, attached to one of five immediate response teams who brief out of Greenbank, working on a shift rota.

His role means he responds to 999 calls assigned to him, supporting in the search for missing people, and holds a number of investigations and liaising with victims of crime – among other things.

PC Ijaz said: "The job is one like no other, and it really is walking into something different every day. Each area we police is really different and has different needs from us as a service, but it’s a really rewarding role.

"Did I always want to be a police officer? Honestly, I thought I'd end up being a Solicitor. I did actually spend a year working in a Solicitor's office once I graduated from university, but while I was studying I worked as a part-time PCSO, so the job was always in the back of my mind. I don't regret changing career - I really do enjoy my job.

"Obviously, it’s not all putting bad people in jail and blue light runs – it can be a really challenging role, and those who apply do need to come in with their eyes open. We run towards danger when others are running away, you’ll deal with violent offenders, victims of sexual offences and sudden deaths.

"Shifts can be taken up supporting our colleagues in the NHS with bed watch, or standing guard of a crime scene in the rain while CSI gather evidence, but when we make arrests, charge and bring people before the courts and justice is served, there is a level of personal satisfaction that you had a part in safeguarding victims.

"We come to work every day to look after people, and make a positive difference to our communities. Sometimes that requires us to stay on late, but you have an amazing team around you and we all support one another. You’ll get a lot of job satisfaction and it’s incredibly rewarding as a vocation."

When asked about what makes a good police officer, PC Ijaz agreed that no one size fits all.

He said: "Everyone in the team I'm on brings different skills to the table. We have officers who have different language capabilities which helps if there's a language barrier with someone, whereas others are good to have there if you need some physical support - but the one tool we all find beneficial, is good communication.

"Your voice is the best tool you have in the box, and being able to talk to people and defuse situations without even needing to get physically involved benefits everyone.

"I’d encourage anyone who is interested in a role with us, whether that’s as a PC, a PCSO or Police Staff to have a chat with us if you see us out and about."