Adults reminisce on their childhood dream jobs – with police officer topping the list

Research of 3,400 working adults across England and Wales found one in five (21 per cent) once had childhood ambitions of becoming a police officer.

With being a teacher (17 per cent), a vet (12 per cent) and a singer (11 per cent) also featuring on the list of childhood dream jobs.

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Over a third of those polled (38 per cent) did not pursue the job they dreamed of as a child – with 39 per cent saying they often regret their decision.

When asked their top reasons for wanting to be a police officer, answers included a desire to reduce crime (39 per cent), wanting to be proud of their work (35 per cent) and wanting to make a difference in the community (35 per cent).

The research - which was carried out by Opinion Matters for the Government’s ‘Be The Difference’ police recruitment campaign - also found that around a third (32 per cent) said they’re considering a job change in the next 12 months.

Many adults are considering a job change within the next year

Abdul Rahmaan, a 21-year-old Constable at West Yorkshire Police said: “I’ve always wanted to be a police officer – when I was in reception at school there was a dress up corner with costumes for doctors, chefs and police officers.

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“Every single time I would run right over to the police section.

“My interest for it really grew through doing voluntary work in my local community as a teenager, so as soon as I could apply, I did.

“Deciding to train to become a police officer is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It means more than just a job – there is a real sense of comradery with my colleagues and I can make a difference in the communities I serve.

“Of course, some parts of policing can be challenging at times, but by focusing on serving the general public, I know I can play my part in having a positive impact on my community, which feels incredibly rewarding.

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“Being a police officer is much more than ‘locking up the bad guys’, the role is vast and varies day to day. I particularly enjoy going to jobs where I can use a range of skills, such as cases involving mental health issues where people are struggling and I can help get them the support they need.

“I’d encourage anyone who – at any age – has dreamt about becoming a police officer to find out about applying and realise their police potential."

Career coach, Alice Stapleton said: “The last few years have proved to be a time of considerable personal growth for many. People’s values and motivations have changed since the pandemic, so it’s no surprise that so many people, especially in the early working life of their 20s and 30s, are considering a career change.

“It’s been my experience and a recurring theme that an increased number of individuals are seeking to move into more meaningful and purposeful work.

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“Sometimes this is also going back to basics, to think about the kinds of jobs they could see themselves doing, but don’t know how to make these career dreams a reality.

“As more people seek work that better matches the values that now drive them, it’s clear to see why many would consider joining the police. It’s a role that ticks the boxes of positive rewards and the opportunity to make a difference, that people are searching for.”

To find out more about becoming a police officer, visit