Custody and Detention Officer – Level 3 Apprenticeship

Job Overview


To work in custody and detention is to ensure that individuals are held in a secure, safe decent and fair environment and work as part of a team to ensure that the safety of everyone in custody and detention centres is a priority.

You will operate in a secure environment such as Prisons, Detention Centres, Custodial Establishments and Custodial Services are unique and often challenging places to work. The environment could vary from a Women’s unit or treatment prison to a male resettlement prison.

The people in your care will have a variety of different needs and display varied It is your role to work to ensure those individuals are treated with dignity and respect and helped to find a new way of life whilst maintaining a safe, secure and structured environment. These environments rely and operate on a routine, which you’ll need to be part of, however, they can often be volatile challenging places to work and officers must be able and agile enough to respond quickly to a variety of incidents whilst maintaining professional standards throughout.

You will also play a key role in the rehabilitation of those in your care, acting to build commitment to change to reduce reoffending and to coach people in skills such as problem-solving and management of emotions. You will be expected to positively influence the lives of those in your care, by working with them on a daily basis in ensuring they take responsibility for their actions and welfare. This may include maintaining links with their families, addressing offending behaviours which may have contributed to their situation and seeking a positive resolution to circumstances that will affect their re-integration into society.

Officers are frontline staff who have a duty to enforce and uphold legal decisions and follow process and procedure with integrity, honesty and professionalism. Roles in this environment will involve working a variety of shifts 365 days a year including evenings, nights, weekends and holiday periods. Examples of roles in this sector are Prison Officer, Custodial Officer, Detention Officer and Escorting Officer.


As a Custody and Detention officer you must demonstrate an understanding of:

  • The tasks and responsibilities of the role such as keeping individuals secure, preparing them for release, authorised physical control and restraint. Including how that is relevant to the context in which you are working, how it fits within the organisation and how it interacts with other relevant organisations and agencies such as the NHS and Police
  • Policies and procedures relevant to the custodial environment in which you are working and how to operate these within the remit of your role
  • The key and critical aspects of security, how they contribute to the overall security of the establishment and wider service
  • The causes of crime, and how you can help people turn their lives around
  • The importance of having and demonstrating the values and behaviours that keep custodial environments safe and enable the people in them to concentrate on rehabilitation
  • Rights and responsibilities of those in custodial care or detention
  • Recognise and understand the impact of mental health issues on individuals and be able to access support as appropriate. An example of this would be sign posting effective support services, which may assist in the prevention of self-harm by others
  • The importance of caring for vulnerable people who are at risk of self-harm or violence using recognised procedures and good interpersonal skills
  • How you recognise the signs of substance misuse and its impact on individuals and be able to access support as appropriate
  • The key principles and theories of violence reduction
  • Understand the behaviour patterns of an individual during
  • The importance of good communications, the use of different communication styles and knowing when to use them. An example of this might be how you motivate individuals to take part in organised activities to address offending behaviour
  • Understand health and safety procedures and how to reduce the risk of harm or injury to yourself, your colleagues and those is your care by using the positive risk management processes
  • How to search individuals, vehicles and buildings in the custodial setting

For more information on the apprenticeship please visit the Institute of Apprenticeships


Apprentice’s must be over 18 due to legal restrictions

The Apprentice must already hold a level 2 qualification in literacy and numeracy or achieve it by prior to gateway assessment

Industry specific requirements: Apprentices must attain the Ministry of Justice Commissioners license to practice prior to gateway assessment


On completion of this course, you can progress onto further study in this field or into a career in the public services sector.

Only candidates can apply for this job.
Share this job
Company Information