Officers working for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the UK Border Agency's Border Force control imported and exported goods, prevent banned items from entering or leaving the country, and collect a range of taxes and duties.
As a detection officer or customs officer, you would work in airports and ports to collect customs duty and prevent smuggling and illegal trade. You might:
When necessary, you would attend court as a witness, and work closely with other agencies like the police and the Home Office.
As a full-time officer you would work 36 hours a week over five days. In a border protection role you would work shifts to cover 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Job sharing or part-time work may be available.
You would be based at airports and seaports. You would also travel to attend court when necessary.
Salaries at assistant officer grade start at £15,720 a year.
Officers earn between £20,175 and £25,710 a year.
Salaries after promotion to higher officer grades are between £25,248 and £38,861 a year.
You would also receive extra allowances for working unsocial hours. People working in London will receive a higher rate of pay.
Jobs are advertised on the HMRC, UK Border Agency and Civil Service Jobs websites, in the local and national press and in Jobcentre Plus.
You would normally join as an administrative assistant or assistant officer and earn promotion to customs officer or detection officer, although recruitment directly into officer grade sometimes takes place.
To join at officer grade you are likely to need five GCSE's (A-C) including English and maths, plus two A levels or equivalent qualifications. You will typically need two GCSE's (A-C) to join HMRC as an administrative assistant, and five GCSE's (A-C) including maths and English for assistant officer jobs.
However, if you do not have these qualifications, you could instead take a selection test to prove your skills and abilities in areas like teamwork and communication. Please check the entry requirements for each vacancy.
You must also meet the Civil Service nationality requirement. All jobs are open to British nationals and many are also open to Commonwealth citizens or European Union nationals.
You would be trained on the job through a mixture of classroom-based in-house training and learning from experienced staff. Training usually lasts around nine months, and may include some residential training courses.
You will also receive ongoing training throughout your career.
You would be encouraged to identify your own training needs, as part of the civil service's appraisal and staff development programme.
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
A customs officer needs:
There is a clear promotion and grade structure within the civil service, although you may need to relocate to progress to higher grades.
UK Border Agency
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
Civil Service Jobs Online
No central telephone number for information, see website for contacts for individual departments.
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.