Police community support officer

Police community support officers work with the police, dealing with minor incidents and offences.

What does a police community support officer do?

The duties of a police community support officer (PCSO) would vary (depending on the needs of the police service and the local community), but they are likely to include:

  • dealing with incidents of nuisance and anti-social behaviour, such as truants, vandalism and litter
  • directing traffic and overseeing removal of vehicles
  • guarding crime scenes
  • offering advice on crime prevention
  • issuing fixed penalty notices
  • detaining someone (under certain circumstances) until a police officer arrives
  • providing support at large public gatherings, such as sports events and public demonstrations
  • gathering intelligence from the community
  • other work relating to Neighbourhood Policing and Anti-Social Behaviour Teams

You could work alone, in pairs or small teams, under the direction of the police commander in the area.

What do I need to do to become a police community support officer?

Local police services set their own entry requirements, so check with them for exact details.

In general, you do not usually need any formal qualifications to start as a PCSO. Services will be more interested in your personal qualities and character. You will need good communication skills, and experience of working with the public in community settings will be useful. You will also need the right to live and work in the UK without restrictions.

You should have a good level of fitness to cope with the demands of patrols. Services normally include a fitness endurance test and written tests as part of their selection process. In all cases, you will need to pass a medical and have full background security checks.

Some people come into this work after working as a police volunteer (special constable).

A driving licence may be required by some services.

Related skills

  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • Patience
  • Teamwork

Academic route

  • There are no formal qualifications needed to be a police community support officer.

Desirable qualifications

  • A driving licence may be required by some services.

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

You would mainly be outdoors, patrolling residential and commercial areas on foot. You may also be involved in giving talks to community groups and schools about crime prevention. You would wear a uniform and keep in contact with colleagues via a radio.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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