- Work alongside the police and deal with minor incidents and offences
- You'll need communication and listening skills, the ability to make decisions under pressure and to record information accurately
- You will mostly be outdoors, patrolling residential and commercial areas, and could give talks to community groups and schools about crime prevention
As a community support officer, you could work alone, in pairs or in small teams.
Your work could vary a lot from one day to another, but will usually include:
- Going on highly-visible foot and cycle patrols
- Offering advice on crime prevention
- Dealing with anti-social behaviour alongside neighbourhood wardens and community action teams
- Talking with young people and visiting schools
- Building links with businesses and community leaders
- Guarding crime scenes and detaining suspects until a police officer arrives
- Making house visits to reassure people and gather intelligence
- Issuing fixed penalty notices
- Providing support at large public gatherings like sports events and public demonstrations
You will mostly be outdoors, patrolling residential and commercial areas.
For this role, you'll need excellent verbal communication skills, active listening skills, knowledge of public safety and security, customer service skills, patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations, leadership skills, negotiation skills, and legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations.
You can get into this role through a higher apprenticeship as a police community support officer.
Direct application is possible, as employers will be more interested in your personal qualities and character. You'll need a good level of spoken and written English, so some police forces may ask for English GCSE at grade 4 (C).
Each police force has its own selection process, usually involving written tests, an interview, and an interactive test to see how you work with other people. Emphasis is placed upon the ability to remain calm under pressure, as well as tolerance and empathy combined with firmness.
It may also be helpful if you have experience of working with the public in community settings, or have volunteered as a special constable.
You'll also need to be 18 or over, have a driving licence, and pass a fitness test, medical check and enhanced background checks. You'll also need the right to live and work in the UK without restrictions.
There is no formal route from PCSO to police officer, but the training and experience you gain could help you if you want to move into this role. You could also use your experience to mentor and train new PCSOs.