- Supervise people serving community and prison sentences, and help with their rehabilitation after release
- You'll need communication and people skills, patience, empathy and a non-judgmental attitude
- You could progress into a supervisory role, or train as a probation officer
As a PSO, your work would be similar to a qualified probation officer, but you'll only supervise medium and low risk offenders. You'll work in a team responsible for different areas of probation service work, like supervising offenders on community sentences, or helping them address the issues that led them to offend.
- Gathering information and interviewing offenders
- Assessing the risk an offender may pose to the public
- Preparing court reports
- Delivering individual or group programmes to challenge offending behaviour
- Helping clients get work or training, housing or drug/alcohol treatment
- Arranging and supervising community work placements for offenders
- Supervising residents living in approved accommodation
- Supporting victims of crime, providing education or employment support for prisoners in the community or before their release
- Working with other agencies like the police, drug and alcohol services, social services, and health organisations
You'll be based in community supervision teams, in courts, in prisons or at approved premises. You'll spend time visiting offenders and projects around the community.
To be a PSO, you'll need knowledge of public safety and security, patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations, excellent verbal communication skills, good initiative, thoroughness and attention to detail, leadership skills, flexibility and openness to change, and thinking and reasoning skills.
It might be helpful when applying to have taken a college course like a diploma in public services, a qualification in youth and community work, or A levels.
Each organisation sets its own entry requirements, but employers usually look for 5 GCSEs or equivalent, and experience of working with vulnerable people or people who have challenging behaviour.
You could gain more experience through volunteering or paid work, or by contacting your local community rehabilitation company for opportunities. If your application is successful, you'll train on the job, and complete the Level 3 Diploma in Probation Practice during your first 12 months to qualify.
You'll need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) You could get into this job through an advanced apprenticeship. You'll also need to be a British or Commonwealth citizen, a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) citizen, or a foreign national with the right to stay and work in the UK for an indefinite period.
With experience, you could move into a supervisory role, or train as a probation officer.