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Police community support officer

Police community support officers (PCSOs) work in a neighbourhood policing team to help deal with and prevent crime.

Annual Salary

£19,000 to £26,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 41 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; on shifts

Future employment

There will be 0.2% fewer Police community support officer jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

You will do a variety of work in which you could:

  • go on highly-visible foot and cycle patrols
  • offer advice on crime prevention
  • deal with anti-social behaviour alongside neighbourhood wardens and community action teams
  • talk with young people and visit schools
  • build links with businesses and community leaders
  • guard crime scenes and detain suspects until a police officer arrives
  • make house visits to reassure people and gather intelligence
  • issue fixed penalty notices
  • use social media channels, online forums and force websites to develop links with local communities
  • provide support at large public gatherings, such as sports events and public demonstrations

Working environment

You may need to wear a uniform.

You could work in the community or on a patrol.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding and outdoors in all weathers.

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

You can get into this role through a higher apprenticeship as a police community support officer.

Entry requirements

To do this apprenticeship, you'll need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
For more information
Volunteering and work experience

You'll need good communication skills, and experience of working with the public in community settings will be useful.

It may be helpful if you have experience of community work or you've volunteered as a special constable.

Police UK has more details on how you can get involved.

Direct application

You can apply to become a police community support officer and often don't need formal qualifications. 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. This will usually involve:

  • written tests
  • an interview
  • an interactive test to see how you work with other people

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

  • You will also need the right to live and work in the UK without restrictions.
  • be over 18 years of age
  • pass a fitness test
  • pass a medical check
  • pass enhanced background checks

More information

Career tips

Great value is placed on personal qualities and character, especially:the ability to remain calm under pressure; tolerance and empathy combined with firmness

Further information

You can find out more about the role of police community support officer from the College of Policing.

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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.

Many people do make being a PCSO their long-term career.

You could also use your experience to mentor and train new PCSOs.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

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
  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • knowledge of psychology
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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