PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers) are an important link between local communities and law enforcement. They offer a visible, friendly, and accessible uniformed presence in the community to provide comfort, diffuse conflict situations, boost confidence and trust, gather information, and foster positive community relations.
This function provides unique PCSO legal enforcement capabilities based on local Force criteria to help with the successful resolution, prevention, and deterrent of local crime. PCSOs must also respond to a greater range of non-criminal issues contributing to community vulnerability and safety.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- 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.
- Starting salaries for an apprentice is £19,000 per year.
- Experienced PCSOs can earn up to £26,000 per year.
You will typically work 37 to 41 hours per week. Working evenings, weekends, bank holidays on shifts
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 may need to wear a uniform.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice PCSO include:
- Level 4 Police Community Support Officer – Entry requirements for this level include 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship. This qualification will take 12 months to complete.
On a PCSO apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- 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
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device.
Career path and progression
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.