Police community support officer

Alternative titles for this job include PCSO, community support officer, CSO

Police community support officers (PCSOs) work in a neighbourhood policing team dealing with minor offences and crime prevention.

Average salary (a year)

£17,500 Starter


£23,250 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become a police community support officer

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

More information

Volunteering and 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

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.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

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
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

You will also need the right to live and work in the UK without restrictions.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your work will vary 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, such as sports events and public demonstrations

Working environment

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.

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.

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

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a police community support officer right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Public Services

  • Start date: 01 September 2020
  • Location: Hucknall

Public Services

  • Start date: 01 September 2020
  • Location: Heanor

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