Police community support officers (PCSOs) support police officers in carrying out their work. The role of the PCSO is highly varied and yet carries significant responsibility. While this guide will teach you more about how to become a PCSO in the West Mercia Police constabulary, the information will be relevant to PCSO vacancies in constabularies in your own area too.
The role of the PCSO
What to PCSOs do? PCSOs are uniformed professionals whose main role is to patrol the community. They take the time to get to know the residents and visitors of the area in which they are working. PCSOs are trained to deal with heated situations, defuse any hostility and know when to call for assistance. PCSOs may also deal with minor offenses, conduct house-to-house inquiries, gather evidence through observation and prevent crimes from occurring. PCSOs do not have the same law enforcement powers as a police officer. PCSOs can issue fixed penalty notices where anti-social behaviour is encountered. However, they cannot detain and arrest. Who is suited to the PCSO role? PCSOs must enjoy interacting with people of all ages and backgrounds. They must take pleasure in working outdoors and wish to make a difference to the community in which they will be working. Individuals aged 18 years or older can become PCSOs. Applications for PCSO jobs may be accepted prior to an individual turning 18 years of age. This is at the discretion of individual police constabularies. However, a PCSO cannot be appointed until they turn 18.
Training and working conditions
What training is required to become a PCSO? PCSOs must undertake a seven-week training programme followed by a further four-weeks training in the area in which they will be working. On completion of training, a PCSO will be provided with their own area to patrol. What are the working conditions of a PCSO? PCSOs often work shifts, including weekends. A PCSO may work independently, with another PCSO or with a trained police officer. What is the salary of a PCSO? PCSOs receive a salary of around £16,551 per year. Rates of pay will be higher for those working unsocial hours. Uniforms are provided.
Becoming a PCSO
Where are PCSO vacancies found? PCSO vacancies in the West Mercia Police Constabulary are typically advertised on the constabulary’s official website and in the local press. How can I apply to become a PCSO? PCSOs are required to complete an application form and sit a Police Initial Recruitment (PIR) test. Successful applicants will be invited to attend a competency-based interview. Candidates chosen for the job will then be asked to agree to a range of security and medical examinations. However, prospective PCSOs will not be expected to undergo a fitness test.