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Tuesday, 2 October 2023

Community Support Officers

Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) support the work of regular police officers. They patrol the streets, and can offer help to police officers at crime scenes and major events. If you want to talk to someone about crime, they can help.

What PCSOs do

PCSOs operate much like regular police officers, although their role can vary from force to force. You might meet them when they visit schools as part of an anti-crime education programme, or you might see them working at crime scenes.

Although they do not have the same powers as regular police officers, they do share many of those powers. They can, for example, issue fixed penalty notices.

Depending on where they work, PCSOs:

  • deal with minor offences
  • work closely with young people to prevent crime
  • provide support for police on the street
  • conduct house-to-house enquiries
  • guard crime scenes
  • provide crime prevention advice

Where you'll often see PCSOs

Because PCSOs work as part of neighbourhood policing teams they have a high-visibility role, and you will often encounter them walking a beat in your residential areas.

They wear distinctive uniforms, clearly marked ‘PCSO’.

Their work requires them to meet with residents, so you might receive a flyer from them through your door inviting you to neighbourhood policing meetings.

Find out more about neighbourhood policing below.

Who qualifies to be a PCSO?

People from all backgrounds, genders and ethnic groups work as community support officers. Work as a PCSO is not limited to any particular age group. In fact, many PCSOs are working in their second career, while for others it's their first job.

Still, not everybody is cut out for the work. Although PCSOs come from a wide variety of backgrounds, all of them share certain personality traits.

They all must, for example:

  • be confident, level-headed and mature
  • have experience and confidence in dealing with difficult people and complex situations
  • be sensitive, but thick-skinned
  • have good communication skills
  • have the stamina for long stretches on foot patrol

Find out more about Community Support Officers on the police recruitment website (below).

Additional links

Local crime information

Find out what's being done about crime and anti-social behaviour where you live

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