Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs)

The role of a PCSO

Are you keen to give something back to the local community? Do you want to provide a high profile, visible presence within Cheshire? Could you see yourself defusing the fear of crime, keeping people safe from harm and increasing community trust and confidence in Cheshire Constabulary?

If yes, a Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) could be the ideal role for you!

PCSO’s are crucial to the success of our approach to neighbourhood policing and are a vital link between the local communities we serve and police. This rewarding career offers an opportunity to play a pivotal role in those communities and join a unique profession where you can really make a difference.

PCSOs work at the heart of the community, operating as part of a team alongside police officers, to offer a visible and reassuring presence to the streets.

The role of a PCSO is both a varied and a demanding one. Each day brings new challenges, from engaging with the community to dealing with anti-social behavior, PCSOs will provide support to the frontline. It is essential that you have the drive and desire to make a difference.

As a PCSO, one of your key activities will be to engage with the local community to provide reassurance and to work with the local community to tackle issues of local concern.

As a PCSO you will:

  • Deal constantly with members of the public
  • Build links with employers and business and community leaders
  • Deal with nuisance offences such as street drinking or begging
  • Be given some limited powers suited to your role.

As a PCSO you will not:

  • Have powers of arrest
  • Be able to interview or deal with prisoners
  • Investigate serious crime
  • Carry out the more complex and high-risk tasks that Police Officers perform.

Other activities you could be involved with:

  • Dealing with minor offences and protecting crime scenes until police officers arrive
  • Providing a visible presence within the community by conducting patrols
  • Offering early intervention to deter people from committing offences
  • Providing support for front-line policing
  • Providing crime prevention advice
  • Liaising with key people in the community, such as religious and business leaders
  • Collecting CCTV evidence
  • Providing low-level crime prevention and personal safety advice
  • Carrying out low-level missing person enquiries
  • Acting as professional witness, attending court when needed
  • Supporting crime prevention
  • Engaging with young people
  • Interacting with schools.

Although PCSOs do not have the same powers as regular police officers, they still carry a lot of responsibility, and play a critical role in reducing crime.

A PCSO will need to communicate effectively and calmly in difficult situations.  

All Cheshire PCSOs are fully trained and equipped. There is an initial seven weeks training programme followed by five weeks of tutoring in the workplace. After this training period is complete you will be required to patrol alone.

Find out more information on becoming a PCSO.

There are four steps that you need to complete successfully in order to become a PCSO:

  • Complete the application form
  • Attend an assessment centre –where you will undergo a series of exercises designed to test the key skills you will need in the role of the PCSO. You will also undergo a physical fitness test.
  • Attend an interview
  • Complete medical, vetting & reference checks

Application form

The first section of the application form is based upon your eligibility for the role.

The second and most important part is the competency-based assessment. This can be found on the Skills for Justice website.

The competency assessment section of the application form asks you to provide three specific examples from your recent past, of situations you have encountered.

The application must be all your own work.

The assessment centre

If your application passes the first assessment, we will invite you to the second stage of the recruitment process, a half day assessment centre.

The assessment centre will involve:

  • Various assessments
  • Team problem solving scenario

The assessment centre will also include the physical fitness test.

The physical fitness test is a shuttle run over a 15 metre area and you will run in time with a bleep.

The required pass mark for the fitness test is level 5.4 this equates to approximately 3 minutes and 34 seconds of running.

The interview

If you are successful at the assessment centre, you will be invited to an in force interview. The interview panel will be made up of an operational police officers as well as a member of staff. The interview will be a series of competency based questions and will last for no longer than one hour.

Questions will be based on the national personal qualities for a PCSO.

Medical, vetting and reference checks

If you perform well at the second part of the recruitment process, you will be recommended for appointment subject to references and passing security, vetting and medical checks.

  •  Medical
    • Signed GP statement (fees payable by applicant)
    • Opticians
    • Occupational health (medical appointment)
  • Drug screening test
  • Biometrics (fingerprints & DNA)
  • Final vetting/security checks/references

Our commitment to Equal Opportunities

Cheshire Constabulary is an equal opportunities employer and wants to have a workforce representative of the communities that we police and serve.

As an employer, we strive to ensure that all our personnel practices, including recruitment, promotion and development are applied consistently and fairly and that the overriding principle governing selection is merit.

We are not fully representative yet and we are addressing this imbalance through a variety of initiatives and by ensuring the conduct and behaviour of our staff is beyond reproach.

Find out more about our commitment to equal opportunities.

Peter Dean has been a PSCO with Cheshire Constabulary for the past seven years. 

Throughout his time with the force he has forged strong links with the communities of Crewe. He has helped support vulnerable individuals, engaged with young people at the local YMCA and contributes time as a primary school governor. He uses his experience to tutor new PCSOs and is a respected and valued team member. A visible presence in his beat area, Peter has the trust of the community, whose members have provided information for over 100 intelligence reports, resulting in numerous positive results for the local policing unit.

Peter’s commitment to the ‘We’re Here’ pillars of policing in Cheshire was recognised when received the accolade of PCSO of the Year at the 2016 ACE (Achieving Cheshire Excellence) Awards.

On receiving his award, Peter (pictured second from left) said: “I was shocked to be nominated and even more so to win the award of PCSO of the Year.  Whilst it is great to be recognised for the work I carry out within my given community recognition must also be given to both my Beat Manager and Supervision Team for the support they have offered.  Hopefully, with the help of the community, we can continue to have a positive impact on those involved with drugs and ASB to make Crewe South an even better place to live.”

What is the difference between a PCSO and a PC?

PCSOs do not have powers of arrest, cannot interview or deal with prisoners, can only investigate minor offences and do not carry out the more complex and high-risk tasks that police officers perform.

What is my salary?

The current salary for a PCSO is a scale 4 £19,521-£21,618. You may also be eligible for a shift allowance or weekend working enhancements, depending on your working pattern.

What will my training involve?

You will undertake a comprehensive training program in the classroom and then receive tutoring in your workplace. There is a probationary period of six months following your initial seven weeks of training.

Before PCSOs take to the streets they undergo a seven week training course. It focuses on giving recruits the skills and knowledge they will need including; learning about the law and criminal justice system in England and Wales, road safety, the confiscation of alcohol and tobacco, first aid, data protection and problem solving to tackle long term community issues.

Following classroom training, new PCSOs then spend the following five weeks shadowing experienced officers. In addition, specific training days are incorporated into the shift pattern, enabling training needs to be addressed regularly in line with changes to legislation and Force policies.

Preparing a PCSO for life on the beat begins in the classroom, but previous experience of dealing with the public and the day to day experience of the role itself are just as valuable to new recruits. Life skills form an important part of doing this role. Knowing how to talk to people and communicate effectively really helps and the tutoring helps to build on the training.

What equipment will I use?

You will have a radio, first aid kit, torch and protective vest. As PCSOs do not carry out potentially confrontational duties, you won’t have handcuffs, batons or incapacitant sprays.

Will I have the power of arrest?

PCSOs do not have the power of arrest. In certain circumstances you may be given the power to require someone to remain with you for up to 30 minutes pending the arrival of a police officer, but this is not a power of arrest. 

What are the hours of work?

Your normal working week is 37 hours, as agreed within a shift pattern, which will be arranged and agreed with your manager. PCSOs are usually required to work between the hours of 7am and midnight over seven days.

What are the annual leave entitlements?

Your annual leave entitlement will be equivalent to 22 working days plus eight public holidays based on an average working week of 37 hours.

  • Staff with five years of continuous service receive 27 days leave
  • Staff with ten years of continuous service receive 30 days leave

The leave period is from 1 April to 31 March.

Can I work part-time?

PCSOs like all other staff in Cheshire Constabulary have a right to request part-time or flexible working after all mandatory training has been completed.

Can I have any previous convictions or caution?

A number of crimes will mean a definite or likely rejection of your application, including anyone who has received a formal caution in the last five years, committed a violent crime or public order offence. Convictions for racially motivated and homophobic offenses and dishonesty and serious drugs and dangerous driving offenses will also most likely lead to a rejection.

Is there a minimum height requirement?

There are no restrictions on height. We do however consider your height and weight ratio at the physical fitness assessment.

Is it ok if I have a tattoo?

Tattoos are not a bar to appointment. However, some tattoos could potentially offend members of the public or colleagues, or could bring discredit to the police service. It depends on their size, nature and location, and sometimes on the extent. If you have tattoos on your face, neck, forearms or hands, you must indicate their location and provide at least two photographs of each tattoo. Tattoos are not acceptable if they:

  • Could cause offence to members of the public or colleague and/ or invite provocation
  • Are garish, numerous or particularly prominent
  • Indicate unacceptable attitudes towards women, minority groups or any other section of the community
  • Indicate alignment with a particular group that could give offence to members of the public or colleagues
  • Are considered to be discriminatory, rude, lewd, crude, racist, sexist, sectarian, homophobic, violent or intimidating.

Do I have to be a British Citizen?

Applicants must either be British citizens, EC/EEA nationals, Commonwealth citizens, or foreign nationals with indefinite leave to remain in the UK will be accepted.

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FURTHER INFORMATION

For more information on the recruitment process please email mfss.resourcing@cheshire.pnn.police.uk stating the force in which you are interested in joining.