Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs)
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 Officer (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 behaviour, 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 five-week training programme followed by five weeks of tutoring in the workplace. After this training period is complete you will be required to patrol alone.
There are four steps that you need to complete successfully in order to become a PCSO:
- complete the application form
- online psychometric testing, prior to interview if your application is successful
- attend an interview and deliver a pre-prepared presentation
- complete medical, vetting, reference checks and drugs, biometrics and fitness tests
The application form requires you to evidence your qualifications, experience, knowledge/skills/abilities and any special requirements against the role profile/job description and the competencies and values framework.
You will need to give full, clear, specific and demonstrable examples of how you meet the criteria.
The application must be all your own work.
If you are successful at the application stage, you will be invited to an in force interview. The interview panel will be made up of an operational police officer as well as a member of staff. The interview will be a series of questions based on the Competencies and Values framework and will last for no longer than one hour.
Questions are Assessed to Level 1 of the National Competency and Value Framework. There will also be a requirement to present a 5 minute presentation, on a topic that you will be provided prior to the day of interview.
The interview will either take place via Skype or at Cheshire Constabulary Headquarters.
Medical, vetting and reference checks
If you perform well at the interview stage of the recruitment process, you will be recommended for appointment subject to references and passing security, vetting and medical checks.
- signed GP statement (fees payable by applicant)
- occupational health (medical appointment)
- drug screening test
- biometrics (fingerprints & DNA)
- final vetting/security checks/references
- 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
Cheshire Constabulary is fully supportive of equality and diversity and strives to employ a workforce which representative of the community it serves. Applicants are welcomed from all underrepresented groups and support will be made available throughout the recruitment process for all applicants. Under–represented groups include:
- those from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background including non-visible ethnic minorities such as Czech, Slovak, Polish and Gypsy/Travellers
- individuals from the LGBT+ community
- people with disabilities
- all other characteristics protected by the Equality Act 2010
If you have any queries in relation to equality and diversity, or have a request for any additional support you may need, please email our Diversity, Equality and Inclusion team.
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.
You will undertake a comprehensive training program in the classroom and then receive tutoring in your workplace. There is a probationary period of seven months.
Before PCSOs take to the streets they undergo a five-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 before carrying out five weeks of independent patrol. PCSOs then return to the classroom for an additional weeks training, sharing problem solving ideas and studying more complex social issues. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eligibility: convictions or cautions
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.
Minimum height requirement
There are no restrictions on height. We do however consider your height and weight ratio at the physical fitness assessment.
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
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.
You must have lived in the UK for three continuous years immediately prior to application.
For more information, email us.
Cheshire Constabulary is not currently accepting applications for this role.