What's it like to do the job?

Find out what it's really like to be a police community support officer.

Work as a police community support officer (PCSO) can be very exciting, as each day brings new challenges. You will be involved in the fight against a range of crime and disorder problems.

Just some of the tasks you might encounter on any given day are:

  • contributing to the regeneration of local communities
  • increasing public safety
  • dealing with truants, graffiti, abandoned vehicles, litter, missing persons enquiries
  • helping to support crime victims
  • controlling crowds at major events, such as football games or concerts.

The early intervention of PCSOs can often deter people from committing offences, and certainly stops minor problems getting worse.

What is the difference between a PCSO and a police officer?

PCSOs do not have powers of arrest, cannot interview or process prisoners, cannot investigate crime and do not carry out the more complex and high-risk tasks that police officers perform.

You must be good on your feet

PCSOs spend much of their time on foot patrol, and are a visible, anti-crime presence in communities throughout England and Wales. Because they are so visible, members of the public feel comfortable approaching them with questions or worries about anti-social behaviour or crime.

You must be able to communicate effectively and calmly in difficult situations, and to offer comfort and reassurance to the public in order to succeed as a PCSO.

Lots of responsibility

Work as a PCSO is demanding, and brings with it a great deal of responsibility. Depending on the rules of the force with which you work, you may be given considerable police powers. You could, for example:

  • detain someone until a constable arrives
  • direct traffic and remove vehicles
  • issue fixed penalty notices for anti-social behaviour.