Police Community Support Officer

Job Description:

Police community support officers (PCSOs) work in a neighbourhood policing team to help deal with and prevent crime.

Job Category:
Government & Public Services

What you will do:

You will do a variety of work in which you could:

  • go on highly-visible foot and cycle patrols
  • offer advice on crime prevention
  • deal with anti-social behaviour alongside neighbourhood wardens and community action teams
  • talk with young people and visit schools
  • build links with businesses and community leaders
  • guard crime scenes and detain suspects until a police officer arrives
  • make house visits to reassure people and gather intelligence
  • issue fixed penalty notices
  • use social media channels, online forums and force websites to develop links with local communities
  • provide support at large public gatherings, such as sports events and public demonstrations


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • excellent verbal communication skills (teamwork skills)
  • customer service skills
  • negotiation skills
  • active listening skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • leadership skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) in the United Kingdom, there are no specific subject requirements. However, you will need to meet certain eligibility criteria and pass the application process, which may include an assessment centre, interview, and background check. While there are no specific subject requirements, having a good general education can be beneficial in preparing for a career in law enforcement. Here are some suggested subjects and skills that can be helpful:

  1. English: Strong communication skills, both written and verbal, are essential for any role in law enforcement. You’ll need to write reports, interact with the public, and communicate effectively with colleagues.
  2. Mathematics: Basic mathematical skills are important for tasks such as handling evidence, documenting incidents, and understanding legal procedures.
  3. Physical Education (PE): Physical fitness is crucial for police work. Participating in PE and maintaining good physical health can prepare you for the physical demands of the job.
  4. Citizenship: Some schools offer courses in citizenship, which can provide an understanding of the legal and ethical aspects of policing.
  5. IT Skills: Proficiency in using computers and technology is increasingly important in modern policing. Familiarity with IT can be an asset.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • volunteering
  • applying directly


You can get into this role through a higher apprenticeship as a police community support officer.


You’ll need good communication skills, and experience of working with the public in community settings will be useful.

It may be helpful if you have experience of community work or you’ve volunteered as a special constable.

Direct Application

You can apply to become a police community support officer and often don’t need formal qualifications. Employers will be more interested in your personal qualities and character.

You’ll need a good level of spoken and written English.

Each police force has its own selection process. This will usually involve:

  •  written tests
  • an interview
  • an interactive test to see how you work with other people

Career tips

Great value is placed on personal qualities and character, especially:

  • the ability to remain calm under pressure
  • tolerance and empathy combined with firmness

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 37-41 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends/bank holidays on shifts.

You could work in the community or on a patrol. Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding and outdoors in all weathers. You may need to wear a uniform.

Career Path & Progression:

There is no formal route from PCSO to police officer, but the training and experience you gain could help you if you want to move into this role.

Many people do make being a PCSO their long-term career.

You could also use your experience to mentor and train new PCSOs.