A career as a police PCSO

If you can communicate well, make difficult decisions and would like to help keep law and order in the local community, this job could be perfect for you.

As a police community support officer (PCSO) you would work alongside the police, patrolling the local area, dealing with minor incidents and offences.

You would provide assistance to the police and a visible presence in the area to reassure the public.

In this job you would need to keep calm under pressure, need tolerance and empathy and need to be assertive and able to act quickly.

Local police forces set their own entry requirements. You would need to have a permanent right to remain without restriction in the UK, and you would need to pass security and reference checks.

Your duties would vary but they are likely to include: dealing with incidents of nuisance and anti-social behaviour such as truancy, vandalism and litter, directing traffic and having vehicles removed, guarding crime scenes, offering advice on crime prevention, issuing fixed penalty notices for anti-social behaviour, detaining suspects until a police officer arrives, providing support at large public gatherings such as sports events and public demonstrations.

You could work alone, in pairs or small teams, under the direction of the police commander in your area.

You would typically work shifts, including weekends and bank holidays. Shifts usually cover the hours between 8am and midnight, however, some forces use a shift rota covering 24 hours a day. Part-time work may be available.

Starting salaries can be around £16,000 a year. With experience, this can rise to around £19,000, plus a shift allowance. In some geographical areas PCSO salaries can be up to £25,000 a year.

You will not usually need formal qualifications, but you will need good spoken and written communication skills. You need to be fit enough to carry out foot patrols, so you may be asked to take a fitness test.

As a new recruit you will initially go through an intensive induction programme, which is mainly classroom-based.

You will then be familiarised with your local force.

Throughout your career you will regularly take part in training and development sessions