Key questions and answers for those thinking of applying to become a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO).
What does a PCSO do?
Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) play an absolutely vital role in offering a reassuring presence to the public. They also act as a visible deterrent to anti-social behaviour. These uniformed officers are out and about in the community, operating regular foot patrols. Supporting the force at street level, they help free up valuable police time and resources. In doing so, they put a spotlight on lower-level crime, disorder, and anti-social behaviour.
What training would I receive?
PCSOs receive an initial eight weeks of intensive training. You'll then be assessed in the workplace throughout your six-month probationary period.
What are the hours like?
Most PCSOs work a shift pattern that includes 'earlies' (early mornings from 8am) and 'lates' (afternoon to evening). Each shift lasts around eight to nine hours. We welcome applications for working on a part-time basis. Hours will be required to fit in with the operational requirements of the role and there is an expectation that any submissions for part time hours will include some evening and weekend working. We may not be able to continue with your application if your requested hours do not fit in with the requirements of the Constabulary and you will be informed if this is the case. You can discuss your requirements with our recruitment advisors.
Will I have the same powers as a police officer?
No, you will not have the same powers as a police officer. However, you will be able to issue penalty notices for some offences.
Is there a minimum age limit?
You need to be over 18 to apply.
What is the retirement age at Hertfordshire Constabulary?
There is no retirement age for police staff.
Are there any weight restrictions?
For the role of PCSO, your BMI must be between 18 and 30.
I have health issues, is that a problem?
Candidates are required to be cleared medically and declared fit to proceed to fitness tests by their medical practitioner and Occupational Health Unit. Applicants must have a good eyesight i.e. Unaided vision requirement of 6/36 and will need to achieve 5.4 on a bleep test.
Are there any residency restrictions?
Applicants should be British Citizens, or passport holders from a full EU Member State. You can also apply if you’re a Commonwealth citizen or foreign national who is resident in the UK with indefinite leave to remain. All applicants must have been resident in the UK for the three years immediately preceding application.
Do I need formal qualifications?
No formal qualifications needed. We test ability throughout the process.
Do I need to be able to drive?
Applicants must hold a full UK driving licence at the point of application.
What if I am in debt?
If you are struggling with debt, you may still be able to apply. You just need to supply us with evidence of your ability to manage your debts successfully. However, if you have any outstanding county court judgments or you are an undischarged bankrupt, then you are automatically ineligible.
Is anyone excluded from applying?
There are no employment exclusions, however, please note that you cannot be a Special Constable if you are a PCSO.
What if I have a criminal record?
If you have a criminal record, this doesn’t mean you are automatically ineligible; it depends on the nature of your conviction. It may still be possible for you to apply successfully. Please ensure that you declare any caution or conviction on your application form.
Can I apply if I have a tattoo?
On the whole, yes. Tattoos which are offensive, garish, prominent or numerous are not acceptable and could result in your application being rejected. You should supply photos and measurements of any tattoos that you have along with your application.
Where in the county will I be based?
Once you have successfully completed pre-employment checks and commence your training, you will be allocated an area that works for us and yourself.
Will the vetting process ask me to declare cautions or convictions of people I know?
In short, yes. In addition to the need for you to declare any formal cautions (including as a juvenile), convictions for past offences, and bind-overs imposed by the courts you have had, you must do so for those associated with you when you go through the vetting process.
This includes your friends and family. Our vetting enquiries will reveal incidents from a long time ago; failure to disclose these will lead to your application being rejected as this is a key part of the Code of Ethics for honesty and integrity.
Register today to become a PCSO
Tell us you’re interested in being a PCSO and we’ll get in touch.