If you are looking for a varied role that allows you to make a real difference to local communities and definitely isn’t a regular 9-5 job, then this role could be for you.

Police Community Support Officers have a vital and unique role within communities; providing a visible uniformed presence, helping the police to tackle anti-social behavior and providing reassurance to the public as well as working to understand their local issues. You will additionally have policing powers to enable you to bring to justice those who seek to disrupt or bring harm to all that live, work or travel through our county.

The mission of policing has changed dramatically in recent years - there is far more complexity, a greater need for problem solving and it is broader than it ever used to be. We need caring and compassionate people who want to help us to better understand our communities and the issues that are of most importance to them.

Those who work in policing need the skills, education and knowledge to undertake their roles to the best of their ability. A new national curriculum for PCSO development ensures that all new entrants undertake a programme that supports the breadth of learning and practice required to fulfil the role, and that the skills and knowledge acquired throughout are then rightly recognised and accredited.

By successfully completing the recruitment process you will be amongst the first in the country to join as a PCSO under the new national apprenticeship programme. This is a 12 month apprenticeship remains focused on practical policing with the majority of learning taking place on the job and out in the public alongside experienced colleagues. This is not an academic qualification - it is a work based, practical and vocational development programme that will better equip recruits to meet the demands of modern policing but which also enables all to achieve a Level 4 Diploma in Community Policing Practice in acknowledgement of the skills & knowledge that are gained throughout the apprenticeship.

Our ability to build trust, understand problems and support our communities across a range of policing matters, relies on us having a workforce that is reflective of our communities and all the unique individuals that exist within them. We are very keen to encourage applications from those that have never considered policing as a career. We are particularly conscious that current numbers of females and those who identify as black or minority ethnic are lower than representation levels in our communities. We are actively working on a range of activities to improve this and would be greatly encouraged to see far larger numbers of applications from individuals identifying within these groups.

Police Community Support Officer Apprenticeship and Eligibility

The PCSO apprenticeship is a 12 month practice based learning and development programme leading to a level 4 Diploma in Community Policing Practice.

There are no mandatory educational eligibility criteria that need to be met at the point of application. We want to ensure that this entry route in to policing is as open and accessible as possible, particularly as we want to receive applications from a diverse range of individuals. All who complete the apprenticeship will however need to obtain Level 2 in English and Maths (functional skills) by the end of the apprenticeship.

In support of this, all successful applicants will complete an online educational and diagnostic assessment and any skills gaps identified will be met via support and training from a dedicated functional skills trainer on a 1-2-1 basis via a bespoke individual learning plan (ILP). Final exams will be completed on line and accreditation will be awarded.

Any applicants who are able to provide copies of certificates for relevant English & Maths GCSEs, functional skills or key skills qualifications will be exempt from the need to complete Level 2 functional skills learning.

 All candidates will need to fulfil standard force eligibility criteria;

  • Be aged 18 or over, there is no upper age limit
  • Have been a UK resident for the past three years. (If you do not currently fulfil the criteria this will be reviewed on a case by case basis, please contact the Recruitment Team for further information)
  • Be a British or Commonwealth citizen, or an EC/European Economic Area national, or a foreign national whose stay in the UK is unrestricted
  • Hold a current full manual driving licence before applying
  • Be prepared to work shifts including nights, weekends and bank holidays
  • Not have any tattoos that cause offence.(Please contact the Recruitment Team for further advice)

Recruitment process

The recruitment process can take approximately 6 months and consists of a number of stages.

  • Completion of an online application form
  • In-force interview
  • Fitness test to obtain level 5.4 in the bleep test
  • Medical questionnaire and vetting form
  • Biometric vetting – fingerprints, DNA and Hair Testing
  • References for past three years

Fitness and medical

  • Applicants must be physically and mentally fit to carry out the duties required
  • Eyesight standards are set and published by the College of Policing and have recently been reviewed.  This standard is Corrected distance visual acuity must be 6/12 in either eye and 6/6 or better, in both eyes together
  • Appointment to Surrey Police is subject to medical and physical examinations, and an opticians report is expected if relevant
  • There is no height restriction

All applicants will be subject to a vetting process for security reasons. You will be required to provide fingerprint and DNA samples by consent. The vetting process will assess criminal record, financial status, business interests and references, and all applicants are expected to declare all relevant information.


Why are the police service introducing apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are increasingly common and are recognised as offering a great way to gain hands-on experience while studying towards an industry-recognised qualification and earning a salary. Policing has been offering apprenticeships such as vehicle technicians, management, customer service and business administration for a number of years. There is now a fantastic opportunity to extend this offering across a broader range of roles and specifically to the sought-after role of a Police Community Support Officer.

We believe that by offering an apprenticeship we can ensure policing remains an attractive and competitive career option. We hope that it will appeal to those who may not have considered policing to be a viable choice for them in the past and we hope that people will be attracted to the earn-while you-learn principles of an apprenticeship and the attainment of a recognised qualification that will be equally as valuable in the future to those who stay within policing as to those who move on to different ventures.

What is the structure of the PCSO development programme?

Your learning programme to become a PCSO will commence with 8 weeks of initial training at Police Headquarters where you will learn the core knowledge and skills you need as you begin your 12-month apprenticeship with us.  Once you have successfully completed this initial period you will start to work out in our communities with an experienced tutor, giving you the chance to apply the initial knowledge you’ve gained with a colleague who will assess your competence as you do the job.  Along with some further face-to-face training you will continue to work with your Tutor to achieve a level of competence to work on your own (known as Independent Patrol).  This will typically take up to 6 months. After this you will spend the remainder of the apprenticeship completing the learning on the programme with the support of an excellent Learning and Development team in Force and your colleagues.

We aim to offer part-time and flexible options and are currently reviewing how this can be done. If you would like to ask any questions relating to this then please contact resourcing@surrey.pnn.police.uk

Will I have to pay for the apprenticeship?

We will cover all costs associated with the apprenticeship so you have the chance to earn while you learn and to gain a qualification without having to pay fees or other costs. We will also give you protected time to complete the learning elements of the apprenticeship. 

How much will I earn?

New PCSOs will receive a starting salary of £23,160 (base salary of £21,954 plus £1,206 unsocial hours’ allowance). Base salary increases annually and PCSOs with three years’ service can typically expect to earn circa £23,900 plus unsocial hours allowance.

PCSO’s shall spend their first 8 weeks undertaking initial training and will not be working a shift pattern. Unsocial hours allowance shall therefore commence at the beginning of week 9.

Black and Minority Ethnic recruitment mentoring scheme

We are committed to promoting equality and diversity within our workforce and to eliminating discrimination. Representation within our workforce from black and minority ethnic communities is currently much lower than we want it to be; by improving this we will be better able to serve our local communities and our work place will benefit from all the differences in thinking, points of view, and approaches that diversity brings.

One of the proactive ways we are seeking to increase representation is via a bespoke mentoring scheme which is aimed at guiding applicants from diverse communities through the recruitment process.

For more information email Sheela or Farhan at positiveaction@surrey.pnn.police.uk.

We are currently recruiting for new police community support officers - the window is open until Sunday 12 May.

Apply now.