Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs)
We are not currently accepting applications for PCSOs. If this is the career for you, please register your interest in future opportunities and we will contact you when we are next recruiting.
Join us and help make a real difference, together.
From dealing with anti-social behaviour and taking statements from victims of crime, to providing reassurance and helping resolve community challenges; our Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) play a critical and visible role in helping keep our communities safe, identifying and protecting the most vulnerable, and preventing harm.
As the first point of contact for the community, you’ll need to be a great communicator; calm, confident and compassionate. You’ll need to be able to listen carefully, think through challenges and find solutions. Our PCSOs are good at problem solving, team players and can easily build relationships with people. Above all, you’ll simply care about the community and want to do what you can to keep it safe.
In return, we promise you a good starting salary, great training experiences, opportunities for progression, the chance to achieve a professional qualification - Level 4 Diploma in Community Policing Practice - and the pride that comes from helping others.
PCSO Joanne Hall was a civil enforcement officer for the borough council before joining Sussex Police.
“I always wanted to join but I had needed to fit my work around my children. Now was the best time to start my new career, and make my children proud. Every day is different. I have dealt with shoplifters, supported romance fraud victims, broken up groups and supported the homeless community to follow the guidelines.”
On her first night shift Joanne was credited with saving the lives of two teenage girls after she and her tutor heard a radio call from the force contact and control centre that the girls were at risk and needed locating. Joanne kept them talking until an ambulance arrived.
“This is what I like about being a PCSO, we have the time to put in that bit extra. Time to make sure the persons we are dealing with are OK; time to stop and chat, and wave at little kids. This is how PCSOs build trust, gather vital intelligence to prevent crime and strengthen investigations.”
From dealing with anti-social behaviour to providing reassurance and helping resolve community challenges; you’ll play a critical and visible role in helping keep our communities safe, identifying and protecting the most vulnerable and preventing harm. You’ll be out and about on the streets of Sussex, building relationships, engaging with the public and winning the trust of communities. You’ll be the face of local policing therefore you’ll need to act with the utmost integrity and professionalism, always. You’ll need to be a great communicator; calm, confident and compassionate.
Our entry route provides you with the skills and capabilities to be successful in the ever-changing environment. You must therefore be willing and able to meet the academic demands and deadlines throughout the 15 month programme.
The Police Community Support Officer Apprenticeship is a 15 month apprenticeship programme with a distinct 12 month practical training period and a three month end point assessment period. Apprentices will undertake a minimum of 20% of their working hours completing off-the-job learning to support their development of the knowledge, skills and behaviours required as a PCSO alongside their on-the-job learning.
As a PCSO you will be a vital part of our local policing service – helping to solve local challenges by getting out into the towns and villages of Sussex, meeting people and offering advice and support. As the public face of Sussex Police, you will ensure we’re fulfilling our commitment to protecting our communities, catching criminals and delivering an outstanding service to victims and witnesses.
You’ll need to be able to listen carefully, think through challenges and find solutions. You’ll work closely with your police officer colleagues and community leaders; making a real difference, together. This is a career which offers great diversity, challenge and rewards. You could find yourself:
- going on highly visible foot patrols
- reassuring the public after minor crimes or anti-social behaviour
- building relationships with community, religious and business leaders
- working with young people and local schools
- making house visits to gather intelligence
- collecting CCTV evidence
- carrying out missing persons enquiries
- protecting crime scenes until police officers arrive
- providing crime prevention and personal safety advice
- offering support at large public gatherings, such as sports events and public demonstrations.
While PCSOs do not have powers of arrest and cannot interview or process prisoners, their powers do include issuing fixed penalty notices, requiring contact details and seizing drugs. You can find out more about our PCSO’s powers here.
Our PCSOs work from a number of locations across the force including:
- East Sussex – Battle, Eastbourne, Hailsham, Hastings and Lewes.
- Brighton and Hove - Crowhurst Road (Hollingbury), John Street (Brighton) and Hove Town Hall
- West Sussex - Bognor, Chichester, Crawley, Haywards Heath, Horsham and Worthing
The normal working week for PCSOs is 37 hours. You will work Monday to Sunday between the hours of 8:00am and midnight on a rotating shift pattern which includes evenings, weekends and bank holidays. Typically PCSOs work three early shifts, followed by three late shifts, followed by three rest days.
To apply for the role you will need to meet our eligibility criteria:
- Hold a GCSE A*-C (4-9) or level 2 functional skills qualification in both English and Maths at point of application. Read our guide to attaining Level 2 English and Maths or equivalent.
- Be aged 18 years or over (on the day you submit your application).
- Have lived in the UK for three continuous years, immediately prior to application.
- Have leave to enter or leave to remain and work in the UK for an indefinite period.
- Have a full UK manual driving licence (by the time of appointment).
- Not be a current or previous member of a proscribed terrorist organisation or group.
- Not have tattoos which could cause offence.
- Not have more than six penalty points.
- Not have served a prison sentence.
- Be able to pass a job-related fitness test.
Proof of Qualification
You will be required to upload and attach your Level 2 or equivalent Certificates to your application, you will not be able to submit it without this. If you do not have your certificates, you will need to obtain replacements from your exam board, you can find more information on gov.uk. If you are unable to obtain them please contact the recruitment team as we may be able to check the Learning Record System.
If your qualification was achieved outside of the UK, your certificate must be translated to English by a certified translator.
If you wish to discuss any of the above further, please contact [email protected] to arrange.
Being a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) offers a challenging, yet incredibly rewarding career. Our PCSOs play a vital role in keeping Sussex safe; working within our Neighbourhood Policing Teams to prevent and tackle local issues.
We will give you:
- A starting salary of £22,599 plus an unsocial shift allowance in the region of £5,000 per year.
- A fully-funded professional qualification – Level 4 Diploma in Community Policing Practice.
- 24 days per year annual leave (based on a working day of 7.4 hours) rising to 29 days a year depending on your length of service.
- Great learning experiences that will support future career opportunities.
- A highly competitive pension scheme.
- An employee assistance programme for advice and counselling
- Access to discounts, savings and cash back rewards.
- Paternity leave and potential for a career break (after two years’ service).
- Opportunities to join various support networks, staff associations and sports clubs.
We offer competitive salaries, annual leave entitlement and pension scheme. We also recognise the benefits of flexible working and are committed to equality of opportunity. A variety of paid leave types are also available to help with unexpected situations, for example, emergency dependents leave. There are also options for taking extended periods of unpaid leave.
To support your health and wellbeing we have excellent welfare services including an employee assistance program, chaplaincy support and mental health first aiders who offer in-house service to support you mental health and wellbeing when you need it. You also have access to a variety of offers including the Blue Light discount card, keyworker housing schemes and money saving on everyday essentials.
Sussex police has a number of staff support networks, Unison support and advice for members and Sussex Police Charitable Trust who offer a helping hand to Sussex Police officers, staff, special constables, pensioners and dependent family members in their hour of need. We have on-site gyms and a range of sports clubs, all of which aim to promote health, friendship and fun amongst police officers and staff. With 30-plus activities to choose from there’s something for everyone, irrespective of age, rank, experience or sporting ability.
By successfully completing the recruitment process you will join as a PCSO under the national apprenticeship programme where you will follow a 15 month course working towards a Level 4 Apprenticeship including a Diploma in Community Policing Practice. The apprenticeship is a mixture of academic learning and practical ‘on the job’ training that will equip you to meet the demands of modern policing.
The training remains focused on practical policing, with the majority of learning taking place on the job and out in public alongside experienced colleagues. To ensure you have the tools and knowledge to excel as a modern-day PCSO it will cover subjects including digital policing, problem-solving, safeguarding and identifying vulnerability and risk. A breakdown of the course is outlined below.
- Operational learning – eight weeks full-time, based at Sussex Police Headquarters in Lewes.
- Tutoring – two weeks out in the community, supported by a tutor.
- Followed by one week compulsory annual leave.
- Operational learning – a further four weeks based at Sussex Police Headquarters.
- Tutoring – up to 10 weeks in the community alongside your tutor, after which Independent Patrol Status (IP) will be awarded.
Upon achieving IP, using the skills and knowledge you’ve gained through your training you will continue to build up your portfolio of evidence required to complete the qualification and apprenticeship. The final assessment involves a professional discussion around your work-based activities as well as a presentation relating to a problem-solving activity in the community.
Please note, whilst the PCSO apprenticeship is a 15 month learning program, you are tenured to the role for 24 months. You may apply to other roles within this timeframe but will not be offered a position until you have reached 2 years’ service.
Police Community Support Officers will be hired on a Fixed Term Contact. The Fixed Term Contract has arisen due to all Police Community Support Officers being required to successfully complete the Level 4 Apprenticeship including a Diploma in Community Policing Practice prior to transitioning to a permanent contract of employment. Successful completion of the apprenticeship is intended to be a gateway to a permanent Police Community Support Officer role. Unfortunately your Fixed Term Contract will be brought to an end if you are unable to successfully complete the Level 4 Apprenticeship with Diploma in Community Policing Practice.
To ensure we recruit the very best, we adopt a five-stage recruitment process for our PCSOs which takes, on average, six months to complete.
Stage One: Application form
Your personal details will be checked and that all eligibility criteria has been met.
Stage Two: Verbal Reasoning Test (VRT)
This timed online test is designed to measure an individual’s ability to comprehend, interpret and extract the correct meaning from written information.
Stage Three: Online competency based questions
The online competency based stage asks you a series of competency questions which is based upon the Competency and Values Framework (CVF) adopted by all police forces in the UK. You can find out more about the competency and values framework here.
Stage Four: Online Force interview
Virtual interview conducted by a panel of Sussex Police representatives. This interview will be based upon the competency and values framework.
Stage Five: Pre-employment checks
This is when we begin our pre-employment checks which consist of a medical, vetting, biometric vetting, fitness test and literacy and numeracy skills assessment.
- Fitness Test – you will need to obtain level 5.4 in the bleep test. More details on the test and preparation for the test can be found on our Job Related Fitness Test (JRFT) page.
- Medical – you will be required to complete a questionnaire with your medical history.
- Biometric Vetting – we will take your fingerprints, DNA, and check them against the appropriate database. We will also collect a sample of hair to test for the presence of inappropriate substances.
- Vetting - this will assess you and your families’ criminal record, financial status and business interests.
- Skills assessment – you will need to achieve a minimum of level 1 in the initial literacy and numeracy assessment.
You are strongly advised not to hand your notice into your current employer until you have received your Formal Offer. Successful candidates will receive their Formal Offer of Employment once all pre-employment checks have been successfully completed and an intake date confirmed.
If you wish to discuss any of the above further, please contact [email protected] to arrange.
I don’t have copies of my qualifications, what can I do?
You will need to provide copies of your qualifications when you apply. We can accept statement of results but you will need to provide copies of the original certificates before being invited to an assessment centre. We are unable to accept provisional results. If you are unable to locate your certificates, Gov.uk can provide information on how to request duplicates or an accepted ‘certified statement of results’.
I don’t have a level 2 qualification in English and Maths, what can I do?
If you are on the Police Community Support Officer Apprenticeship, the requirements of the Education for Skills and Funding Agency requires all apprenticeships to have a level 2 in Maths and English at the point of application. You can obtain this through a training provider and the Government will fund functional English and Maths for you.
Am I’m too old to apply?
There is no upper age limit for our PCSOs so you are never too old to apply. We encourage applications from everyone, whether you’re a college leaver, career changer or planning your return to work.
I’m 17 but will be 18 in a couple of months’ time. Can I apply?
Unfortunately not. To be eligible to apply, you must be 18 years or over when you submit your application. When you’re 18, we will welcome your application.
I’m not a British Citizen, can I still apply?
You can as long as you are an EEA National or a Swiss National. Commonwealth Citizens and Foreign Nationals are required to have leave to enter or leave to remain in the UK for an indefinite period and unrestricted permission to work in the UK.
Can I apply without a driving licence?
Yes, as you do not need a driving licence to apply. You will, however, need to have a full UK manual driving licence for us to offer you a start date so start taking those lessons.
I have motoring offences, can I apply?
We assess motoring offences on an individual basis. However, if you have more than six penalty points then you will not be eligible to apply to join Sussex Police as a PCSO.
If I have a disability, can I still apply?
Yes. We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you consider yourself to have a disability, please inform us within your application form of the type of reasonable adjustments you might need to assist you in participating in the recruitment and selection process. We will aim to meet your requests wherever we can.
Is there a height restriction?
No, there is no minimum or maximum height restriction.
Can you help if I have an issue using the online assessments?
If you experience difficulties with the online assessments, please contact [email protected] sussex.pnn.police.uk who will be able to help you.
I have not received an email confirming if I’ve passed or failed?
At the end of each element of the online selection process, you will receive an email. If this has not been received, please check your spam / junk folders before emailing [email protected]
What do the online competency based questions cover?
The online competency based stage asks you a series of competency questions which is based upon the Competency and Values Framework (CVF) adopted by all police forces in the UK. You can find out more about the CVF here. Please take note of the word counts. What you provide at this stage is used to progress or decline applications, therefore we encourage you to provide as much information in relation to the question as possible (within the recommended word count).
Can I state where I wish to be posted?
On your application you will be asked to state which of the Sussex divisions – Brighton and Hove, East Sussex or West Sussex – would be your preferred location. We try to take these preferences into consideration upon posting, however please be aware that due to demand and organisational requirements you may not be posted to your preferred location.
I have a medical condition, is that an issue?
Every candidate is individually assessed. Those with pre-existing medical conditions may be asked to provide additional medical evidence to support their application. The below acts as a mere guide to answer your initial questions.
Asthma - You will be individually assessed. Individuals with asthma that is well controlled with inhalers are usually acceptable.
Diabetes - Your blood-sugar levels need to be well controlled and you need to be able to adapt to the demands of the job such as varying shifts and meal times. You will be asked to provide evidence that your diabetes is well controlled.
Epilepsy - It is recommended that you have not experienced a seizure for at least 18 months (with or without medication) before you apply and have a full driving license
Stress, Anxiety or Depression - These roles are front-line and public facing, requiring the ability to deal with the public in a wide range of situations as well as exposing you to potentially upsetting incidents. A high level of emotional resilience is required to undertake this work. It is recommended that you have been stable and well for at least 1 year before you apply.
Dyslexia - We are able to support reasonable adjustments if you have a report confirming your condition. For police officers this report must be carried out as an adult. Support is available during training and in the workplace.
Severe Allergy - Most allergies are compatible with these roles, but if you have a severe allergy (including a history of collapse or breathing difficulties) we may require further information to establish your fitness for role.
Any type of blood clotting disorder which requires medication such as Warfarin, we may require further information to establish your fitness for role.
What does the medical involve?
To ensure you are fit for the role we ask you to undergo a fitness test and an individual medical assessment. Your medical assessment will take place with the Sussex Police Occupational Health and Wellbeing Service under strict confidence. Disabilities will be assessed taking into account the Equality Act 2010 and recommendations regarding reasonable adjustments made where appropriate. If you have a health problem, or recently had a lot of time off, we may need to see a copy of any relevant medical records, such as specialist reports, test results or a note from your doctor. You will not be able to proceed until we have received your GP report and optician test results
I wear glasses/contact lenses, can I apply?
A general level of eyesight is required to ensure you are able to carry out your role safely while driving police vehicles, taking accurate statements and relaying evidence in court. DVLA guidelines apply together with eyesight standards from the College of Policing. Corrected distance visual acuity must be 6/12 in the better eye and 6/6 or better binocularly. A field-of-view of at least 120 degrees horizontally by 100 degrees vertically is required. Those with monocular vision should be able to reach the visual field requirements and 6/6 corrected vision in their eye and be subject to a risk assessment by the organisation. Corrected near static visual acuity must be 6/9 or better binocularly. Glasses and contact lenses are both acceptable. Seeing a qualified optician every few years is a good way to ensure your eyes are healthy.
I am colour blind, can I apply?
Mild colour vision deficiencies are not generally a problem but you might not be able to progress into some specialist roles. Unfortunately, if your colour vision deficiency is monochrome you are not eligible to apply.
What if I have hearing issues?
A good level of hearing is required to ensure you are able to carry out your role safely, to be able to document and relay what you have heard in a potentially crowded and noisy environment whilst also listening to your personal radio. Each ear individually for low frequencies (0.5+1+2) should be below 84 dB and for high frequencies (3+4+ 6) below 123 dB. Hearing aids are acceptable as long as they correct your hearing to adequate levels. Ensure you protect your ears from loud noise, e.g. when listening to music either live or through headphones or when riding a motorbike but also if you work in an environment that exposes you to loud noise such as drills or firearms. Avoid exposure to loud noise and flying the days prior to your medical.
Is there a specific weight / BMI I need to be?
Being overweight affects your overall health and puts you at increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. It can also affect your joints and might make it harder for you to achieve the fitness levels required for your role. Equally, being underweight can mean that you lack muscle mass to ensure adequate fitness levels. During your medical appointment your BMI will be calculated and used as a guide to assess your health risks and fitness levels. A BMI in the healthy to overweight range is desirable, if your BMI is above 32 for PCSOs we will also assess your body composition and you might be deferred unless your body fat percentage is below 30% for men or 36% for women. Your best option is to ensure a healthy balanced diet and regular moderate exercise to ensure your own personal health and wellbeing as well as fitness for your role in policing. Check your BMI at www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight and assess your diet with the eat well plate guide www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-eatwell-guide.
What does vetting entail?
We will carry out security checks on you and your:
- Father/stepfather/mother’s partner
- Mother/stepmother/father’s partner
- Brothers/sisters (full/half/step)
- Children/children of your partner (only those aged 10 years and over)
- Any other adult living at your address
- Financial circumstances
- Social media accounts.
I have a relative who has convictions, can I apply?
If your friends or family members have criminal convictions, you must disclose this when asked on your vetting application. Your application will not be automatically rejected and consideration will be given on a case-by-case basis.
Can I still apply if I have a criminal record?
Applications will be unsuccessful in all cases where:
- Offences were committed as an adult or juvenile which resulted in a prison sentence (including custodial, suspended or deferred sentence and sentences served at a young offenders’ institution or community home)
- The applicant is a registered sex offender or is subject to a registration requirement in respect of any other conviction.
For all other convictions or cautions, there is a rebuttable presumption that they should be rejected. In particular, the following would result in rejection: offences where vulnerable people were targeted; offences motivated by hate or discrimination; domestic abuse offences. Although the rebuttable presumption is that these should lead to rejection, there will be cases where this may disproportionate in the circumstances. For instance, where the offence was committed as a juvenile, it was not serious and the individual has demonstrated a commitment to help individuals or communities in the subsequent years. In these cases, vetting clearance may be justified.
Do I have to declare if I was arrested but not charged?
Yes. You must declare if you have ever been subject to a criminal investigation whether or not this led to a prosecution. Failure to make such declarations will lead to your application being unsuccessful.
What is biometric vetting?
We will take a fingerprint and DNA sample to determine whether an individual has come to police attention, whether that was under the identity being used for the application and whether the individual is linked to any outstanding crime scenes. If you’re appointed, these samples will be retained on a police database for elimination purposes. If you are not appointed, your fingerprints, DNA samples and DNA profile will be destroyed, along with all records and copies.
I’ve been bankrupt, can I apply?
You can still apply but only if it is three years after bankruptcy debts have been discharged.
How about County Court Judgments (CCJ)?
If the judgment has been discharged then you can be considered however if you have an existing judgment your application will be unsuccessful.
I have an Independent Voluntary Agreement (IVA), can I apply?
Applicants with current IVAs will be considered. However, you will be required to show that there is an IVA repayment plan in place and that you’ve maintained regular payments over a significant number of months.
Can I continue with my other business?
You must declare any other employment for hire or gain or any other business interests that you intend to maintain. A decision on whether it is considered that your business interests are compatible with performing the role of PCSO will be made on the basis of the information you provide during application.
Do you ask for references?
We may send reference requests to your previous employers in the past three years. If you haven’t been employed for three years, we may ask for a character reference or an educational reference.
Why are you introducing apprenticeships for PCSOs?
Apprenticeships are a great way to gain hands on experience while studying towards an industry recognised qualification and earning a salary. We’ve been offering apprenticeships for a number of years and are excited to extend this to a broader range of roles and, specifically, to the role of a PCSO.
Do I need to pay for the diploma?
No. We will pay for your diploma and instead you will earn while you learn.
Will I be expected to go to college?
No. All training will be delivered locally by a combination of police staff trainers and experienced tutors.
Can I apply for other jobs in the organisation while training?
The role of PCSO is tenured for 24 months – the first 12 months of this will form your probationary period. This means you will not be able to start a new position within the force during this time. You may, however, be able to apply for a role with longer recruitment timeframes i.e. a police officer. We would encourage you to speak with your line manager if you wish to explore other opportunities.
Why is the role tenured for 24 months?
A number of roles within the force are tenured positions. This recognises the investment we make in terms of training and developing people in these areas.
Can I apply for other jobs in the organisation while training?
The role of PCSO is tenured for 24 months – the first 12 15 months of this will form your probationary period. This means you will not be able to start a new position within the force during this time. You may, however, be able to apply for a role with longer recruitment timeframes i.e. a police officer. We would encourage you to speak with your line manager if you wish to explore other opportunities.
How can I contact you if I have more questions?
If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact us via email at [email protected].