PCSOs are established members of the policing family and provide a valuable, high visibility, easily accessible uniformed presence on our streets. They play a real part in keeping our communities safe.
They are often seen keeping a close eye on neighbourhoods, in and around schools and shops and working with Local Policing Team colleagues to find long-term solutions to often thorny problems like anti-social behaviour. This often involves working with partner organisations.
They frequently get involved in long-term and proactive crime prevention initiatives, like property marking and fitting number plates with tamper-proof screws. They provide public reassurance and help reduce the fear of crime.
PCSOs undertake an initial seven week training course which is classroom based but involves practical exercises too. During this course they receive a law and legislation input that is relevant to their role. There are knowledge checks before they go on patrol.
Generally, PCSOs work 37 hours a week via a shift system including evenings, weekends and public holidays.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: All PCSO training programmes will run for seven weeks (not six) in total, from 1 April 2018.