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The role of a PCSO

Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), support the work of Cumbria Constabulary by providing a visible and reassuring presence on the streets. PCSOs deal with a wide range of crime and disorder problems. PCSOs share some, but not all of the powers of police officers. They work alongside them but do not have the powers of arrest.

Whilst the role of a PCSO is demanding and requires high levels of professionalism and dedication, the rewards are significant. Appointing the most talented individuals is essential in helping us achieve our vision and ambitions for the future.

PCSOs work closely with police colleagues and partners in the community to provide an approachable uniformed presence with the aim of addressing crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour, thus improving the quality of life in local communities. Overall they assist in making the public feel safe, satisfied and reassured.


What type of work does a PCSO get involved in?

PCSOs provide support within their community by:

  • responding to incidents of low level anti social behaviour (ASB) and disorder
  • holding formal community engagement events
  • engaging with local primary schools and youth groups
  • providing crime prevention advice and supporting victims off crime and ASB
  • attending community led events
  • using a problem solving approach and working alongside partner agencies to tackle issues and community priorities
  • issuing Fixed Penalty Notices for relevant offences
  • supporting community groups and assisting with funding applications 

SFJ Awards Level 4 Diploma in Community Policing Practice*

The level 4 diploma will be delivered and assessed through a mixture of taught blocks, supported in area tutor phase and operational deployment, over a twelve month period. The qualification consists of eight mandatory units (listed below), the units contain the learning outcomes and the assessment criteria that the student is to be assessed against, through theory-based or practical activities. Towards the latter part of the programme the PCSO will complete a community-based problem-solving assignment. This will demonstrate an understanding of adopting an evidence-based approach to problem-solving in order to resolve or mitigate community issues, problems or concerns. In addition the PCSO will complete and achieve the PSCO Independent Patrol Status (IPS) by month 6 of the programme and PCSO Full Operational Competence portfolio (FOC) by 12 months.

SFJ Awards Level 4 Diploma in Community Policing Practice Units

  • Engage with the community
  • Handle information and intelligence
  • Provide an initial response to policing incidents
  • Partnership working in the community
  • Manage conflict in community policing
  • Engage in problem-solving and evidence-based community policing
  • Deal with minor crime or anti-social behaviour
  • Provide support to vulnerable people, victims and witnesses

*Subject to awarding body approval to deliver.

The qualification provides PCSO’s with the knowledge, skills and competence to undertake the role of Police Community Support Officer. In the future this experience could also be used to mentor and train new PCSOs.

Level 4 Diploma in Community Policing Practice

The PCSO programme involves the PCSO undertaking a Level 4 Diploma in Community Policing Practice, a one year qualification awarded by SFJ Awards*. This is undertaken and coincides with serving as a student PCSO, with active frontline duties for Cumbria Constabulary.

*Subject to awarding body approval to deliver.

Cumbria Constabulary will deliver the SFJ Award through the Learning and Development Department.  

PCSO students will receive support from the police and PCSO Trainers with the academic studies and officers and staff from Cumbria Constabulary will support you with your operational role.

You will receive regular meetings to discuss your progress and any support you feel you could benefit from with your line manager within the force.

The qualification costs of the Level 4 Diploma in Community Policing Practice is covered by the Constabulary.

Upon successful competition of the first year, you will have achieved the Level 4 Diploma in Community Policing Practice.