Swindon PCSO Corie Mapp talks about joining Wiltshire Police and his training
PCSOs make a real difference to policing and local communities.
Since the introduction of Police Community Support Officers in 2002, PCSOs have become an established part of neighbourhood and community policing. They are key to the public face of policing, providing a link between the police and the communities they serve. They bring essential skills, values and diversity to policing.
Providing a valuable uniformed presence in our communities, PCSOs focus on understanding and identifying local priorities, solving local problems, tackling low-level crime and engaging with the community. Their presence means they are often best placed to engage with those who either carry out or are affected by anti-social behaviour and disorder.
Working as part of a close-knit team, alongside regular Police Officers and Special Constables in communities across Wiltshire and Swindon, you will deal with different situations every day, building confidence and trust with the public.
About the role
PCSOs don't have the same powers as regular police officers, however they have considerable responsibility and are an important part of the police service.
10 week shift pattern, 7am-5pm and 1pm-10pm, with rest days in between.
Weekend working is mandatory, six Saturdays and five Sundays.
You will work five full weekends over a 10 week shift pattern.
You will need a Level 2 Maths and English (GCSE graded 9 to 4/A* to C or equivalent and a Level 3 Qualification (16 UCAS points).
If you do not have a Level 3 Qualification your application will be assesed in other ways by our recruitment team and university partners.
Please read the educational requirements section below for more information.
Earn while you learn ... and gain a Level 4 qualification
The College of Policing, in partnership with higher education providers, has developed a full national curriculum to support PCSO learning, accredited to a Level 4 Higher Education Certificate in Community Policing Practice.
The apprenticeship takes 12 to 15 months to complete, with a mix of classroom learning, observation, 1:1 tutorship and practical experience.
All training takes place in Wiltshire and consists of:
Evidence based projects
Reflection, to test your knowledge and understanding.
Preparing to apply
Take a look at our S.T.A.R guidancebefore you start your application. We offer it as a simple guide to help you structure your answers - you don't have to use this technique in your application form but it may help you to organise your responses to the questions.
Level 2 Qualifications
You will need GCSEs in English and Maths graded 9-4/A*-C or equivalent qualification
If you do not hold these qualifications, you can obtain Level 2 (Functional Skills) free through a training provider, such as New College Swindon or Wiltshire College & University Centre:
You will also need a Level 3 Qualification, such as an A level at Grade E and above or an equivalent qualification totalling 16 UCAS points.
If you do not have this qualification, the University of South Wales will set an assessment paper to assess if you have the ability to pass the assignments you will be given during your initial training at the higher level. This Level 3 equivalent assessment will take place during the initial assessment process.
Go to the Gov.uk website for more details on the nine qualification levels
Applications can be accepted at the age of 17, providing you will be 18 by the time you are expected to start and have achieved the required qualifications. There is no upper age limit for applying to the police service. However, a PCSO is demanding physically and mentally and you will need to be reasonably fit and in good health. We welcome all ages - a diverse workforce reflecting the communities we serve is the best way to be effective. No matter your age, you bring important skills and perspectives that are key tools for being a PCSO.
You must be a British citizen, an EC/EEA national or a Commonwealth citizen or foreign national with no restrictions on your stay in the United Kingdom.
As we need minimum three years residential history in the UK to be able to complete background checks, foreign nationals and UK citizens who have lived abroad may have to wait some time for security and vetting clearance.
A number of crimes will mean a definite or likely rejection of your application, including anyone who has received a formal caution in the last five years, committed a violent crime or public order offence. If you are at all unsure, get in contact and ask.
Tattoos are very common; all tattoos that are reviewed to check appropriateness. Images that are grotesque, violent, have a strong religious or political connection or would undermine the dignity and authority of your role would not be acceptable.
Applicants will have their financial status checked. These checks are carried out because police officers have access to privileged information, which may make them vulnerable to corruption. Applicants with who have had County Court judgements or may be on a Debt recovery plan will be assessed on a case by case basis. If you have any concerns please ask before applying for more information.
To ensure you are fit enough for the role, you will undertake a fitness test. We are looking for no more than the minimum standard needed to enable you to work effectively as a PCSO. You will be given help to improve your fitness and if you prepare yourself properly, there is no reason for you to fail. You will need to complete personal safety training (PST) every year. It is your responsibility to keep yourself fit at all times.
PCSOs can encounter stressful situations, trauma, physical confrontation and work long hours on shifts. They need to be resilient enough to cope with the demands and pressures of police work. Applicants must therefore be in good health mentally and physically to undertake their duties. You will undergo a medical examination to ensure you meet the health standards required.
Applicants will have their eyesight tested at the medical assessment stage. You may be asked to go to an optician to have your eyes tested and the eyesight form filled in. Failure to pass this test will lead to rejection.
You can apply to more than one force at a time if you wish.
To work for Wiltshire Police you need to be successfully vetted.
The following information will help you work out if you are eligible.
You must be available to attend all of the stages of the recruitment process
Our recruitment officers can answer any questions you may have and offer any support you need throughout the process.
Successful applicants are subject to vetting prior to appointment. Please note there are different vetting levels depending on the type of role you are applying for, with some exceptions including individuals who work in the armed forces or government services.
You will be expected to detail all convictions and cautions (including those spent). Police National Computer (PNC) records will be checked and any omissions could affect the outcome of the vetting process. This will be reviewed on a case by case basis. This information will NOT be divulged to your family, employer or Wiltshire Police manager. For more information please visit the Home Office guidance on recruitment.
All applicants need to have resided permanently in the UK for a minimum of three years prior to applying. However if you have resided outside the UK for a time but can provide sufficient information to enable meaningful checks to be conducted in relation to that period, we will consider your application alongside the information you provide.
Applicants will not be considered if they have an existing County Court Judgement (CCJ) or have been declared bankrupt in the last three years.
How do I contact Wiltshire Police about my application?
All you need to know about the recruitment process is on our website. If you still have questions, please use the Contact recruitment form. We aim to respond within 48 hours.
I will be 18 on the date the Assessment is scheduled. Can I still apply to join Wiltshire Police?
You may apply when you are 17 provided you will be 18 by the time you are expected to start training
I have previously applied and failed. Can I apply again?
Can I transfer from the Armed Forces?
Individuals currently serving in the Armed Services should contact us via your assigned Job Coach. We can offer you support through the Armed Forces Covenant.
How fit do I have to be to become a PCSO?
You must be physically fit and healthy to perform policing duties safely and effectively. You will need to pass a physical fitness test and a full medical examination as part of the recruitment process.
I have been travelling / living abroad for more than six months. Will this affect my application?
Applicants must have resided in the UK for a minimum of three years prior to applying, and for vetting purposes they must have lived here for three years (for recruitment vetting) and up to five years (for management vetting). British citizens who have been out of the country for more than six months must, in addition, obtain a letter of good conduct from the country or countries they have resided in.
I have a holiday booked in the coming months. Will this be an issue?
Leave will not be granted during the initial training and tutorship phase unless in extenuating circumstances. Please consider this if you are thinking of booking a holiday.
I am not a British Citizen. Can I still apply?
You need to be a British citizen or a citizen of a country that is a member of the European Economic Area or Switzerland, or a Commonwealth citizen or foreign national who is resident in the UK and free from restrictions.
I have tattoos. Will this stop me becoming a PCSO?
Not necessarily. Tattoos are not acceptable if they are particularly prominent, garish, offensive or undermine the dignity and authority of the role. If you have tattoos that are visible on your arms, neck, face and hands, you will need to make a declaration that you have a tattoo within the eligibility section of the application form.
We will ask you to send in two photographs of each tattoo (one distance photograph clearly showing where on the above body area the tattoo is located and a second close-up photograph that we can use to assess this against our standards). Each application will be considered on a case by case basis.
Do I need a driving licence?
You don't have to have a licence to apply to become a PCSO, but you will need a full UK manual driving licence (not a provisional licence) before you start training.
I have a motoring offence(s). Can I still apply?
Wiltshire Police will need to assess the motoring offence. However, if you have more than six penalty points on your driving licence, you will not be eligible to apply to join Wiltshire Police student officer.
Can I apply if I have financial issues or previous cautions or convictions?
Any financial issues / problems must be declared and will be judged on an individual basis. You must declare all previous cautions, convictions or any involvement with the police. The circumstances of the offence will be considered carefully.
I have convictions from a long time ago. Will this stop me from applying?
Not necessarily. We will look at applicant circumstances on an individual basis. We understand that how we may have acted in the past is not always a reflection on our character years later. If you are unsure of your eligibility to apply, please contact our recruitment team to discuss in the first instance.
Do I have to notify changes to my personal circumstances?
Any significant changes in personal circumstances during your application, such as permanent partner, new residents at your home, change of address, arrests, cautions or convictions or association with criminals should be notified to People Services.
If I have already been vetted for another role, do I have to do this again?
Yes, you will indeed need to be vetted again as you will now be vetted for the role of PCSO whereas your current vetting is only valid for the role you are currently doing.
If vetting clearance is refused can I appeal?
If vetting clearance is refused, you will be advised, although specific reasons will not normally be given to protect the confidentiality of others and the security of Wiltshire Police. However, you can request a review, which is carried out by a person independent of the vetting decision marker.
What are the Biometrics used for?
This will be used to eliminate you from any crime scenes when you are appointed as an officer.
I have a medical condition. Does that stop me joining Wiltshire Police?
It will depend upon the nature of the medical condition. If you require reasonable adjustments, you will need to provide a full physiological report for the College of Policing to grant reasonable adjustments. This report would normally be from a medical specialist, such as a medical doctor or psychologist with expertise in the area of the impairment. School reports are not accepted. Please read the College of Policing's guidance on reasonable adjustments. All new officers will also undergo a medical assessment with our Occupational Health Unit which you will need to pass to be eligible to join Wiltshire Police.
Can I become a PCSO if I wear glasses or contact lenses?
Yes, people with colour blindness can apply to become a PCSO; however, there is a standard you have to reach as part of the medical assessment if you are colour blind. You are restricted from certain roles, such as roads policing or firearms. If your colour blindness is monochrome, you are not eligible to apply.
I have a disability. Can I apply to become a PCSO?
Yes. We welcome applications from people with disabilities as defined by the Equality Act 2010. If you consider yourself to have a disability, please inform us of the type of reasonable adjustments you might need to assist you in participating in the recruitment and selection process. We will try to make the reasonable adjustments required where practicable.
I have epilepsy. Can I still apply?
Yes. We will look at each case on its merits and take guidance from our Occupational Health Unit.
I have diabetes. Can I still apply?
Yes, providing your diabetes is under control. Your doctor will need to supply a medical report for clarification.
I am dyslexic. Can I still apply?
Yes. However, to allow reasonable adjustments to be made, such as extra time for your academic studies, you will need to provide us with a full comprehensive professional dyslexia report.
I have a BMI greater than 30. Can I still apply?
Candidates who are successful following the assessment centre and final interview, and have a BMI of 30 or above will be contacted by Occupational Health and asked to provide evidence of their body fat composition; if this does not exceed 25% for male candidates and 35% for female candidates they will be permitted to progress to the medical stage. Those with a body fat percentage of >25% will be deferred until they reach the required level.
Is there a height restriction?
No. There is no minimum or maximum height restriction.
I failed the fitness test. Can I still become a PCSO?
No. For you to progress to the next stage, you must pass all parts of the fitness test. If you do not pass the test at your first attempt, you will be allowed to retake it after a period of training. If you fail to pass the test after three attempts, your application will fail and you will not be eligible to reapply for six months.
Where will I be posted?
The Chief Constable reserves the right to post you anywhere in the Wiltshire Police area. Your posting will be decided according to the operational need in each area at the time of your appointment. You will be posted to a hub after initial training and you will be able to ask for three preferential hubs. They will be taken into account when posting, but ultimately it will be decided on operational needs.
What hours will I work?
Police staff work a 37-hour week. A shift pattern may consist of early shifts, late shifts and night shifts, bank holidays and weekend working. Operational demands may require your assigned shift / rest day to be cancelled and re-scheduled at short notice. There are opportunities to volunteer for overtime, particularly when there are major events taking place. On occasion there could be circumstances where you will be asked to work out of county, but you will be given advance notice.
A rewarding job, where no two days are the same.
You will be constantly challenged and always learning.
You will be valued for your contribution to your community.
Good pay and an excellent benefits package.
You will achieve a Level 4 HE Certificate in Community Policing Practice
It is straight forward to progress to the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) if you later want to become a Police Officer