About PCSOs

What are PCSOs?

PCSOs are civilian members of staff employed by Police forces of England and Wales. PCSOs can be station-based, but most are assigned to one team of: Safer Neighbourhood Team/Neighbourhood Policing Team; safer transport; public security. Some become victim support specialists.

When and why were they introduced?

The PCSO role was created under the Police Reform Act of 2002, partly influenced by a concept of Community Service Officers that have operated in the USA since the 1970s. The aim is to provide a visible, reassuring presence for the public, and to be a bridge between communities and the police.

What Powers do PCSOs Have?

PCSOs have the power to issue Fixed Penalty Notices, confiscate alcohol and tobacco, demand name and address, removal of abandoned vehicles, power of entry to premises to save life or prevent damage. They do not have power of arrest or to interview suspects.

How Many PCSOs are there?

In 2005 there were 6,214 PCSOs. By 2009, there were 16,814. There are now 15,820. PCSOs represent 6.8% of total police employees.

Which Forces have PCSOs?

27 police forces employ PCSOs. Scottish and Northern Irish police forces do not have PCSOs.

The Metropolitan Police accounts for 25.3% of PCSOs. The second largest PCSO force is Greater Manchester with 837 PCSOs, 5.3% of the total.


How many PCSOs are ethnic minority and female?

Minority ethnic PCSOs are 10.7% of the total. The figure for police officers is 4.8%, and 11.3% for Special Constables.

45.6% of PCSOs are female. The figure for police officers is 26.2% and 31.2& for special constables.


What is the salary?

PCSOs can work full-time or part-time. The starting salary for a full-time PCSO for most forces is around £16,000, with a 1 year probationary period. There is usually around 15% extra available as shift allowance. Benefits include 21 days paid leave, and access to local government pension schemes.

In London the salary is £19,858 with 28 days leave. Weighting allowances: inner (zone 1) £3379 and outer London working £1836. The maximum a London PCSO can earn with an inner London bonus and a 20% shift pattern allowance is £27, 124.