Frequently asked questions
If you are thinking of applying to become a PCSO please see below some frequently asked questions.
How do I apply to become a Police Community Support Officer?
Our latest recruitment drive is due to launch on 18th April 2019, the application form will be available on the vacancies section of the Jobs and volunteering section of our website from 12:00 on 18th April.
Will becoming a Police Community Support Officer automatically lead into a Police Officer Role?
By becoming a PCSO, it will not necessarily mean it will lead into a Police Officer role but it will provide you with invaluable operational experience that will likely assist you in any application to become a regular Police Officer.
What is the difference between a PCSO and a Police Officer/Special Constable?
A PCSO is a paid member of Police Staff who works uniformed on the front line of policing alongside Police Officers and Special Constables. PCSOs hold certain designated powers, but these do not include the power of arrest (amongst others) as this is not a required function of the role.
Will I be able to transfer a successful assessment centre score from another home office police force?
No, unfortunately the recruitment process to become a PCSO with North Yorkshire Police will be unique to us, therefore we will not be able to transfer successful assessment scores on this occasion.
What is an ‘online situational strengths test’ and why are North Yorkshire Police using this method of assessment?
The Situational Strengths Test (SST) enable us to assesses suitability by measuring candidates against a set of realistic scenarios. It works by judging typical reactions, feelings or behaviours against a realistic scenario-based set of questions. Responses will be mapped against the strengths required within North Yorkshire Police and the role of a PCSO, with candidates only advancing based on their fit with these success criteria.
A situational strengths test is a reliable and accurate tool that will help North Yorkshire Police select the right people, with the right strengths, to deliver successful performance. It provides candidates with a realistic job preview, encouraging self-selection, with the look and feel being aligned our culture, values, and brand.
How does a strength based interview differ from a competency based interview?
A strengths based interview (SBI) is designed around the strengths required within an organisation and role, in this case, the role of a PCSO.
the Strengths-based Interview offers a different interview experience. It allows us to assess capability and energy in a fast-paced and less ambiguous manner. It also encourages authentic responses and allows better differentiation between low, average, and high performers.
Is there an age limit?
You must be at least 18 years old to become a PCSO with North Yorkshire Police. There is no upper age limit.
Does a PCSO require a driving licence and can they drive police vehicles?
A PCSO may be required to drive various marked police vehicles so it is imperative for them to have a full UK driving licence (or equivalent)
Can I become a PCSO if I wear glasses or contact lenses?
If I have a disability can I apply to become a PCSO?
North Yorkshire Police welcomes 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. North Yorkshire Police will make relevant reasonable adjustments as required.
I have dyslexia. Can I still apply?
Yes, you can still apply to become a PCSO. Should you require reasonable adjustments i.e. extra time during your assessment, you must submit a psychologist’s report which was undertaken when you were aged 16 or over. This must be submitted with your completed application form. Without this report reasonable adjustments will not be made.
I have an ongoing medical condition. Can I still apply?
You can still apply to become a PCSO. It will depend upon the nature of the medical condition. We require all applicants to pass our medical assessment to ensure you meet the BMI and health standards required. We will look at each case on its merits and take guidance from our Occupational Health Department as part of your individual medical assessment. You will also be required to provide a urine sample whilst at your appointment, which will be tested for any illegal substances.
Is there a height restriction for a PCSO?
No. There is no minimum or maximum height restriction.
Where will the training take place?
Our PCSO training will take place in North Yorkshire Police premises, typically between Northallerton and York, but could be anywhere throughout the county.
What will my working hours be during the training period?
Classroom based training will run between the hours of 09:00 – 17:00, there may be some deviations depending upon the nature of the training.
I have a holiday booked during my training period, will I be allowed to go?
No, unfortunately you must be available to attend for the entire training period (there will be a week’s leave scheduled for the end of your training). You will either need to re-consider your holiday plans or be allocated to a training course that you can commit to all dates.
How long will my probationary period be?
There is a nine month probationary period for PCSO’s and once completed you will be eligible to apply for additional training and specialist roles as they become available.
In the role
What are a PCSOs normal working hours?
PCSOs work in shift patterns, covering an average of 37 hours per week, between eight O’clock in the morning and midnight over seven days a week (but not bank holidays). An example shift pattern would be three early shifts (08:00—16:00), three late shifts (16:00—00:00) followed by three rest days.
Can I work part time?
During your initial training programme you will be expected to work full time. Standard working hours for a PCSO are 37 hours per week. Flexible working requests to reduce working hours will be considered on an individual case by case basis.
Where will I be based once I complete my training period?
Once you have completed your training period, you will be based within one of our Neighbourhood Policing Teams. You should note that you could be based anywhere within the North Yorkshire area, however we will make every effort to accommodate individual circumstances and requirements. We will balance operational requirements with individuals circumstances.
Will I be working on my own?
Once you complete your initial training period, you will be classed as independent. Depending upon the work you are undertaking, there may often be a requirement for you to work independently.
What is the annual leave entitlement?
All new starters are entitled to 24 days annual leave per year plus bank holidays, rising to 30 days annual leave after 5 years’ service.
Are there development opportunities available?
Currently there aren’t any progression opportunities available for PCSOs in relation to promotion, however there are a number of lateral development opportunities within specialist departments. Naturally, some PCSOs see their next step in terms of development as applying to become a Police Constable.
Who will be my line management?
You will work within one of our Neighbourhood Policing Teams, so will directly be line managed by a Neighbourhood Policing Team Sergeant and Inspector.