PCSO entry routes

Two new Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) entry routes have been developed – an apprenticeship and a non-apprenticeship route.

We anticipate that the first recruits via these routes will join early adopter forces from spring 2019, although the recruitment process will start earlier than this.

Police Community Support Officers provide reassurance to communities and vital support to police officers. You must be able to communicate effectively and calmly in difficult situations, address problems and concerns, and to offer comfort and reassurance to the public in order to succeed as a PCSO.

This community-based public-facing role will allow you to apply a wide variety of professional knowledge, understanding and skills across a range of complex and challenging situations. 

A key feature of the new PCSO entry routes is an enhanced connection between professional learning and professional practice.

  • Level 4 PCSO Apprenticeship entry programme (England) (the End-Point Assessment is only applicable to England).
  • Level 4 PCSO Apprenticeship entry programme (Wales)  (details of the Apprenticeship Framework (identity number: FR04078) are via the link)
  • Level 4 (non-apprenticeship) PCSO entry programme

Forces can work with different awarding bodies for you to gain this Level 4 qualification.  The professional curriculum covered and the level of professional education and competence you will achieved is identical.

  • an Ofqual-regulated Awarding Organisation (in which case the qualification is titled a Level 4 Diploma in Community Policing Practice)


  • a Higher Education Provider (in which case the qualification is titled a Level 4 HE Certificate in Community Policing Practice)

Qualifications required and how do I apply?

Applications are submitted through your preferred force, and you should check eligibility and recruitment windows locally.  

The College of Policing's web pages have further information about recruitment and the new police constable entry routes.

Online help

You can find job vacancies, along with volunteering and development opportunities across the police service online. Sign up to the on-line recruitment virtual event, you can also chat to those who are doing the jobs. This is a great way to take your first step towards a career in the police service.

National PCSO handbook

The PCSO handbook is an operational guide for PCSOs, their supervisors and the wider service; providing guidance on their role and purpose, deployment, relevant legislation and powers.  This replaces a previous 2015 version to reflect the contemporary operating landscape.

The Equality Impact Analysis 

Implementation of the new entry routes for police community support officer.

Read the Equality Impact Analysis here.

The College of Policing uses cookies to collect and analyse information about the users of this website. We use this information to enhance the content and other services available on the site. By continuing to use our site, you are agreeing for us to set a small number of cookies. You can manage your preferences for Cookies at any time, for more information please see our Cookies Policy.