Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) being used as Police Officer Apprenticeships

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2012 Police & Justice Conference
14 June 2012

This Conference notes the increasing use of the PCSO position as a stepping-stone into the rank of Constable. Some forces, including the Metropolitan Police, now require new Police Officers to serve a period of time as either a PCSO or a Special Constable before becoming a Police Officer.

This Conference believes that the role of a PCSO is a vital position, unique from that of a Police Officer, and should not simply be used as a testing ground for future Constables. This undermines the position of a PCSO, enforces the ‘plastic bobby’ stereotype and does not endear the right people to want to become PCSOs. However this conference recognises that a number of our members have aspirations to become police officers and we remain committed to helping them achieve their ambitions.

This conference believes that requiring future Police Officers to either volunteer as Special Constables or serve as a PCSO for a period of time prior to being able to apply to become a Police Officer is morally wrong. With regards to Special Constables, it is akin to the position of using unpaid interns; it discourages those who can’t afford to be volunteers from becoming Police Officers, people should be paid the appropriate rate for the work they do and it could have a huge impact on the future diversity of Police Forces. With regards to PCSOs, it forces people to do a job that they may not want to do, with no guarantee of employment as a Police Officer.

This Conference calls on the National Police and Justice Service Group Executive to

1)Oppose the practice of future Police Officers being required to spend a period of time as PCSOs or Special Constables before being able to apply to be a Constable.

2)Produce guidance for branches on how to oppose this practice being implemented at a local level.

3)Promote the good work done by our PCSO members, and to highlight the difference between their role and the role of a Constable.

4)Utilise all available channels to ensure that the message of this motion is communicated as far as possible.