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Avon and Somerset Police are looking for applicants from a wide range of backgrounds as PCSO recruitment opens

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Applications will open for Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) at noon on Monday 15th July 2019. Avon and Somerset Police are appealing to people with the rights skills with a range of life experiences to serve their communities in this vital role.

PCSOs are part of community police teams. They build relationships with local communities to provide reassurance and understand the policing issues that matter most to them. PCSOs work with individuals and partner agencies to support vulnerable people and solve local concerns and problems.

Due to the nature of the role, candidates can bring skills from a variety of life backgrounds. They may have come from a career in customer service or community liaison; they might have worked for another blue light organisation; they may have recently left college or university or be returning to work after raising a family.

The role offers flexible working patterns, which can work well around school times to help those with children and dependants maintain a positive work-life balance. The constabulary is also keen to attract candidates with the ability to speak multiple languages.

In return, the police force can offer successful applicants a starting salary of £20,115 plus shift pay and allowances, a government pension scheme and the opportunity to make a real difference to local communities in Bristol, Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Bath.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “PCSOs make a real difference to our communities by working to tackle the crimes and anti-social behaviour issues that matter to local people.  They help promote community safety and reduce the fear of crime with their proactive and visible presence.

“Neighbourhood policing is at the heart of our communities and is essential to ensuring Avon and Somerset remains a safe place to live and work.  Local people continually tell me how much their local neighbourhood policing teams, which include PCSOs, mean to them. 

“As with all Constabulary roles, it is important PCSOs reflect the communities they serve and applications are being encouraged from people from a diverse range of backgrounds.  Most importantly, if you are committed to helping and supporting your local community, becoming a PCSO could be the role for you, so don’t hesitate to apply.” 

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cullen said: “Being a PCSO is an exciting, rewarding and diverse job – no two days are the same. Placing themselves at the heart of our local communities, our PCSOs are hugely valued members of the policing family and are the bedrock of policing in Avon and Somerset.

“We’re encouraging people from all backgrounds to apply as we really want our PCSOs to be a reflection of the communities we serve. We need people with different perspectives and experiences working for us, so we can deliver the best possible service to the public.”

Quotes from PCSOs

Glastonbury PCSO Mel Rowlands has been in the role for 15 years.

“The role of a PCSO isn’t easy. Your community will rely on you at times of crisis in their lives. But it’s a privilege to be able to help people when they need it most.

“One day you could be laughing and smiling at a community coffee morning, and the next you could be helping someone to deal with a loss.

“Although it isn’t essential, having a bit of life experience behind you can really help you to empathise with people and to signpost them to someone who might be able to help.

“I also work closely with my colleagues. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and support each other as much as we can. As a PCSO, you are never alone.”

Bath city centre PCSO Abbie Bryant took on the role a year ago. She said: “I became a PCSO because I wanted to be out and about amongst the community solving problems and meeting people.

“The role fits in well with my life because we work alternate weekends and the shifts are flexible and sociable. I feel being a PCSO has massively improved my fitness because I’m walking miles every shift without even realising and I really see the benefits of this.

“My favourite thing about the job is the team I work with and the fact that no two days are the same. I enjoy my job and I never dread coming to work plus you meet lots of lovely people and feel good when you know you’ve done a good job.”

PCSO Sam Bushen, who covers the Taunton Rural beat, has been in the role for more than five years, after he worked in retail security.

He said: “When I applied, I originally wanted to use the PCSO role as a potential ‘stepping stone’ to help me one day with applying to be a police officer. But I quickly realised when I started this role that I had no intentions of doing that, because of the enjoyment I was getting from my PCSO role.

“I have the ability and time to go into schools, engaging with children and giving them advice on how to be safe and teach them about respect and how we are approachable. I am able to comfort a vulnerable elderly person into knowing they aren’t alone and that there is someone to talk to if they need it. And I can solve persistent issues across my beat. Every day is without a doubt different. 

“Having two children, I also have a flexible shift pattern, which is really helpful. Being a PCSO isn’t a career, it’s a lifestyle choice. The way you see life will change but that isn’t a negative. You see the world in a different way, but knowing you have helped bring justice, support and care to victims or those involved with the police is very rewarding.”

Weston-super-Mare PCSO Remi Prierra has been in the role for 11 years. Before joining the police, he played semi-professional football for Paulton Rovers, Slimbridge, Chipping Norton and many others.

He said: “The role enables you to be the bridge between the police and community. I also wanted to make a difference in regards to the negative perception the BME community had about the police. I have no regrets in joining the police and doing this role.”

When asked what he would say to anyone thinking of applying to become a PCSO, he added: “This is a perfect opportunity to be able to give back to the community and work with amazing people who have diverse backgrounds and experiences. The role would enhance your interpersonal and communication skills, it would boost your ability to interact with different people of all races, sex, colour and religious backgrounds. The role broadens your knowledge and you would be provided with excellent training from some excellent experts. It is an opportunity of a lifetime and it cannot be missed. If you’re looking for a career with a decent wage and the opportunity to make an impact within your community, this is it!”

PCSO Libby Speechly, who covers Parkwall and Bitton, in South Gloucestershire, said: “Before I came to policing I was working in a museum in Yorkshire as a Viking. This was after university before I decided to move down to Bristol.

“I have now been a PCSO for three years and wouldn’t look back. I work as part of a really tight team. It might sound cliché, but very day is different, every day is a challenge and I love the beat I work and the people I work with. The brilliant thing about being a PCSO is you can do what interests you – schools engagement, intelligence, dealing with ASB, helping out the beat managers on investigations, community projects, road safety, safeguarding, the world is your oyster!”

PCSO Aaron Scott, for Bristol North Central and Broadmead, said: “The chance to help vulnerable people and make their lives better is very much what drew me to this role. After passing recruitment, I found the role to be demanding at times, but very rewarding. I love the freedom that patrolling around your beat offers you. It’s such a great feeling building relationships with your community and knowing that you’re making a difference and people feel safer. My best career move to date!”

Applications open at noon on Monday 15th July and close at midnight Sunday 28th July. You can find out more about the role and apply here: https://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/about-us/recruitment/police-community-support-officers-(pcsos)/

Posted on Thursday 11th July 2019
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