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Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) provide a vital link between the communities they serve and the police service. They don't have the same powers as regular officers or their Special Constabulary colleagues, but still carry a lot of responsibility.

They conduct high-visibility patrols, acting as a crime deterrent and helping to inspire public confidence, while also offering support to officers at crime scenes and large events.

Their role also includes dealing with minor offences, providing crime prevention advice and helping to tackle antisocial behaviour.

Applicants are required to provide evidence in support of all minimum criteria, as detailed on the respective role profile in order to progress to the next stage of the recruitment and selection process. Subsequent selection processes will follow. This evidence should be provided at the end of the application in the section entitled; knowledge, skills and experience. You may type this information on a separate Word document if you wish to. There is no maximum or minimum length for this section.


Residency criteria

The need for the residency rule arises from the requirement to vet all applicants in an equitable manner. This is because the UK police service does not currently have any means of facilitating vetting enquiries overseas to the extent required for those who are resident in the UK.

The purpose of the residency criteria is to ensure that applicants have a checkable history in the UK, so that meaningful vetting enquiries can be undertaken. The criteria provide reassurance when considering the health and safety of police personnel and the public. Effective vetting cannot be conducted if there is no way to assess the honesty, integrity, reliability and overall suitability for clearance of appointees against the information available.

The residency requirements refer to the period immediately before an application is made, and not any other three-, five-, or ten-year period, or any other accumulation of time spent in the UK.

Application of the residency criteria

If an individual resides permanently in the UK, they are considered to be a UK resident.

An individual who has moved overseas and severed major ties to the UK (e.g., closed bank accounts and sold property) is considered to have surrendered their residency in the UK. This would also apply to people who maintain bank accounts purely for the purpose of receiving regular payments, e.g., a UK pension.

An individual is considered to be on an extended holiday if they have:

• spent a significant period of time overseas without returning to the UK, but intend to return in the future
• taken a gap year before or following university
• travelled for a year
• spent time overseas visiting family.

This is not an exhaustive list.

Individuals who meet the above criteria maintain their UK residency and may therefore be considered for vetting clearance.

Serving with the HMG or armed forces

An individual who has been posted overseas as part of their service with HMG or the armed forces is considered to have been resident in the UK for the period that they were abroad.

Where an individual has been overseas as the spouse, partner or dependent of a member of the armed forces posted overseas, they can be considered to have been resident in the UK if their place of residence was within the confines of the establishment, e.g., a military base. If they were residing outside this, they are considered to have been resident overseas.

For the purposes of force vetting, the following residency requirements apply:

• recruitment vetting (RV) – three years 
• management vetting (MV) – five years 
• non-police personnel vetting (NPPV) – three years

Page last updated: 02 February 2018