A PCSO in Scotland is different from the job profile in England and Wales, where a PCSO is the abbreviation for a Police Community Support Officer. In Scotland, the abbreviation refers to a Police Custody and Security Officer, which is a completely different job.
The posting will be within a police station, rather than in the community, where you’ll be responsible for the care of people brought into custody. Your main duties will be supervise prisoners in custody, and play a part in the transportation of prisoners to courts, hospitals, prison, or arrange temporary holdings at other police stations, in situations when prisoners need transported to different districts for court hearings.
Any crime that’s committed, the Police Officers will be the people out in the communities, such as what the PCSOs in England and Wales do. When the police bring those people into custody, in Scotland it’s the duties of the PCSO to first book them in at the custody desk, then monitor the safety of people brought into custody by the police. There may be occasions when people are boisterous when police bring them into custody, and on those occasions you will be required to assist officers maintain control of the custody area, and help with getting people into the cells, while they calm down. You’ll be dealing with many different people and sometimes the crimes can be heinous, while others aren’t. You’ll need to maintain discretion, which will require strong people skills.
To become a PCSO in Scotland, you only need to have good GCSE grades. There’s no formal qualifications required as all the training you need will be provided by the police force. The only experience looked for is for those with a history of supervising the welfare of people, as that will show you have a clear understanding of what you’ll be required to do
. At the custody desk, you’ll be required to log each person into the custody area. That will see you filling out paperwork with personal details of each person brought into custody. You’ll also have their possessions to be processed for safekeeping whilst they’re in custody.
The most important quality you will have is the ability to remain calm under pressure. Excellent communication skills will be required as you’ll be dealing with prisoners, police officers, senior ranking officers, as well as legal professionals looking to speak with their clients
. The holding area for prisoners must be kept clean as well, so while you’ll be dealing with people, you also need to be aware of health and safety, and maintain a clean environment, both in the custody reception area, and within the holding cells.
The main work you’ll be doing is assisting with the supervision of inmates, in temporary custody, ensuring they’re properly cared for, supplied with food, water and treated with respect, while in custody. That’s where you will need the communication skills to excel in this field of work. You’ll be dealing with people from all walks of life, and you will have to treat them with respect and dignity, ensuring they’re cared for in line with the Police Regulations.