A NEW wave of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) are being recruited to work within South Gloucestershire.

The recruitment drive by Avon and Somerset Police will see new PCSOs working in the heart of the community, contributing to the policing of neighbourhoods, visibly patrolling and reassuring local people and working with partner agencies to solve local concerns and problems.

A total of 16 positions will be available, with the course starting in the Autumn.

Chief constable Andy Marsh said that since PCSOs were introduced in 2002, they have made “a real impact”.

He said: “At a time where the services required of the police have changed and grown, PCSOs have continued to provide a visible presence on the streets, working with local people, businesses and partners.

“We want to encourage people from all backgrounds in towns and villages across our force area, to apply.

“Our communities are becoming more diverse and for us to be truly effective, we need to represent all communities, whatever their faith, sexuality, ethnicity or disability.”

Police and crime commissioner Sue Mountstevens added that the support officers made a difference to the communities they work in.

“They help promote community safety and reduce the fear of crime with their proactive and visible presence. I continually hear considerable praise for our PCSOs from residents and I hope many more people consider this career within the police family.

“Avon and Somerset Police is particularly encouraging applications from diverse backgrounds. It’s essential that your police service represents the communities it serves.”

Applications, which open at 9am on Monday, May 22, and close at 5pm on Thursday, June 8, can be made here.

A live Q&A session is also being held by the force on their Facebook page on Thursday, May 25, from 6pm to 6.30pm. It will feature an expert panel answering questions from potential applicants have about the PCSO role or the recruitment process in general.

Questions can also be submitted in advance by sending Avon and Somerset Police a private Facebook message or using the hashtag #ASPoliceQ on Twitter.

Guidance is on offer to people from under-represented groups who are interested in becoming a PCSO.

The force’s representative workforce lead, Esther Wride, said: “We want to be an attractive employer for everyone. People from diverse backgrounds who have cultural and language skills benefit us in every way, making us more innovative, capable and inclusive and ultimately, to help us to provide a better service to local people.”

To contact Esther, email representativeworkforce@avonandsomerset.police.uk