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Police Community Support OfficersCultures and Identities within Pluralised Policing$
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Megan O'Neill

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198803676

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198803676.001.0001

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Becoming a Police Community Support Officer and Being Institutionally Undermined

Becoming a Police Community Support Officer and Being Institutionally Undermined

(p.79) 4 Becoming a Police Community Support Officer and Being Institutionally Undermined
Police Community Support Officers

Megan O'Neill

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the process of becoming a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO), from deciding to apply for the position to the initial training experiences and the first few months of shadowing experienced colleagues on foot patrol. The focus of this chapter is on the relationship between the individual PCSOs and the police institution. It considers the stages of initiation into community policing which PCSOs experienced and how the organization failed to fully equip these new recruits with the ‘tools’ needed. While work as a PCSO initially was attractive to these individuals, the reality upon entering the occupation was that many were left to learn for themselves how to do the work. The organization did not give consistent messages in this regard or adequate support in order for them to learn in a formal capacity how to do the job: this process will be called ‘institutional undermining’.

Keywords:   Police Community Support Officer, Police Community Support Officer recruitment, Police Community Support Officer training, Police Community Support Officer initiation, institutional undermining, shadowing, classroom training, organizational socialization, Police Community Support Officer skills

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