Should I become a Special Constable or PCSO before applying to the regulars?

In times gone by, when there was very little police recruitment going on, being a special constable had the effect of letting you gain evidence for your application form, collate examples to use at your interview, and maybe developed some skills you can use at assessment.

So it was worth doing. Having said that, these days things have changed. In reality, there is a good chance that applying to the specials or being a PCSO is likely to take as long to get a start date as becoming a regular officer. Some of those application form and interview questions will be the same. Plus when you get in, some forces insist that you stay in role for two years before applying for anything else (such as a regular officer, although they cannot stop you applying for another force of course).

So, being honest, unless you think your force will not be recruiting for a long time, I would suggest there is not much point. You could argue that you will get experience of the role before committing to the police service, and that is true. Although to be honest if you are not convinced you want to be a police officer, then to be honest, maybe its not the career for you anyway.

If you are certain you want to join, then unless there is a real advantage is being a  special or PCSO, then we would not bother. We are not being disparaging, they have their place in the organisation. But if it will take you as long to be a special as it will be to become a regular, what’s the point?