Probation services officer PSO
Probation services officers (PSOs) supervise people serving community sentences or on licence from prison, helping with rehabilitation and the reduction of crime.
1. Entry requirements
You’ll need experience of working with people with challenging behaviour. You can get this through voluntary work or paid employment.
Although it's not essential, a lot of people who apply for this role have a level 3 vocational qualification like the Public Services Diploma or an NVQ in Community Justice, or A levels.
You’ll need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
Once you're employed as a probation services officer (PSO), you’ll need to complete the level 3 Diploma in Probation Practice within your first 12 months.
2. Skills required
- excellent communication and people skills
- the ability to handle challenging behaviour and stressful situations
- the ability to understand offending behaviour and motivate people
- organisational and time-management skills
3. What you'll do
As a PSO, you’ll do some of the same work as a qualified probation officer but you’ll only supervise medium and low risk offenders.
You’ll work for a regional probation service or community rehabilitation company and may be based in an office, prison or Approved Premises (hostel).
You’ll be part of a team responsible for different areas of probation service work, like supervising offenders on community sentences, or helping them address the issues that led them to offend.
Your day-to-day duties could include:
- gathering information and interviewing offenders, assessing their risk to the public
- preparing pre-sentence reports for courts
- delivering individual or group programmes to challenge offending behaviour
- helping clients get work or training, housing or drug/alcohol treatment
- arranging and supervising community work placements for offenders
- supervising and motivating residents living in Approved Premises
- supporting victims of crime
- recording information on offenders in line with national standards
You’ll also work with other agencies like the police, drug and alcohol services, social services, youth services, courts, housing, health and voluntary organisations.
PSOs on temporary contracts usually earn between £18 and £21 an hour.
These figures are a guide.
5. Working hours, patterns and environment
You’ll work 37 hours a week. This may include some evening or weekend work.
You’ll spend time visiting offenders and projects around the community.
6. Career path and progression
With experience, you could move into a supervisory role, or train as a probation officer.
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Last updated: 11 October 2017