Police Support Unit

Here you will find information on the careers that are available within the UK Police Service.

The role of the Support Units are to provide a wide range of specialist services in addition to high visibility core policing.

PSU are very flexible and can be brought in to different areas at short notice to assist local officers.

This could be to Police football matches, demonstrations, to make a purge on a particular problem area, or to assist during large scale operations such as missing person searches, looking for murder weapons or evidence in a large area.

The core functions of a Support Unit are:

  • Apprehension of violent/deranged people
  • Security/VIP searches
  • Military convoy escort
  • Prisoner escorts
  • Searches for missing people/evidence
  • Public order training
  • Public order response
  • Method of entry (MOE)
  • Public order instructors/ tactical advisors
  • Security in relation to the Terrorism Act 2000
  • Initial response to suspect explosive devices
  • Police search advisors and co-ordinators
  • Missing person search managers chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) response
  • Pool of authorised firearm officers
  • High profile, proactive, intelligence-led patrols.

Other PSU elements

These Police Suport Units are generally open to experienced officers who join them for temporary periods and they are classified in 3 grades according to the level of training they have attained. All training is done in accordance to the common minimum standards as defined in the ACPO Public Order Tactical Trainers Manual.

Level 1 - Officers who have received regular training which can be every 5 weeks in shield tactics, violent person, petrol bombing and training in house entry and search.
PSU at Level 1 must be active and fit. They should be able to run 1000 metres, dressed in full protective equipment whilst carrying a long shield, in under 6 minutes.

Level 2 - These officers are drawn from Boroughs, Divisions or Areas and some specialist units.
Their training is exactly the same as Level 1 but they are required to attend the training only twice a year for two days. Level 2 officers must be able to run 500 metres dressed in full protective equipment whilst carrying a long shield in under 2 mins 45 secs.

Level 3 - All other police officers are classed as being level 3 trained, this they will have received in their last week at training school, their training includes all foot duty cordons, and mounted branch deployments.

The above gives a brief overview of the Police Support Units.

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