FOUR community support officers have become the first in their police force to earn a special certificate.

The quartet of Police and Community Support Officers (PCSOs) completed a City and Guilds Certificate in Policing, undertaking training in supporting victims and witnesses, managing conflict and responding to incidents.

They were presented with their new qualifications by Durham Police Superintendent Kerrin Smith at police headquarters yesterday (Monday, November 17).

Supt Smith said: “This is a new qualification designed to help professionalise the PCSO role.

“Officers are not obliged to complete it and this is the first time that Durham has offered it as a force, so I’m delighted to present these certificates.

“We all know that resources are tight, so I’m extremely proud that we’re able to offer our PCSOs the chance to continue their professional development and add academic qualifications to their practical skills in the current climate. I look forward to seeing many more officers achieve their qualification over the coming months.”

PCSO Emma Donnelly said: “I was really keen to take on this extra qualification and gain some additional skills to assist me in performing my role as a PCSO.

“It’s been very interesting and the topics covered have all been very useful and relevant to the job. I’m looking forward to putting it all into practice now.”