Prison Custody Officer

When you hear ‘prison officer’, what do you think? Locks and keys? Or the rare opportunity to make a genuine difference to people’s lives?

Truth is, they’re both right. On a day-to-day basis, our prison custody officers (PCO) help to ensure the smooth running of the prison, from maintaining systems to building relationships. But on a much broader level, your focus will be on acting as a positive role model in all you do — and ultimately, making that vital difference.

Team spirit shines through in every location, with close-knit teams on hand to support, coach and share their experiences. And we offer excellent training, as well as clear paths for career progression — whether that’s across Justice Services in another of our varied roles, or higher within your chosen field.


What makes a great prison custody officer?

Becoming a PCO is a vocation — and focused on people. That means you’ll need the understanding, compassion and communication skills to build relationships with people from all walks of life. Of course, you’ll also have to balance this with your ability to maintain your authority and a safe, secure environment.

If you’re looking for a fresh career challenge or the chance to build on your passion for delivering a high standard of custodial care, you’ll enjoy using your problem-solving skills and life experiences where they matter most.

As we’re far more interested in your attitude and outlook, you won’t need any previous experience or formal educational qualifications. However, you will need plenty of energy, some IT skills, the ability to write reports and the judgement and interpersonal skills needed to facilitate conflict resolution.

Huge variety

No two days will be the same and your specific responsibilities depend on the area you work in. That said, the average week is roughly 40 hours and based on shifts that vary from 6-13 hours, including some nights. It’ll also involve some weekends, although generally not more than every other one. As we’re a 24/7 operation, flexibility is key.

What being a PCO means to me…

“It gives me a sense of pride, as I genuinely feel that I’m contributing to the rehabilitation of offenders. I quickly learnt that they’re human beings that have mostly fallen on desperate times. To be able to impact on people’s lives is one of my greatest achievements...