Meet the CCSOs officers tackling anti-social behaviour

If you’ve visited a town or city centre in the past few years, then you may have noticed a new type of security service in action. While we’re all used to seeing security guards manning the doors of hospitality venues and retail premises, officers are now also being employed to help keep the peace in public areas too.

Local authorities and business improvement districts (BIDs) across the UK, are increasingly calling on the services of professional security companies to help tackle the problem of anti-social behaviour. The use of such officers providing a visible security presence for visitors, while supporting retailers and overall helping to create a more inviting environment.

So, how do city centre patrols work? And what kind of skills and attributes might you need to be successful as a City Centre Security Officer (CCSO)?  

   We caught up with Paul Howe, Founder and MD of Venture Security, whose CCSOs are currently active in Winchester, Andover and Salisbury, to find out more.

What are City Centre Security patrols?

Anti-social behaviour can take many forms and for retailers, local residents and visitors, it can be very unpleasant to encounter. Whether it’s individuals partaking in substance or alcohol abuse, petty crime, begging, or criminal damage being committed, situations can often arise that are threatening, alarming or disruptive to the public. The longer, lighter days of the summer months often leading to a rise in this type of behaviour.

At Venture, our CCSOs will patrol a set area of the town or city – including well known anti-social behaviour hotspots – taking the appropriate action to deal with any issues they might come across. These patrols will generally be carried out in pairs, with each officer being supplied with a specialist uniform complete with body worn camera.

While on the surface, it may appear to be a straightforward assignment, it is a role that encompasses so much more. As such, it’s one that requires a certain skill set.

As well as dealing with anti-social behaviour, our CCSOs – sometimes referred to as ‘Rangers’ – will support retailers with issues such as shoplifting, being on call whenever they are needed; they will provide a customer service role and be a point of contact for visitors; and will help street attached individuals find the support they need. 

They also regularly provide first aid and mental health first aid to members of the public, and in covid times, even assisted several councils in delivering their Covid-19 marshalling requirements too.

Importantly, they sit at the heart of a partnership model, liaising between all the key stakeholders involved including local councils, BIDs, the police and other frontline services, as well as homeless charities and support organisations. So having strong communication skills are hugely important.

What’s the best thing about being a CCSO?

Our CCSOs tell us that one of the main things they like about the role is the variety. No two days are ever the same and each day comes with its own challenges. They also really enjoy the customer service aspect – talking to and meeting new people – and take pride in helping deliver a safer and more pleasant environment for visitors, residents and businesses. 

What do you need to be a CCSO?

Any officer working in a CCSO capacity should have either an SIA Door Supervisor or Close Protection Licence, due to the element of conflict management required in the role. Strong conflict management skills are essential to ensure incidents are dealt with in a timely, measured and professional way, in line with the SIA’s and police expectations

At Venture, many of our officers have also gone on to achieve CSAS accreditation, meaning they have some additional, low level police powers, allowing them to make an even greater impact and take further pressure off the police.

Key skills and traits you need to be a CCSO

  • Decision making

You must be able to think on your feet and decide on the best course of action to take, no matter what situation you may be up against, including knowing when to call for backup and support from the wider team, or relevant authorities.

  • Critical thinking

You need an analytical mind that can read any situation accurately, to assess the potential risks and outcomes. You also need to be able to recall details and information, for example to support situations involving the police.

  • Confidence and humility

You need to have the confidence to be able to handle any situation that may arise, no matter how challenging or unexpected. To know the rules and apply your training to deliver on the outcomes agreed with the customer. That said, a CCSO needs to remain humble and to treat people as you would expect to be treated.

  • Strong communication

You must be able to communicate with individuals across all levels and walks of life, including stakeholders, members of the public, residents and retailers. With an ability to read body language and other visual and verbal cues. Our CCSOs are expected to attend key stakeholder meetings, so they must be able to suitably represent the company in a professional setting.  

  • Calm under pressure and conflict management

CCSOs regularly find themselves face-to-face with challenging individuals, who can be abusive and aggressive. Remaining calm and defusing the situation as quickly as possible is therefore essential. 

  • Customer service skills

A large part of the role is talking to and aiding the public, in a way that will leave a positive impression. Our CCSOs are not only representing Venture but our customers too.

  • Being non-judgemental

Finally, there can be many reasons why someone might be engaging in antisocial behaviour. You need the ability to listen, without preconception or judgement. This is one of the most important, yet challenging skills for any officer.

To find out more, including to view current vacancies at Venture Security, visit: