Happy Valley PCSO Blog

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About this blog

The journey to becoming a PCSO, its medical, trial and tribulations

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HappyValleyNewbie

Training and Starting

Good Lord! It's ages since I have had a moment to come back and have a look on here since I last posted, but really, time has flown. I have completed the training and now have started my 10 weeks tutorship. 

The 8 weeks training was great, at times I was a little stressed, like when there was a rumour that the officer safety training would have me doing the bleep test 2 days running, but that was nonsense. You can do it, if you want to and the whole class is under 25 or gym fans but ours were very sensible and allowed me to warm up at my abilities. In the end I really enjoyed it. I never thought that punching, kneeing and twisting people's joints to the limit whilst shouting " GET BACK!!"  would be so enjoyable. Daily knowledge checks using trump cards became a bind, so half an hours revision a night doesn't go amiss. However it took me to week 6 to finally nail the when and now cautions, in the end the daughter had to spend 3 hours teaching me the meanings and breaking it down before it stuck. Try singing it to a tune or rhythm it worked for me. You will get to know your basic laws and be expected to recite their definitions. I pinned print outs all over the house, good if you have a memory like a knat like me. But, don't worry, it all just clicks into place... eventually. The final exam for me was a multiple choice exam, don't fret about it all through the course, when you see the questions you will be amazed at how much you have learned. 

The best thing about the course is the friends you will make. I was the oldest by a loooong way but that made no difference at all and I guarantee you will make friends for life. There was 15 on our Cohort and every one of them were different and fabulous. Their struggles, life events during the course like deaths or births in the family, their sense of humour and even personality clashes will set you up for the world of PCSO and carry you through the course. I recommend a WatsAp group, you can support each other during and after the course and keep contact when you have all scattered to your own districts at the end of it ( the saddest time of the course) 

At this point, I wish you the best of luck on your course. Trust me, you will enjoy it and be proud at the end of it no matter what your circumstances. I know that a lot of you will have taken a pay cut and huge career change for what ever reason, leaving often really top professional jobs, some of you will be fresh from uni or perhaps coming from the breadline, or a struggling single parent. You will all bring something to the table and for that reason I am very proud of you even if I don't know you. :)

So I passed and now out in the Valleys expanding on the basics they taught us on the course. I have an experienced tutor which I will stay with for at least 10 weeks, it may be different where you are. Advice? Well, I hope you got the best boots for your feet. As you are aware, I'm not the fittest of people.  I'm a middle aged mum of 4 that has for the last 20 years used every muscle in her body, bar the ones you use to walk with. Add the weight of the body armour, tack vest, radio, body cam and all the inventory of the store Staples and you can imaging the pain I seem to be permantly in. At the end of the shift and the hour drive home, I am being very honest when I say the walk up the garden path is excruciating. Everyone tells you that you will get used to it and the benefits in the long run will be amazing. Well, I'm still waiting for that and every time I strip off the gear I expect to see a sweaty pain free size 12 there, it hasn't happened yet. I work in hope. Moral of this tale is prepare if you can before and during your course. If not, like me, then keep telling yourself that you bring a lot of experience and other beneficial talents to the job and force other than a fit athletic youth that can cover between 15 and 20 miles a day. This has been my downside of my career change so far, sometimes reducing me to tears and wondering if I have done the right thing. But I remind myself that I'm not going to jack it because things have got physically tough and I do my best. A little meeting with my sergeant to explain my limits too helped. They really are great, don't be afraid of them. 

P.S. Drink lots of water, apparently it desolves the lactic acid. Hmmmm

So what have I done so far in my brief tutorship? Well I have collected CCTV. Who would have thought it had a system to follow? I thought you would have just said " Hi! I've come for the CCTV! "And then trotted off back to the station with evidence in hand for the awaiting PC . There's more to it so pay attention in the evidence gathering lesson. I've played Tom and Jerry with the youths... a lot. Been handed found drugs and dealt with that, attended burglarys, admitted intelligence and been offered my very own tea spot.  My favourite so far? Scene Guard. Now I know that makes most PCSO's and PC's tremble at the knees and perhaps throw there hands up in the air and I suppose I will eventually get there too, but right now I loved it. Bar from the lack of walking which is always a plus for me at the moment, it was the engagement with the public that I loved. From little kiddies waving to teenagers trying to wrestle out of me what has happened to adults passing the time of day with you. Some offering tea or ginger biscuits and yes the odd crazy making you lift your eyebrows at their oddities. Though I don't want to happen what has happened to cause the scene guard, I have no problem volunteering for it... at the moment. Tip, take a big coat and make sure it's near you to put on even if you feel warm. The temperature can just suddenly plummet and you can't tootle off and leave your area to get it. 

Anyway, that's me so far. If it helps just one starting and gives an idea of what's coming then I'm happy and to all you oldies that I KNOW at some point will have thought " when I was a wee whipper snapper of a bobbie, and we had to put body armour on, it was much heavier with metal plates front and back.." during reading this, I say what ever Robocop! Bet you haven't given birth to four kids and make Yorkshire Puddings like I can, so nerr. 

Till next time folks, take care and don't be a hero without applying the NDM first! :D

HappyValleyNewbie

PCSO Blog and boots

So I'm convalescing. I had a BCC tumour on my snozzle, sounds gross and a little wow but really it was nothing, other than making me look like a cast member of The Wizzard of Oz. OH of course had a melt down during my recruitment process but after lots of letters and phone calls my surgeon reassured them that it was nothing and I wasn't going to keel over on guard duty because of it, they were fine.  Well, it's been whipped off by a very nice surgeon from Oxford and the skin graft has taken well. So I'm walking around work scaring all the staff at WYP with the big plaster I have over my nose whilst trying to blend in. At this point, when what they said came to pass, that I won't have a gaping hole in my face to scare the locals but something that looks like I've gone through the front door on my horse ( mounted police will know what I mean) I decided it was time to go get my boots. 

Go Outdoors have a huge selection of walking, climbing, and hicking boots. I'm very glad that I don't do this hobby as I think there was rather a lot of kudos in what boots you are trying on and carrying around looking for an assistant. Really, I watched the customers for a while and there's lots of ' mistake there mate' and ' ha! He's going to know about that mistake at one and half thousand feet' looks. Couples were actually sniggering amongst themselves at other people's choices  and looking smug at their own£300 purchases. 

I looked for the options I had, which basically was a very small stand with 4 different boot styles by Magnum for the conciencious plod. I know there's loads on the internet but I don't have the legs and feet of a model so I need to try them on. My husband will verify that shopping on the Internet just results in lots of unused footwear taking up the bottom of the wardrobe. I'm not good at returning them. Anyway, I took my daughter, a BTP officer to give me some advice. I picked up the Magnum 8.0 Panthas. The rise is quite high and I was hoping they had a selection with a lower ankle support. I could always get the others when I walk off some of that BMI the police doctor was so worried about. They didn't have any and I really wanted to walk around with the other twonks looking smug at my very own boots so I tried them on. Well, they were ace! Comfy, light, they had that area that training school teachers like you to spend hours bulling and the heel was slightly risen so I would get that 'plantar fasciitis' I got from walking for miles just to watch the Tour De Yorkshire scream past at Mach 5. The laces are plenty long enough for me to loosen and still have enough to do a decent bow tie and a handy zip at the side you can use when you have them tied just right with the laces, making it easier and quicker to put them on or take off. The high rise was comfortable, and I actually found that they supported the back of my lower leg. Daughter says she has the same boots and she does actually slightly lean back into the rise when doing standing around operations as it eases her feet a little and keeps the blood flowing. 

Downside. I thought they made me look a bit butch. But, a little make up can counter that and anyway, I still wanted to be smug and walk around with my 'real' boots, so I picked them. I enjoyed every moment, even took photos like it was a puppy I had purchased. I didn't even let that customer at the till that was obviously an old timer PC dampen my mood when he saw what I was buying and do that little shake of the head whilst looking at something on the ceiling. It was real now! I had boots and my daughter is right, you don't feel that it's real until you buy and  put on your first police boots .

I have been advised of course to start wearing them, break them in, and I will, but for now they are taking pride of place in the living room where I can keep proudly opening the box and looking at those shiny new police boots and tell myself I am, really, I am, doing the right thing  

:)

 

HappyValleyNewbie

PCSO Blog

I shall post my experiences as I go along, so others can compare or have an idea what's going to happen or what was different for them. If I bore anyone just scroll past :) it's going to be a sort of Blog. For you exciting OSU or firearms officers with your really cool uniforms ( or so says my daughter ) please feel free to scroll on by :)

ok, so after passing all the requirements back in 2014, I sadly got the email telling me that due to Buget cuts, the whole of the 80 odd PCSO's would be shelved. I always wanted to be a police officer and now being in my middle years and after having 4 children ( forgot to say I'm of the female variety )  I pretty much thought " that's that then :( " but, seeing as 90% of my family are either was an officer, is an officer or are on the route to learn how to be an officer, I didn't give in and applied for a staff job at WYP. 

Then I got the email in February asking if was still interested and, of course, I replied yes, very much yes, yes yes. I wouldn't need to go through all the tests and role play again, just the medical. But, with WYP employing PC's as well at the same time it's not until now that I have finally been made an offer and a start date for training on the 24th October. 

The medical was a story on its own and I wouldn't tell it to my colleagues till they were all present. It wasn't bad or hard, but did include a back fastening disposable gown and some unwanted bed hygiene paper stuck somewhere undesirable whilst doing the movement tests. It made the staff laugh, I will just say to make a tale short, make sure you wear nice matching underwear and certainly nothing thong like. This is when big knickers has no shame. 

I passed the medical, which of course is the most important thing, to be a PCSO. The doctor told me if I wanted to be a PC he would stop it there as my BMI was basically through the roof. I was thinking it's basically reaching the heights of Emley Moor Mast, but hey ho, I'm sure I'll walk it off. 

Then next contact was with the lovely gent in charge of PCSO recruitment, who on the phone offered me the post and told me I had been posted to Calderdale. He doesn't know where in Calderdale, I would find that out later in training. So, laptop out and find all the stations in Calderdale, routes there in summer and of course in winter when we have two foot of snow to battle... Todmordon? Gosh. Fingers crossed on that one then.

Later In the day I got an email telling me my collar number and a link to the new starters website at WYP. ( this is seriously out of date, I must remember to tell HR that they are knocking the building down that all the extension numbers relate to) and an instruction to buy good quality leather boots that can be buffed. So I've looked on here and seen the favourites. £150+?!? 

I'll visit Go Outdoors and see what Magnums they have on offer :D

Collegues have started to ask questions at work. They're mean ( in a nice way) and talk about the cold, the sleet and unruly teenagers. Outwardly, it's not working, I live on the moors and have four grown up kids. Inside I'm thinking " oh hell, what have I done?"

So here I am. At this moment, wanting a friend to face it with. My next post will be about the boots. See you then :)

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