As week four draws to a close I thought I'd give you another update of our training so far. Sorry for the delay between this post and the last, it's been a busy time and to be honest I wasn't sure if anyone was still interested in reading!
In my last post I mentioned our Attestation, so I suppose that is a good place to start for this post.
It took place on Friday 16th December and we were told we could invite family members and partners to the ceremony and that it would be a great chance for them to get a glimpse into what it was we'd been doing while we were away from home. I decided to invite my mum, stepdad, nan and partner, and none of them had any idea what to expect as nobody in my family has any Police background, so I think it was a bit of a shock to them to be honest. We walked in (yes walked, we hadn't been taught to march yet!) and took our seats in front of the crowd of family and staff as well as those who we would be attesting to, all dressed up in our tunics that we'd spent all morning de-fluffing and waited nervously for our turn to stand up and read out the attestation. For anyone who, like me, didn't have a clue what attesting meant, it's basically swearing your life away. You promise to do your duty and serve the Queen in what seems like the longest and most tongue-twisting speech ever and then are issued with your Warrant Card, certificate and therefore your powers as a Police Officer. Our Sergeant made a really great speech which I think resonated with my mum especially, as she said it made her realise that not only am I now a Police Officer, but that my family is now the family of a Police Officer, and that we are all part of something that has all these rules and expectations that make us much more responsible for the things we do and say than a regular citizen. It was even quite an emotional affair, I know I wasn't the only one who felt a bit overwhelmed by the whole ceremony, in a good way, as it all of a sudden felt very real - we knew what our job was and what we had a duty to do, and that this was now our lives. Plus, the warrant cards are pretty cool.
Since the Attestation it's been a whirlwind of legislation, definitions, role plays and knowledge checks. We did our First Aid training and scene management as well as talking through PACE, which I now understand is basically a Police Officer's bible. We've done Evidence and different types of witnesses, covered Diversity and how to take a statement and even written a statement ourselves, which was a pretty funny story. We were in class one morning waiting for the trainers to start, when someone we've had contact with through HR all through the application process walked into the room and shouted at one of our trainers and slapped him across the face, really, really hard. We all sat there in shock thinking oh my god what is going on, and our trainers chased her out the room. They let us sit there staring with our mouths open at the door for a few minutes before all returning to tell us it was just an exercise and that now we were to write up a PNB entry and statement on the assault we had just witnessed! If that's not a hands-on way of getting us to write a pretty decent statement then I'm not sure what is!
Just before Christmas we had an input from OST, which is Officer Safety Training and basically all the physical stuff. It was only classroom based so I'm really looking forward to getting into the gym for that side of things. Christmas was a nice break from it all but it felt weird to be back home for such a long amount of time! I've also already noticed changes in my home and personal life, I live in a small town so it's no secret that I've changed my job and now wear a uniform and all over Christmas I was asked hundreds of questions, mostly from family and friends but even from a few people I've only spoken to once or twice in my whole life. I suppose it's exciting but it's also made me a feel a little bit vulnerable, I think it'll be a process to get used to it all, because as one of our trainers said, you become kind of a 'celebrity' in your town, you're doing something that not everyone does, it's exciting and interesting and people want to know in the ins and outs... and if you have a taser, have you ever been tasered, have you tasered anyone yet, have you been sprayed in the eye, can you arrest me, are you going to arrest me... People think you're suddenly a Super Hero, they think you know all the legislation that ever existed and that, despite having only been training for 3 weeks, they think you can solve everything and know the answer to everything! I've come back feeling a bit out of the loop and it took a while on Wednesday morning to get back into 'Police Officer mode' to be honest!
Since Christmas it's been pretty strong on definitions, we had a definition check this morning on Theft, Criminal Damage, Going Equipped and Burglary, I think it went alright but I did struggle with Burglary. There's so many 'policey' words that I've never used before in my life that are now going to become part of my everyday vocabulary, it's a strange prospect! It's also been really interesting doing role plays, for example today we did Summons and yesterday we did How to Arrest, so giving reasons and necessity and presenting to a Custody Sergeant. The first couple of times getting up and acting in front of everyone made you feel a little bit stupid, especially as I seem to be getting picked on an awful lot to do it, but I think I've got used to it now, and everyone is so supportive even when you get it a bit wrong which is really encouraging. We've been given our time table for the next couple of weeks and we've got a few more intense ones to know by then, but also two OST lessons next week to look forward to. At the end of January we have a week at our divisional statements for Geographical Awareness, which we think is basically a tour around the station and how things work, it'll be nice to have a week living at home but I don't think we'll be allowed out with the officers, I don't even think we're there in uniform, which I'm disappointed about but I suppose our time will come soon enough!
I turn 20 two weeks from today (19th January if you wanted to know when to buy my pressies for) so I'm really looking forward to no longer being the 'teenager' of the group, however I don't doubt that I will always be considered the baby, being so much younger than everyone else! We're looking at Sudden Deaths on my Birthday - how cheerful...
Overall it's been a pretty hectic few weeks but I'm glad to be getting properly stuck into it now and already the weeks are flying by before our eyes.
Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year, here's to an exciting 2017!