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  1. 2 likes
    I'm a little over half way through 25 weeks training and sat in my hotel room thinking about what's to come next. We've completed our Traffic legislation, which spanned over 2 weeks, and had a consolidation day full of role plays which was really good fun. We get closer to our Driving Course every week and I can't wait to be out in the cars and away from the classroom for 3 weeks, especially after meeting the driver trainers today on our Road Traffic Collision awareness day. I think I'm more excited about driving than anything else we've done on the course so far, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, doing things practically rather than listening to a power point about them feels so much more real. After today, traffic is definitely something I'm interested in just from the stories we were told and the under-representation of women in the role, and of course getting to drive the faster cars just that little bit faster.. I think a few people on the course are nervous for our driver training, and I'm really nervous to be a passenger to be honest, because that's just how I am, but I'm so excited to get behind the wheel myself. I'm going to be honest and say that the last couple of weeks I've struggled the most since we started training, not in terms of the lessons and legislation etc, but the routine of it. A long drive on a Monday morning to stay in a hotel where often the rooms aren't even big enough to get the ironing board out, and do the week of training with nothing to look forward to when the end of the day arrives because it just means heading back to the hotel. Then Friday comes around and I'm so excited for the moment I step back through the door of my home only to rush around the whole weekend juggling spending time with my family and my boyfriend along with the work we're set and spending the whole of Sunday washing and ironing all my shirts and tunic for our weekly parades as well as making sure I've packed all I need to live away from home for the week. It's all just getting to me a bit. And I think it's difficult for anyone back home to have a true understanding of what it is we've signed up for, training sounds like all fun and games and a breeze but recently I've been thinking well, I've worked so hard to be here, and worked so hard for a job that I know will mean having no clue what will happen from shift to shift, not knowing if one day I'll be walking down a street on patrol and someone decides to take their frustrations with the Police out on me. Not knowing if the first person to bite me in a scuffle is going to have Hepatitis, never knowing what's around the next corner or what someone has in their pocket, or whether an assault on me will be taken seriously or just considered 'part of the job', or who's watching you make a mistake and who will be there to pick up on it as soon as you do, what will be the first mistake you make that lands you in trouble and will you end up like the countless officers I see everyday hung out to dry by the media and criticised for the decisions they made in a situation most people will never have to face in their lives. I'm so excited to get out there and see the real world, and I'm so glad we have a tutor to stand beside us through the first few months, but man I'm nervous about what's waiting out there. I'm sure it's all just the fear now that we're getting closer, and I'm not saying I can't handle it at all, I think I've become a much stronger person just from these few short months of training, but it's definitely a fear of the unknown. Anyway, I think I've been having my 'mid-course' wobble and hopefully when our interviewing and driving course starts I'll feel a little bit more excited to come here every Monday. Thanks for reading, hope you're all well!
  2. 1 like
    I am now officially going in to week 12 of training school after an annual leave week with only 14 weeks left - nearly half way! It's gone ridiculously fast that I can hardly believe we're in double figures already. It's been a fair few weeks since I last posted an update here, and after a bit of prompting I've decided now is probably a good time. We've been doing a lot of legislation over the past few weeks, and had two consolidation role plays days to practice what we'd learnt. These days consist of getting fully kitted up including high vis jackets and roaming around in pairs/threes until you are deployed over the radio to an 'incident', where an assessor and several students from the local college act out a scenario. The hardest part of these, for me, has definitely been the radio stuff. It's a whole other language to me and I've never experienced anything like it before, I still even get a bit stumped over Phonetic Alphabet, the other day I was spelling out 'JONES' and 'October, November' came out of my mouth, much to the amusement of the assessor. Like I said, we've had two of these consolidation days so far and I hated every second of the first one, despite the scenarios themselves not being too much of a disaster, the worry and pressure made me soo nervous. For example, we completely forgot to search a shoplifter who we transported to (fake) custody only for the assessor to pull a massive knife out of his hoodie, schoolboy error!! But to be fair to us, we had only just covered searching so I think we were worried about how much it had been drilled into us that searches can so easily be unlawful. But, the second time around, I enjoyed every single scenario we attended as I really felt that I had grasped how to achieve the best outcome, and I especially enjoyed the ones that involved talking to people rather than going straight in with legislation, but actually really enjoyed the satisfaction of getting them right. We also spent a week visiting the stations we'll be working at and those in the same area as us as well, so for me that was my station and the station that has the custody suite, which are a fair distance apart. Although not the most exciting week ever, it was really great to get to meet some of the people I might be working with and familiarise myself with the station. We spent a day in Court which was also quite interesting, and it was a lot different to when I visited several years ago on work experience with a journalist who I'll never forget being so angry at as he laughed someone crying as his case was heard in court. One officer took us for a tour around the area I'll be covering in a marked car, which to me was really, really cool, having never been in one before. The area that we cover is so huge though, and the stories of a small number of people being on shift at the same time and the amount of time it takes to get from one end of the area to another has made me a bit nervous!! I definitely payed a bit more extra attention in PST after knowing how far away backup could be and how often I'll be single-crewed. Since I last posted, we have started and pretty much finished our Personal Safety Training (PST/OST) which was so much fun from beginning to end. I woke up the morning after each session with plenty of bruises but really enjoyed having practical lessons and being shown how to defend myself. I think for a lot of us on my course it made it all seem quite real, as we joked around pretending to stab each other with plastic knifes, that in just a few months time we'll be out there and may well have to use these techniques from the very start. I've started engaging a lot more in Police news lately, and reading posts by UK Cop Humour on Facebook, and every post that is dedicated towards a fallen officer makes me feel so much different now that I am one of them. I've gained so much respect for the job through the stories from our trainers and understanding the daily struggles that officers face, even just leaving their family for a shift and not knowing what is going to happen in the hours that follow. I think it's really hit me just how dangerous this job can be, but that the work I will be doing will be so personally rewarding that it makes it all worth it (I hope!). Files, files and more files have been thrown at us left right and centre and on Friday we had the whole day to complete a GAP (Guilty Anticipated Plea) file which was hard enough, let alone learning what needs to be included in an NGAP file. To be honest, this has confused me quite a lot, and although I really enjoyed doing the file, it was really just because we had all the information in front of us, and I can't bear to think how hard it'd be to build one of these up completely from scratch! It has, however, made me really excited for our Interviewing course which is just around the corner. We recently went on a training night out to a nearby city which was so much fun, and really bonded us as a team even more than before. It was great to let our hair down for the night and, for me, get dressed up and look like a normal human being again rather than having my hair all scraped back and barely any makeup on. Following this we've had a week off for annual leave, which has been nice, but I'm itching to get back to it tomorrow as we start on Road Traffic stuff for the next two weeks before our Driving course which comes in March. I think the highlight for these past few weeks for me was our individual review that happened at the end of last week where I really began to feel like I was actually headed towards where I'm meant to end up. My trainer said that he loved the way I spoke to people during consolidations and thought that my humour would get me far, which was so encouraging for me as all this time I've been a bit worried that this job might turn me into a robot. The knowledge that I might actually be doing OK has given me so much more motivation and confidence for the remainder of the course and I think it came at just the right time for me. Other than that, my boots still aren't shiny and my tunic still has dodgy creases, but every day that I put on my uniform and walk up to HQ I feel more and more proud of how far I've come and more and more excited for what is to come next. Thanks for reading, sorry this was a long one!
  3. 1 like
    So here I am, updating you after 15~ weeks - I've been meaning to for a while and have had several not-so-subtle reminders from certain members to do so *cough* @XA84 *cough* ... Where do I start? I'm not going to go week by week as in my previous entry, as that would take more time than I have to spare. Well I'm actually in week 20 of training now and a lot has happened since my last blog post. There have been many ups and downs in that time and at the moment training really does feel like it is winding up and drawing to a close. Since we last spoke we have had two sets of exams, a crime exam and a traffic exam, and have done away with our weekly definition checks (ask me the definition of Burglary 9.1b, I dare you). I think it is probably best that I post a few shorter entries highlighting some of the “best bits” from throughout the training, so yes, I guess this means I’m committing myself to writing a few more entries after this one – don’t worry, I’ve got a few ideas for some reading material. Let’s start with role-plays.. ;-) We've had several practical / role-play assessments throughout the past 20 weeks and what they are really designed to do is test our law knowledge by putting it into practice . These for the most part have gone fairly disastrously wrong for me... Well maybe that is an exaggeration, but there has definitely been a steep learning curve – but that’s what training is for right; getting things wrong and learning from your mistakes? Right. So our first major (and most memorable) role-play day was maybe about the week 9 mark... My force are fortunate in the sense that we have quite a few facilities tucked away in the middle of nowhere at which we can host our interactive assessments. This particular role-play day was held at a (now disused) airbase. The day focused mainly on putting our stop search PACE S1 knowledge into practice. Having learnt the principles of Stop Search in class, G.O.W.I.S.E.L.Y. etc. we were tasked with attending ‘incidents’ during which a S1 PACE Stop Search would be carried out. Special Constables had volunteered to be the stooges on this occasion and would be the persons that we would search. We had been paired off into mainly mixed-sex pairs where possible to avoid issues in searching people of the opposite sex (the law says where practicable the constable searching should be of the same gender as the detained person). I myself was paired with a male colleague, so we would just have to manage the situations that we were dealt. Through the radio came our first ‘job’ – we were to attend a location where a member of the public had observed two females causing criminal damage to building. This particularly role-play went fair smoothly – we ascertained who the two females were, confirmed that no female colleagues were available to search and gave them the G.O.W.I.S.E.L.Y. spiel – sorted! The female I searched was particularly disgruntled that she was being searched by male officer – no problem, the law says that officers can use reasonable force to conduct the search, so on went the handcuffs! The search was positive and we found the ‘article’ that the criminal damage had been caused with. Both females were promptly arrested and that was one role-play done and dusted. We were given feedback by the assessor. A few things to improve on, but mainly good. Off we trotted back to the parade room to complete our pocket notebook entries for the arrest and to await our next call to a job. This is where it started to go downhill... Our next job was to a report of an incident of suspected interference with a motor vehicle – a man had been seen “pouring some liquid onto a vehicle”. We attended the scene and found the described male. My colleague called to the male who then decided to walk away from us and ignore my colleague’s request for him to stop. My colleague took the male by the arm and told him to stay where he was... The male was then detained, searched, one thing led to another and soon we were frog-marching him across the carpark in an arm-lock back to the place we had discovered him in. Big mistake. We subsequently found what we were looking for – brake fluid which the male had been using to damage the vehicle. He was arrested for interference with a motor vehicle and for causing criminal damage... All well and good had we not got there by some rather unlawful means. The feedback wasn’t good. From the moment my colleague grabbed the suspect’s arm the whole role-play went out the window. Had enacted that situation in a real life scenario we could well have found ourselves facing the court for two counts of assault. Safe to say that put a downer on the rest of the day, but as I said before, this is what training is for – we shall both learn from those mistakes. Silver lining and all that! Following the debrief from that day, it was clear to see that there were improvements to be made, both in our knowledge of the law and our application of it. Thankfully we weren’t the only ones. It wasn’t all negative either. All of us had come a long way since week 1 and it was clear to see that we were all well on our way to becoming good police officers one way or another. We had all acted very professionally, accepted criticism, realised our mistakes and bounced back with positivity. I can tell you that now I feel as though I have come on leagues since that day. Saying that, I know that I still have a lot to learn and thinking forward to the time I start on division only excites me more for the challenges that lie ahead. The series will continue...