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  1. 3 likes
    So yesterday was the first stage of the process which involved travelling to the training school. Definitely a trip I hope I'll be making much more before 2017 is out! The Assessment Centre briefing was essentially what it said on the tin. If you're about to go for yours, the gist is that you hand in your relevant ID/qualification/eligibility documents to the Recruitment team, and then sit with your potential future coursemates in the canteen, making small talk until you are called through to book an assessment centre date and then directed to a lecture theatre where you are given a presentation on the rest of the recruitment process and essentially just a bit more information about the job that you're applying for. I was given a date for the assessment centre (18/05/2017 at 0800) and told that the rest of the process should pass much quicker than I expected!! All in all, the briefing took around 2 hours, despite the possible 4 hours mentioned on the invitation email but it was good to meet a few other people in the process and to have at least some more idea of timescales but now time to book holiday from work and prepare for SEARCH!!
  2. 2 likes
    As requested by @XA84! It's been a while since I last posted an update so I suppose it's about time. Since I last posted, it's been a mixture of really super busy weeks and weeks where we spend our days catching up on things that have changed since we were first taught them, things we missed and things we want to recap. It's really starting to feel like we're almost at the end now and it's kind of a bitter-sweet feeling. I can't wait to get out there, finally, after all these months training but I'm also going to miss my training family so much and I'm really worried about how I'll find it out there. We are half way through our six week split currently, where half of us stayed in HQ for our Investigative Interviewing course and the other half went off on the 3 week response driving course. I started with Interviewing, which I'm really glad about because once I'm back from driving there will only be three weeks left before we pass out. However, it has been hard listening to the other half of our group talking about all the fun they've had and places they've been on the driving, which sounds like such an amazing course. We have had our own fun in HQ though, with interview practicals being my favourite part. We covered No Comment interviews, which I found particularly interesting, as well as how to challenge people's accounts etc. I found it really difficult at the start to stop myself from using leading questions or asking 'Can you..' instead of imperatives, but after the first day everything seemed to fall into place and I got the hang of it and found myself excited to do the real thing. In our three weeks in HQ we've also had a massive practical day, where we were set up as if we were covering a town with an event on for the day and sent around to mundane tasks and petty crimes when all of a sudden a major crime happens and we had to deal with it, which was fantastic. We've also had inputs from the Forensic team and Family Liaison Officer which were so interesting. We also had a Court Practical day following our court training which was a great insight into what it'll be like to stand in the witness box. My role play included being questioned on my age and how I could possibly know this and that at the age of twenty, which I'm actually really glad was brought up as I'm sure it will be out there and I felt like I held my ground pretty convincingly and had good feedback afterwards, so happy days! By far one of my favourite things we've done throughout our training so far was our Water Rescue & Safety day which was on Thursday. We traveled up to a local fire station where we were plonked in a freezing cold river in dry suits and taught how to not only rescue casualties from the water but also self-rescue in strong currents. It was an absolutely fantastic day and a brilliant team-building exercise, although it was only half of our team with us. The trainers were brilliant and it was nice to get away from the strictness of HQ and have a bit of a laugh and a joke for the day, it was a right blast. Not to mention the fact that, being a swimmer, this day was right up my street. We followed this perfectly by another team-building exercise, which was our own kind of 'end of course' night out to Cardiff to make the most of our last few weeks together. I'm really going to miss the people I've become so close to, spending the last five months as one big family, and it'll be weird to all be split up but I'm hoping I become just as close to the people on my shift at my station. Come Tuesday I'll be starting the Response Driving course which I'm so, so excited about but also a little bit nervous because I'm a terrible passenger, I don't get sick but I'm the person who will sit there slamming on my imaginary break in the passenger seat. I'm sure it'll be fine though, and from the other group's stories it's the best part of the training. We've had another course start in HQ a few weeks ago which is nice, it's great to have a few new faces around the place and especially in the hotel. Other than that, I'm just pushing myself more in the gym despite a minor knee injury ready to get out there and trying to get my head together and plan for the real world now. 6 weeks to go, and counting! Thanks for reading, Alice.
  3. 1 like
    Well well well... I haven't posted on here since the 30th April 2015. Fast forward nearly two years and we've lost the likes of David Bowie and George Michael, Donald Trump is now President of the United States and England's football team still haven't won anything (I guess some things never change). On the 31st March, I handed in my scrupulously drafted application for a PC role and this morning, 10 days on, I received an email telling me that I was successful in the paper sift. One half of me is filled with an excitement that I'm finally back on the road to doing the job that I've always wanted to do, after 24 months of twiddling my thumbs and the other half of me filled with a sense of apprehension that it's going to be another 6-12 months of constantly refreshing my emails, as well as having to go through the SEARCH assessment again. In January 2015, I had a regs application withdrawn due to an unsatisfactory reference, after going all the way through the process and it honestly felt like the day would never come when I'd be looking at getting back in the saddle. I guess if anyone is in the same position - or even looking at the 6 month wait after rejection - it's a sh*tty time, there's not a lot you can do about it, but dust yourself down, get back up and do your time and the opportunity will come around again. Next step is the briefing for said assessment - I thought I'd blog the process, not sure if anyone is remotely interested or whether anyone will read this, but hopefully this time next year, I will be writing about training and the year after be writing about punch ups, fast car chases and telling naughty children to go to bed. England still won't have won anything by then mind...
  4. 1 like
    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!