junior_7178

In off the street?

34 posts in this topic

 

I'm interested how peoples thoughts of joining the regulars 'straight off the street'. 

Have you done so?

Do you think you'd have found the recruitment selection and assessment process easier if you'd had prior experience in a police environment?

Do you think you would find your role as a Police officer easier if you'd had prior experience in a police environment?

Do you think having prior experience as a Special or PCSO gives people an advantage over 'straight off the street' applicants during the recruitment phase?

Do you think new PC's who have been PCSO's or Specials go on to become better officers than those who haven't? 

 

I'm interested to know peoples thoughts on any of the above, or anything similar. I'm planning to apply shortly to become a regular PC with no previous Police background, however after a few weeks of reading this and other forums I've noticed there seems to be a huge amount of people who have gone down the Special or PCSO route before applying for the regulars. Whilst i realise it is not a requirement, I'm starting to wonder if I'm at a disadvantage?

Say for example there are 50 vacancies and 100 applicants. 50 of those applicants are PCSO's, 40 are Specials and 10 are 'off the street', then those off us straight off the street have no chance right?

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No difference in the long run. Sure Specials and PCSOs will probably be a bit ahead initially as they will have confidence over things like how the force is structured and runs, some of the systems and processes, and the paperwork. But they had to start somewhere and learn those things.
In two years there will be no difference, no matter where you joined from.


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I know plenty of good cops who joined without ever having served in the police in another capacity and some less than stellar ex-specials who should probably have never got in in the first place.

It's a good way of learning about the job, seeing the reality and potentially getting your face known (especially in smaller forces) which might come in handy later on in a career​. It's not the be all and end all though. I don't think it churns out better cops. I'd go so far as to encourage a lot of people to skip being a Special and join as a regular in most cases unless they aren't sure it is for them and entails a big pay cut or something.

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I do a lot of role play work with new officers, We get some who are outstanding and have done no policing before, they just have ' it ' Usually you can tell ex specials,  PCSOs  None HO forces as they have a good idea what they are doing but ... you do get some who think they know it and won't be told, or have learned for the want of a better expression 'bad habits'

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I think for specials to go to regulars isn't any benefit to the force but probably a benefit to the cop themselves as their learning curve isn't so steep, plus they've already had their eyes opened to a lot of stuff. I've seen a lot of folk come in to the job from healthcare, forces or the prison service who are used to public service and the joys it brings us all so they aren't as fazed by things. I'd always recommend someone who isn't sure to join the specials first as you've nothing to lose.


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In the long run I would think that if you were a special or PCSO it would be beneficial because you have experience and prior knowledge before going into the job.

I don't think it would be beneficial in the application process necessarily because it's about meeting the criteria that has been set. If you're giving examples during an interview, explaining how you have dealt with a situation, it's always better to use an example outside of your role. If you're a special you may struggle if all of your experience is from policing.

Also, as a special you may have a certain way of doing things, it could be easier to train and tutor someone who has no experience in doing something, rather than someone who has been doing it differently for ten or so year.

In conclusion it's a mixed bag really. I wouldn't have thought that it gives you any advantage.

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Statistically 70% (apparently) fail the assessment centre first time. pcso and specials have a different recruitment process and tests to Police Constables. But some surveys suggest that the majority of applicants have some form of connection to the Service, whether that is a friend, family member or associate.

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I joined 'straight off the street', and had no issues. The ex-special in the class had a better grasp of things at the start of training, but by the end of the course there wasn't much difference, and the fact I'd studied law before joining put me way ahead on the exams anyway. Like others have said, by the end of probation you won't see any difference.

As for the assessment centre, I can't say whether it would've been easier with some level of inside knowledge, but I can say it's more about preparation than anything else. If you prepare properly, it's not difficult.

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On 25/03/2017 at 17:46, junior_7178 said:

 

Say for example there are 50 vacancies and 100 applicants. 

The stats are more like 50 vacancies for 500 applicants. 

It is very competitive. 

I think Specials /Pesos have an advantage because they will understand the recruitment system (competencies based stuff) , they have people they can get advice from and they are more likely to understand how much preparation is needed. 

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In fairness though, the documents you're sent to prepare with make the competencies quite clear (at least they did back when I did it).

I knew walking in that they were looking for certain phrases or words to be said in order to tick them off, so I ensured that I structured my evidence in a way which fit that.




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I've applied with no prior police background and have just been informed that my vetting is all clear- I'm very nearly there!

All I can say that during my Assessment Centre I had 2 PCSO's and 2 Specials in my group and all four of them have attempted the AC before and failed, some more than once. For this reason I don't think that they have any advantage over us, applicants straight off the street. In fact, couple of them were extremely stressed, something I wouldn't expect from an officer that has already been out there on the streets but others may have other views on that.

 

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I know a lot of Regulars who were once PCSO's or Specials and they have often told me that pressure has an impact over theirs and others applications due to a perceived expectation that they already have one foot in the door because of their current experience. Also for some reason most recruiters don't want to hear too much about practical policing experience when it comes to competency examples. This is why I don't believe that being a Special or PCSO gives you any real advantage in the recruitment process. However, know it can give you a bit of a head start during the training/tutor period. Others might debate this but this is based off mine and some of my colleagues  experience of the recruitment process.

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Honestly, I don't think it makes a difference in the long run. As others have said, people with previous policing experience might have a bit of a head-start in some ways, but it can also be slightly problematic for the too, with them giving them the 'I know it all' impression, which puts a lot of people off helping them or can get up the nose of training staff or tutors.

Like in everything else, there are people who put in a lot of time and effort at being Specials or PCSOs and there are those who coast along too.

In the same way, there are some exceptional people that come in off the street and some who find things harder.

I wouldn't say that by the end of probation you don't see the difference between the two, I'd say probably by the end of the first year you don't really see the difference between ex-something and 'brand new to policing types'.

All I would say to you, is that if you're thinking about joining the job and becoming a cop, don't feel like you have to be a Special or a PCSO or something else before hand. If you've decided that you wanna be a cop, then apply directly for a PC role and crack on with it. Nobody cares where or what you've been before, just so long as you can do the one thing that we've all done, no matter what our previous experience - Pass the assessment centre!

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 Say for example there are 50 vacancies and 100 applicants. 50 of those applicants are PCSO's, 40 are Specials and 10 are 'off the street', then those off us straight off the street have no chance right?
 It can get quite complicated.

It got to the point with my ex-force (Merseyside) that after a 3 year recruitment freeze, they allowed only certain PCSOs to internally apply. Anyone not from a pre-selected list wouldn't get their application signed off by the Sgt. Areas where they had too few PCSOs would have these processes, where as areas over subscribed would sign-off all their apps. Didn't even make sense as had they recruited externally, they would have not been able to stop those PCSO apps (ignoring the Ways and Means Act).

 

By the time my supervision were wanting to support my application, it was too late and i declined. If they weren't willing to support me then, why should i accept the insult? And add that to seeing how we were treated as sub-human made me totally change my mind compared to years back.

 

Shame really as I'd have made a good bobby, definitely better than most compared with the candidates they recruited (I'm thinking straight off the street here primarily) and some of the people i worked with.

 

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Policey_Man said:

 

All I would say to you, is that if you're thinking about joining the job and becoming a cop, don't feel like you have to be a Special or a PCSO or something else before hand. If you've decided that you wanna be a cop, then apply directly for a PC role and crack on with it. Nobody cares where or what you've been before, just so long as you can do the one thing that we've all done, no matter what our previous experience - Pass the assessment centre!

Fantastic, that's the paragraph I was most hoping to hear.

I've seen so many cop shows where you pick up that officers were ex. Specials, met PCSO's who are only doing it because they want to become regular PC's, I've even seen numerous people make comments on these forums that they are or are going to become Specials or PCSO's because they want to become  regulars in the future. All the time it is possible to join straight off the street then I wonder why. I accept that there are some who will want to do it to make sure the job is right for them etc.

My biggest worry is that it was some unofficial recognised route of making it easier to get accepted during the regular PC application process and that by joining off the street I am at a big disadvantage and I also should be looking at doing a different role first to help with a future application. 

Just to clarify, I am as confident as one can be without actually doing the job, that the role of PC is for me. I have family & friends who are police officers, I've served 12 years in the Armed Forces and been a Home Office licenced Dog Handler for the Border Force. The application process for any sort of policing role now is arduous and it seems silly to go through applying for one role just to find out if you like the job and then apply all over again for that job.

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