My first of two ride-alongs I took part in during the application process for Thames Valley Police for the role of Police Officer.
A cold Friday evening in February 15:00 - 24:00
13:30 - Arrived at station, supposed to be collected at 13:40 for safety briefing.
15:00 - Actual start time, accompanying officer had a shift change and I was forgotten about. Oops!
15:30 - Signed the indemnity document, policies and a quick overview of the night's plan of action. Tonight would be an operation to combat Anti-social behavior in the town centre and identifying and arresting a few individuals from a serious assault on a young girl the previous week.
15:45 – Meet and greet the local officers and walk into the neighborhood policing office, nervous at first but very friendly bunch.
16:00 - Briefing room - Situation and aim of the evening to arrest outstanding individuals, Intelligence and local contacts assigned and distributed by the sergeant. Section 35 authorization is given to disperse youths in the town centre if necessary.
16:30 – Patrols are a dispersed on foot and in cars. Sergeant will be in the van. We are on foot.
7:00 - Arrive at bus station with two PC’s, due to half-term and it being a crossroads for kids at the local secondary schools there is a large crowd of probably 25 teenagers milling around the area.
Identified youths are told to vacate the area of be section 35’d. A few huffs/puffs as people leave and are told to go home. One individual is identified by local security contacts as possibly being a person of interest, false alarm.
Teenagers find ‘Civilian Observer’ tag on the front of the high-vis a laugh and liken it to work experience. Embarrassing but expected. "So are you like, a work experience bobby"?
Area is saturated with high-vis and locals are concerned something serious has gone down. Locals are reassured and then it quietens down.
17:30 – 19:00 - Continue to patrol on foot around the area, liaise with contacts at a local fast-food restaurant who have posted security guards for the purpose of trying to combat youths. We Stop and talk to local people who are happy to see the area saturated with police.
Story of troubles in previous weeks given by McDonalds staff. E.g. banging on the windows, large crowds of rowdy teenagers etc. Security staff are advised to stay in contact via radio to local police and assured that the issues will be dealt with.
Speak the local shopping centre security guards who share some Information regarding people of interest.
Back to the bus-station and the remaining teenagers are told to scoot.
We go back to the station to get some better quality images from the CCTV regarding people of of interest and compare the footage to what was seen earlier in the day.
19:30 – Grab a tactical burger/kebab and chips on the way back to the station for a break.
20:00 - Follow-up meet with the rest of the NPT, as the town is quiet (cold weather) the teams are given new call signs and dispersed further out from the town centre and told to keep an eye out for the group of interest.
20:30 – A home visit is made to a person who tried to purchase an imitation firearm off the internet which was intercepted by RM. Details are exchanged and informed that the gun has been seized by customs. There is no fuss by the homeowner who is told the gun will be destroyed. No further action to be taken.
21:00 – 22:30 – Patrol in the car and observe a bus laden with kids leaving the area. Bus is followed to make sure they leave the area and do not try to come back to the town centre.
They successfully leave the area. Continue to patrol around the area.
I am about to say it is a ‘quiet’ evening and then one of the officers I am with remarks that the word is banned in the station in case I jinx it!
23:00 – Arrive back the station for the end of the shift as paperwork needs to be filled. Shake hands and thank the two PC’s for the evening.
Overall a very standard evening. Was a good experience and was able to ask a lot of questions and got some good nuggets of information!