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About this blog

A document of the recruitment process and the training  to becoming a PC from a 19 year old uni dropout in Wales. 

Entries in this blog

alicing

Thank you all again for the lovely comments on my last post! I'm well into my second set of shifts now so I thought I'd update you on my time on division so far. 

My first few days were very eventful, from my first ever real blue light run to a sudden death to arresting a violent pensioner, and I've learnt so much about not only the job but myself already.  A few years ago, like many, I didn't quite realise that the job of a Police Officer stretches so much further than fighting and solving crime. We are counselors when none are available, we are mental health nurses when they won’t attend, we are ambulance when they’re too far away, we are friends to those who have none, we are ears to those who have nobody to turn to, we are shoulders for those who need to cry, we are the final option and last resort for those in crisis,  we are the barrier between a fighting couple, a lifeline for a terrified parent, we are those who can be blamed when things go wrong, and we are the people who the public hold so much expectation on to do the right thing all the time and every time. It's been a massive lesson to me from my very first day on the beat and to be honest I've appreciated every second of being this side of the job. All my new colleagues are amazing, all so strong and hard working, even when the shifts drag on for hours and our eyelids are so heavy on night shifts. I've been worried about the massive pressure to get everything right but I've had so much advice and support from everyone at my station already that I'm so happy to be there.

I don't want to go into any detail about the jobs I've been to but I've had a massive eye-opener into the lives of some  people and it's been really, really interesting. You view the world differently after just one shift in this job, honestly! It's a massive emotional and physical drain engaging yourself in so many different people's lives every day, often at some of the hardest times they'll ever face, and keeping your own head above the water to be able to help them. A few times I've felt instinct come over me and as much as I've felt like I don't know what to do or say, the words have just come out of my mouth and I really hope I'm doing okay for a beginner! I've learnt pretty quickly that it is SO much about how you can talk to people and get them to respond to you. 

I experienced my first real interview and was able to lead as well which was a really great experience. I was so nervous but as soon as I started with the questions they just came naturally and I felt like I had found my style that worked with this particular interviewee. I've been able to tag along with my tutor's withstanding crime enquiries which has been great as I've been able to watch some of the processes I'll be going through when clocking and investigating crimes. 

So far everyone has said I've been really dunked in at the deep end with some of the things I've attended with my tutor but I still go home at the end of every shift so excited to come in again the next day, and even though as the adrenaline wears off towards the end of every shift I am absolutely exhausted, I am really loving every second of it.

I was so worried that after coming so far and through training that I wouldn't enjoy the 'real' side of policing but it's one hundred times better than what I expected it to be, it's great. I've never felt mental and physical exhaustion like I've felt the past couple of weeks, and I know that I 'ain't seen nothing yet but I suppose it's just because I'm learning so much so quickly that my brain is fried trying to keep up, but the rewarding feeling of leaving work every day feeling like I might have made a little difference in at least one person's life each day is enough for me.

I plan on continuing to update throughout my tutorship with anything I think may help anyone else going through the process of training, or anyone like me who, before joining, loved reading beat stories!! 

Thanks for reading x

alicing

On Friday 26th June 2017, less than a week ago, I passed out as a PC

Since my last update, training has been a mixture a three week response driving course, final knowledge checks and consolidation days, parade practice and our pass out parade. Our standard response driving course was incredible and by far one of the best parts of the 26 week training course. We traveled up and down the force every day at crazy speeds and I loved every second of it, blue lights especially! The final driving test was so nerve-wracking, so much more scary than my actual driving test, and passing with only three minors left me absolutely over the moon and so ready to jump in a job car for real. Since finishing the driving course, we've been back in HQ for some frantic, last-minute lessons that we've missed throughout the six months and preparation for our Pass Out parade which would soon be coming up. And it did soon come!

With our final week having finally arrived, I think a weird sense of bitter-sweet came over all of us, including our trainers. The day we'd all been waiting and wishing for since the day we got our acceptances, and now that it was finally here, we were sad for training to be coming to an end. The bond that we made as a group was something I never thought would happen in such a short time. The friends I have made on the training course are ones I know I will be mates with for life, a reminder of where we all started and a friendly face to turn to in times of need.

The day of our Pass Out soon came around and with bulled boots and pressed uniform, we all lined up ready to march in in front of all of our family and friends for a final farewell. I've never felt more proud of myself, and those around me, in my whole life. I cannot believe the amount I have learnt in the past six months and even more so cannot believe that it's over. Our trainer calls us to attention and we all individually get called up to receive our certificates and shake the chiefs hand. Then come the awards, the Highest Achiever going to the officer who is coming to my station with me, who deserved such an award so much for all his hard work, the Most Improved award for one of the single mums on the course who has improved in confidence every single day since day one, and the Chief Constables Award for Outstanding Achievement, which was awarded to one of the best friends I've ever made in my whole life, a girl who deserved it more than anyone else in the world and who was born to be PC. I am so proud of all of us for making it this far and every single one of the people I trained with will make excellent officers! 

 I think the realisation has hit me now that this is it, it's finally time to get out there for real. I've never been so nervous but excited in my life! I've also never cried as much as I did on our last day, realising that most of us will be working opposite ends of a very large force and some of us may never cross paths again. But I'm so ready for the start of the real training, my tutorship out on division, which will last 15 weeks, and the rest of my career in such an amazing job.

Yesterday, I met John Sutherland, author of 'Blue: A Memoir, Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces', a man who has quickly become an inspiration to me and who's book I highly recommend to everyone, whether in the job or not.

Bring on Sunday and my first ever shift as a PC!!

 

Thank you for reading x

alicing

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.

 

alicing

Training - Half Way Thoughts

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! 

alicing

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! 

alicing

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!

 

alicing

Training Week 1 - Ironing & Fancy Dress

Monday 5th December - Friday 9th Decemeber

Our first week as Student Police Officers is over! I can genuinely say it's been one of the most exciting weeks of my life so far. Despite feeling glad to be home to catch up on some sleep and see my family, I can't wait for Monday to come around again for week two to be honest. The week went so quickly, and there was a lot of information to take in. We went over things like the Code of Conduct and spoke to people from The Federation and had visits from important people. 

On Monday, we all arrived in business wear and waited around in the reception. Lots of familiar faces from different stages of the application process and everyone seemed really friendly but equally as nervous as I was. We went through formalities for the day and finally got given all of our uniform and kit. This was by far the most exciting part of the process to that date. I got back to the hotel that night and tried everything on, video chatted my family and showed them everything. They were most impressed by the bullet/stab vest. I like the divisional uniform the most (the black fleeces and wicken tops) but our uniform for training is pretty smart too, white shirts with and cravats. It feels really strange to have a real collar number and actually be part of the force now instead of just a hopeful! With all my kit on I really feel like I'm in fancy dress for Halloween! All of the trainers are really nice, and have so many brilliant stories to tell about their time on the beat. They've made sure to check we're all doing okay, especially those of us staying in the hotel for the week, and gave lots of advice on our uniform and how best to iron it.

We've all done a lot of ironing this week, from our everyday shirts and trousers to the Number 1's we wore on Friday for parade inspection. Luckily there's a couple from the army on our intake so they helped us out with getting the initial shine to our boots, but I think I'm finally getting the hang of it myself. We have our Attestation next Friday, so my mum, step dad , nan and boyfriend are going to come to that and I'm super excited for it! We've also been given the date for our Pass Out, which will be in May. It seems so far away now but the group who are passing out in the next couple of weeks have reassured us that the whole process of training goes so fast, and after this week I really believe them. Each of us in our intake has at least one other person who is going to be based at the same station after training, there's only two of us for the station I'm going to but one other from the previous group too, so  it'll be nice to know someone else has just been the newbie at the station before us.

We've been issued our radios and mobile devices (the upgraded version of a PNB) and been over how to use them, and have been told we'll be doing first aid next week as well as having our first fitness test, so I'm expecting next week to go just as quickly, especially with the Attestation on Friday. 

So far we've all really bonded as a group, there's some really funny characters and everyone is so enthusiastic about the job which is great to be surrounded by. I'm the youngest, as I expected, and by at least three years as well! I definitely feel like the baby of the group but so far it hasn't seemed to have made much difference. There's quite a few who have been Special's, in both DPP and other forces, so it's useful to be able to ask them questions, but it's also quite daunting being one of the few who has absolutely no policing background or even family members in the job. I've got a lot to learn!  I’ve learnt my cautions, so you do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not believe me when I say I learnt this by watching far too much Traffic Cops and the likes! The food is really good, which is dangerous, I can tell that over these 6 or so months there may have to be a few trips to Stores to request bigger trousers! Our group has bonded really well, and I can tell I’ve made some friends that will remain with me for a long time already, which is great to know since we will be spending such a long time together.

So all in all, it's been a hectic but amazing week, and I'm so looking forward to what's to come.

Thanks for all the positive comments on my last post, I know this one isn't quite as interesting as it only covers a week but I thought I'd update before the work piles on, as I doubt I'll have time to do an update every week.

Here's to the next 6 months and what sounds like an incredibly rewarding career ahead!

(P.S, Sorry, I'm a serial exclamation mark abuser and an atrocious speller) 

alicing

The Recruitment Process

This is probably going to be my longest post as it covers such a long amount of time, but I thought I would start off with a post about the recruitment process including the timescale from my initial application to receiving an unconditional offer. I wish I'd had one of these blogs to follow when I started the whole process myself so hopefully it's useful for people who are in the middle of/are thinking of applying! I dropped out of my first year of University in February 2016 to pursue my dream of becoming a Police Officer and waited several months for recruitment to open in my local force.  Around 5 and a half months after my initial application, here I am to tell the tale. I plan on blogging through my training and hopefully on the job as well! Here's how it all went, starting from the very beginning! 

Wednesday 22nd June 2016Application for role of Police Constable for Dyfed Powys Police successfully submitted.

Thursday 14th July 2016 – Successfully at shortlisting stage of application due to successful Competency Based Questionnaire. Invite to Interview at HQ in Camarthen.

Thursday 28th July 2016 – 1:30pm, interview at HQ in Camarthen. Left early and arrived 45 minutes early in my excitement. Found HQ and parked up in visitor carpark, desperate for a wee but nowhere to go without booking myself in. Didn’t want to be seen to be too keen, so sat in the car for half an hour going over my notes. For the whole hour and a half journey I had recited my answers to questions I was expecting and for my 10-minute presentation on the role of Police Constable in Dyfed Powys Police. Went in to reception and signed in, put on my pass and sat with other candidates, all as nervous as each other. We were greeted and taken into a waiting room where we were briefed and asked to complete forms that gave a long list of different character traits and asked us to circle three which we thought were most important to the role. We completed two of these forms then were called to our doors. Each of us was interviewed in a separate room, and we were to knock and enter. My two interviewers were two male officers, and I can’t remember what roles they were, I remember one being fairly young and one more middle-aged. We started with the presentation, which I stood up for. They both took notes the whole time I spoke, and this really helped with my nerves as they barely looked up from the paper, so I could just focus on what I was saying rather than my body language. I sat down after what I felt was a rushed-through version of my presentation I had so meticulously planned. The younger man lead the interview while the other took notes of what I was saying and asked questions for me to expand on my answers. They asked a lot of questions and I, luckily, found that my answers came easily for all of them. The competency based questions fit perfectly with the examples I had planned from my everyday life and working life. They nodded and agreed with things I said, saying positive things like “very good” after most of my answers. I felt positive and even had a little bit of a joke with them at the end of the interview. I left feeling like it had gone relatively well, but was very aware of the fact that I was the youngest person attending the interview, and I think it was by quite a long margin.

10th August 2016 – Booked into familiarisation day for Assessment Centre after finding out I had been successful at interview. Very exciting moment but I also knew there was a long way to go yet.

18th August 2016 – Familiarisation day at HQ, Camarthen. We all signed in and waited to be taken through to a teaching room where we were advised on how the day would commence. We went through each different stage of the AC and what to expect, as well as what was expected of us. It was a very informative day and made me quite nervous for the AC. We watched examples of terrible role plays where the candidate had failed to meet any of the competencies and we were advised how this candidate failed. Obviously, not too much information could be relayed to us as to the specifics of the AC but overall, a very helpful day. I sat with a girl who was currently working in a foster home and had lots of experience with difficult people. She was telling me about scenarios she had faced that she would likely use in her competency interview during the AC. I, again, felt very young and inexperienced in comparison to the rest of the people in the room, however, I knew that I had some experiences that I could use as well and overall felt confident that I could give the AC a good go.

13th September 2016 – Thames Valley Police HQ, Reading.

The night before the Assessment Centre, mum drove us both up to Reading to the Premier Inn that we had booked ourselves into for the night. We had dinner at the service station (yuck) and bought snacks and magazines to take back to the room with us. We would have to leave fairy early the next morning to make the 30-ish minute drive from our hotel to the HQ, so I was anxious to get back to the room, do some last-minute revision for the day and get a good night’s sleep. Prior to this day, I had scoured the internet high and low for tips for the AC. I had practiced writing reports and done a bit of maths practice here and there, revised my Westshire Centre Pack back to front and practiced for the role play’s with mum on the way to Reading. Overall, I was feeling really nervous, especially after reading a load of horror stories on my iPad in bed that night of people who had thought they’d done well at AC then failed, or people who had passed but had not got the 60% required for Dyfed Powys. It took me a long time to get to sleep that night, my brain wouldn’t turn off. I woke up super early on the 13th (unlucky for some), showered, put on my interview gear and looked through my notes while I did my hair and makeup. I could barely eat but managed to get through a flapjack in the car on the way to the HQ. We missed a turning in the busy traffic of Reading and ended up on back roads all the way. Fortunately, we weren’t late and I wasn’t the last to arrive. We all waited outside the big white building and chatted about where we’d put as our preference areas, what we thought the day was going to be like and our expectations to all fail miserably. Everyone was really lovely, but none of them were from my interview group, I saw a couple of familiar faces later on as my group left and they arrived though! We were lead into a room where we were briefed on who would be doing what parts of the AC first. I wanted to do the role plays and interview first as I knew these held the most weight, and were going to be the most difficult. Just my luck, I was placed in the group doing the written exercises first. We were taken out of the building to further building, a small ‘out house’ style place with several rooms. We left all of our bags and belongings and went in to complete the tests. This took about 3 hours, although I completely lost track of all time during! I didn’t really know what to make of them except that they were difficult, challenging and really made you think. I thought I had completely messed up on report writing due to losing track of information as it was being given to us. But everything else seemed to go OK. Next we were allowed a short (3 minute) toilet break and I had a drink and a couple of bites of a breakfast bar. I had a horrible headache and in my concentration for the written tests, I felt like I had completely forgotten everything I had learnt for the Role Play and Interview. We were to do our role plays next. We were taken and briefed for these, the people who briefed us all through the day were so lovely, helpful and calmed our nerves so much. We chatted until the role actors and assessors were back from their lunch break and then went through formalities. We were allocated numbers and these corresponded to doors. When the first roleplay started, we were to read through an information pack quickly and make any notes we needed to take in with us. I wrote notes for the first one but just read through the info for the rest. All the packs contained was a brief history of events and an overview of the person we would be dealing with. We went through the motions of all four Role Plays, some I managed to resolve quickly and others I had more difficulty finding a resolution to but managed to say the right things in order to keep the actors happy, I think! After these were finished we all breathed a sigh of relief before we were taken into our 20-minute competency interviews. By this point I was knackered, physically and emotionally drained from the constant stress and pressure of the day and felt like the interview would be a complete write off. I barely even remember the questions I was asked let alone the answers I gave. I felt like I stumbled over myself many times and my examples were nowhere near as strong as they were in the Interview I had passed before the AC day. All I remember clearly was a wasp flying in through the open window and hovering around between me and the interviewer, who didn’t look up from his scorecard the whole time and didn’t notice it, so I fidgeted around and tried to waft it away without him thinking I was having a funny moment. We all had our debrief and were told what we couldn’t tell anyone about the day (the specifics, basically!) and we all left together. We were all as shocked as each other about how fast the day had gone but how stressful those 5 hours were. “5 hours of hell” was a phrased used by not just one person and I completely agree! We joked about how we all thought we’d definitely failed, and talked about how we wouldn’t be able to apply for another 6 months as if we had all already received rejection emails! Mum picked me up and I slept the whole journey home from Reading, trying to fight off my horrendous headache.

Monday 26th September 2016 – This was my first day at a new temporary job that I thought would perfectly fill the gap between the present date and the proposed intake of April 2017 that I expected to be in. It was absolutely horrendous, I was spoke to and treated like rubbish and had been basically lied to about what the job would entail. I sat in the freezing cold, shed-like office that would supposedly be my base for the job and decided enough was enough. So, I stood up and told them I would not be continuing with the job as I was disappointed to have been mislead, thanked them for their time, got in my car and left. I got home pretty upset that the day had unravelled as it had, and was angry at myself for thinking this would be the ‘perfect opportunity’ to switch up my job before I joined the force. I told my mum and stepdad all about the day and they were just as angry as I was at how I had been treated and we were all just pretty peed off, that’s when my phone vibrated indicating that I had received an email. I looked and could hardly believe what I saw, an email from Dyfed Powys Police titled ‘Police Officer Application’. I knew that this would either be telling me I had passed or failed the assessment centre. I could barely bring myself to open it as mum stared over my shoulder. We both screamed when the first line read “Congratulations we are pleased to inform you that you have been successful at both the interview stage and the National Police SEARCH Assessment Centre for Police Constable. We are therefore in a position to make you a conditional offer of appointment as a Police Constable within Dyfed Powys Police.” It stated the conditions I would have to pass in order for this to become an unconditional offer and the proposed intake of April 2017. I cried in shock, happiness and complete disbelief of the timing of the email that had taken the worst day and turned it into one of the best days I’ve had to date! I rang my boyfriend while he was at work to tell him about the fail of a first day in my new job and the results of the assessment centre, and then rang my sister to tell her all about my rollercoaster of a day as well. I could hardly believe it!! I had passed the Assessment Centre!! I was so much closer to the job of my dreams and all my hard work had paid off.

Thursday 29th September 2016 – I arrived at HQ for 3:30 for my fitness test and biometrics. We were taken through reception and had our fingerprints taken, all the staff were really nice and making jokes with us, reassuring us that we’d all pass the fitness for sure. We were rallied up and taken into a big sports hall where we were briefed on how the Bleep Test would work. We warmed up together, doing stretches, and then were asked to run to Level 1 of the Bleep Test as part of the warm up. This was easy enough and made me confident for the test. To say it was easy wouldn’t really be the truth, the pressure of the situation definitely made it feel difficult, although reaching each end of the hall before the beep wasn’t that challenging at all. We all encouraged each other as we ran if anyone seemed to be struggling and all managed to pass first time. By this time, I was starting to recognise some familiar faces from each stage of the application process. We were taken back to a holding room where we filled some forms and chatted amongst ourselves about which areas we’d applied to, what intakes people thought we’d be in, at which point I realised there was a December training intake that we weren’t informed about that some of us might be on due to geographical demands. I didn’t think much of this as I had been told I would be considered for April intake. We then had swabs taken for Biometrics, and the nurse told me this was basically to make sure our DNA wasn’t pulled up in crime scenes we attended on the job. This made it feel so real, ‘on the job’, on the job that I was so close to starting!

Monday 17th October 2016 – After being signed off medically by my GP and sending off my medical forms, drugs testing day arrived and I once again returned to HQ. We read through briefings and what we would be tested for and one by one went in to have chunks of hair chopped off and sent off for testing. We never heard back about these results, meaning I had passed (as I fully expected!) I remember laughing at a current PCSO/Special (I never caught which she was) who said she’d been at a job involving a cannabis farm in someone’s house recently and was worried she’d show up positive for weed on the test! This recruitment process fills you with so much self-doubt! Sometime between this date and the next entry I had my medical examination, which went fine and I found out I had perfect 20/20 vision and excellent hearing, despite thinking that the hearing test had gone awfully as I was sure I was hearing beeps that didn’t exist!

Friday 4th November 2016 – Just as I was about to leave for work, I received a call from an Unknown Number. It was the lady from the workforce planning team who had been at all of our stages at HQ and she told me she had good news for me and asked if I was available to talk. She said they were happy to offer me an unconditional offer of employment to the force as Police Constable and that training would start on the 5th December, in a month’s time! She told me where I would be based and that I would receive my unconditional offer along with other information in an email on Monday.

Monday 7th November 2016 – I received my unconditional offer of employment in writing along with lots and lots of forms to fill in and return, and a list of online modules that we would have to complete prior to our start date for training. I booked myself in for accommodation as I live pretty far from HQ (about an hour and a half drive) for the first section of training and let everyone at work and my employer know that I would only be sticking around for a few more weeks! Everyone was so excited for me to be in the December intake instead of having to wait for April like I was expecting and I’m so happy to be well on my way to becoming a Police Officer in Training at the age of 19!

Tuesday 15th November 2016 – Another journey back to HQ for Uniform Fitting and my first Hep Jab. Putting the uniform on made me feel like a real-life Police Officer. It was quite a surreal feeling to be honest, stood there in my high vis with the bullet and stab vest on, kit belt around my waist. I had to go for the smallest hat they had available because I have a pea head, and will need altered trousers (long leg problems!) but overall it was pretty successful. Everyone back home was disappointed I didn’t get any pictures of myself fully kitted out! I’m sure the novelty of the uniform will wear off, but for now, it’s sooo cool ;). Boots ordered and tried on, last shift at work at the end of this week and the holiday to NYC I had booked months and months ago for what is now the second week of training cancelled and I’m so ready to get to HQ and start! A week and a half to go.