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
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...