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!