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Becoming a Special

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Becoming a Special - The assessment




So this time last year I made a big life change and moved from the Midlands down to London. It was something I'd been thinking about for a couple of years but for some odd reason (comfort zone/it was a scary thought) I just hadn't done it yet. Cue falling in love at the end of 2015 and she then moves to London, becoming my catalyst to do so as well.
In November of 2016 I decide to get out of my comfort zone again and do something else I'd been thinking about for years, join the Police! Unfortunately I discover that to join the MET you need to have lived in London for 3 out of the last 6 years... damn. A friend of mine advises me to go down the Special route, as this isn't a requirement and it's also a great way to test the waters. I apply after Christmas and eagerly wait a response. Sadly, during this time my girlfriend decides things just aren't right anymore and ends it. A week after that my Nan passes away... I really need some good news right now! At the end of January I receive an email and I'm successfully through the paper sift. Let the revision being... along with the first entry into this series of blogs...

27th March 2017:

My alarm goes off at 0600, although in reality I’ve already been awake for the past hour. The amount of thoughts and questions running around in my mind is starting to make my head hurt. What if the tube is delayed? What if I forget my passport? What if I’m the only one to fail? Maybe I’m not fit enough to do the bleep test. I shake it off and clamber out of bed. Damn, it’s cold. Why has my flatmate turned the heating off? I’m 27 and I don’t want to live like a student!


Into the bathroom and look in the mirror. My pathetic attempt at a shave from the night before is embarrassing. I hate shaving in the morning. My inability to, and lack of often shaving always leaves me with a hot, sunburn looking rash. I shower, grab a protein shake, brush my teeth and then get dressed. Suited and booted I grab my duffel bag – not before checking that I have all the documents I need again for the 5th time. Onto the tube I know where I need to go. The dry run I did the week before to the assessment centre helps to ease my mind. At the very least I know how to get to the building!

Wow the Tube is hot. All of a sudden I want to live like a cold student. Sweat patches before I even arrive, fantastic. Off the Tube with 45 minutes to spare. Grab a coffee and start to go through my revision notes one last time. Nothing goes in and before I know it I’m walking into Empress State Building.


I take a seat next to a bunch of other nervous looking individuals. We’re all here for the same reason. We get chatting and discuss who has revised what, which study books people have purchased, who wants to be a regular and so on. We’re called up to collect our name badges and then whisked off upstairs. First up is the written test. Half an hour to complete, read the question and off I go. 15 minutes in and I’m breezing through… hang on a second, I’ve misread the question! Damnit! No time to go back and restart so I course correct my answer. “And stop writing”. What? That wasn’t 30 minutes, surely the clock’s fast. Pens down and papers collected we’re asked to leave the room and await the results which will be ready shortly. My heart is racing. I sit down with the others and we discuss our answers. Thankfully my confidence is boosted slightly when we all seem to have written the same thing. My name is called along with the 3 other guys I’ve just been chatting to. We’re lead out into a separate room. Either my heart is racing so quickly that I can no longer feel it or I’ve actually died… maybe that’s it, that’ll be better than the rejection I’m surely about to face. “I’m happy to tell you, you’ve all passed. You’ll be heading into your interviews shortly”.

We’re all grinning from ear to ear and suddenly I notice my heartbeat again. “Does anyone need the toilet?”. Everyone goes except for me. I get stage fright at the best of times, there’s no way I can go now!


I’m lead into a room on my own as the others head off to use the toilets. Within 30 seconds of sitting down a tall chap walks into the room grinning. “Simon? Follow me”. I jump up and he introduces himself. He’s a full time PC. We head into a different room where there is a Special SGT waiting. He introduces himself and I stand there remembering not to sit down yet. I’m politely asked to take a seat and I thank him. For the first few minutes we sit and have a light hearted chat, I’m already at ease. The questions start and I reach into my memory bank of answers, the revision is paying off! Before I know it the interview is over and I’m back in a room with the others. 10 minutes go by and I’m called out of the room with the same guy who I was with when we passed the written. “Congratulations, you’ve both passed the interview”. Smiles all around.


The next couple of hours are different documents and checks with the nurse. All is good and then it’s off to the bleep test.

One of the guys with us hasn’t got his sports kit. He says he wasn’t told to bring it. Instead he borrows a pair of trainers from an instructor and does it in his shirt and trousers. Fantastic. The bleep test is over before it even feels like it started. Easy. Everyone in the group passes, although I’m fairly sure one person didn’t cross the line on one bleep but the instructor misses it. Ah well.


That’s it. It’s 1530 and the day is done. I head back to the Tube along with another guy. We chat for a bit, exchange numbers and then head our separate ways, agreeing to keep in contact throughout the process, which we have so far.


I’m back in my flat by 1615. I realise I haven’t eaten since my protein shake. I grab everything I see in my cupboard, collapse in my room and just lie there. I’m absolutely drained. I manage to message my family and a couple of mates to tell them I got through. I go over the day in my head. It’s the furthest I’ve been out of my comfort zone in years, and I’m so happy I did it.

I smile, grab my laptop and pop an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine on. I proceed to gorge on my snacks and decide I deserve pizza for today’s efforts, it’ll be the perfect way to fuel tomorrow mornings gym session.


Thank you for reading if you made it this far. I'm currently into my second week of training so will do some more writes up soon. I haven't written like this since school so apologies if it's a bit sloppy!

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Good read, takes me back to my assessment centre days (both of them!)

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