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Found 13 results

  1. I have been meaning to write this blog for a while and as I sit here studying for my definitions check this Friday, I can think of no better time than to avoid said study and put into words my experiences over the past five weeks! I'm hoping this will give prospective recruits a little bit of insight into the IPLDP format and I intend on writing a series of blogs as my time on the course progresses. So here goes... In my force, an IPLDP course consists of 18 recruits, no more, no less and not limited to any particular background. On my course we are a fairly good mix of ex-PCSOs, ex-Special Constables as well as four recruits with no policing background at all (I myself previously serving as an SC for the same force). As the weeks on the course go by you soon notice that all of that past experience is largely irrelevant and actually counterintuitive on occasion - you really are unlearning all that you've learnt and are starting back at square-1! This gives those from outside of the service somewhat of an advantage in my opinion and you may well find that the trainers and bosses agree with that train of thought! Much, much more is expected of you as a PC and this is reflected in the training. Not to put anyone off, of course, I'm having a great time thus far and am thankful to be where I am! Anyway, I shall take you through my weeks thus far just to give you an idea of what to expect! WEEK 1 For all intents and purposes, week 1 was very much an introduction to the Police Service and my force in general. We received input from all the relevant bosses, a talk from the Police Federation (who had us signed up to a million different things by the time they'd left!) as well as various other guest speakers with introductions to different aspects of the Police Service. We started this week in civilian clothes as at this point we were not sworn in constables! The heat that week was unbearable also, so office wear was not the most comfortable (mind you, neither is the uniform itself!). Day 2 in the first week we had our induction exam. This exam tested our knowledge on topics detailed in our induction folders that were given to us at the welcome evening two weeks prior to our start date. All of the recruits were nervous for this exam, perhaps a bit too nervous than we should have been, but everyone pulled through and passed! The following day we had our fitness assessment. This is not designed to be a pass / fail assessment as we had already had this prior to starting training (national standard of 5.4 on the bleep test), but rather to gauge our level of fitness. The assessment consisted of the bleep test to destruction followed by a spin on the Fitech bike, which determines the level you should be hitting on the bleep test. This, unfortunately, is where we sustained our first casualty on the course. A recruit with lasting injuries from a recent car accident was unable to participate in the fitness due to pain in their neck. With this being quite high-risk and with rest / physio being the only remedy, it was decided by the trainers and occupational health that the recruit would be leaving our intake and held back for another. This was obviously quite emotionally distressing for the recruit as they, like all of us, had worked very hard and jumped through hoops to get to where they were - it was sad to see them leave. The recruit was gone by the following day and another prospective recruit lined up to take their place in the next week. I can't overemphasise how precious places on these courses are... My particular force accepts only the best candidates to fill vacancies for PCs and there is always somebody ready to take your place if, for whatever reason, you can't continue... On the Thursday of week 1 and with all introduction and assessments out of the way, it was time to get attested! Despite me having done this before as an SC, this time was different - more special and poignant. The entire morning was more-or-less spent learning our attestation inside and out... In our force, we read the attestation in both Welsh and English and have to say it in unison. For anyone who has read the Police attestation before, you will know that it isn't exactly written in the plainest of English - the same applies to the Welsh! It took us a while for us all to get our pronunciations right and our pauses nailed down, but we had it polished by lunch time! We then donned our No.1 uniforms; tunics, dress shirts/trousers, helmets/hats and boots (bulled to perfection) and made our way to the local Magistrates Court. There were a few hiccups along the way, a particular constable forgetting his helmet and another falling victim to a heavy dollop of seagull poo, but the less said about that the better! Upon our arrival at the course we were promptly informed that Magistrates were not available to attest us today... However, a District Judge was present (sitting in on a case previously) who was happy to swear us in - a rare treat! After a rather sweaty and uncomfortable wait in the lobby of the court, we were directed into the main courtroom and read our attestation in front of the judge - all went well and the attestation sounded great! He did fall off his chair at one point, but we remained composed... We were now Police Constables - sworn in and eager to crack on... From now on we would be turning up to class in our freshly pressed uniforms and expertly bulled boots (still getting the hang of that...). To top the week off we had a talk from the Chief Constable - this was a great opportunity for us to ask questions re the future of our careers in the service and for him to share his ideas for the future. WEEK 2 Onto the next week... Again, a bit more introduction. We were introduced to the force IT systems - yawn-fest, though it has to be done I suppose... Many of us had seen this all before in our previous roles, but a refresher is always useful. The class were also issued with the Pocket Notebooks (PNBs) and we were given a run-through of how and what to record in them. We went through various PNB exercises, writing mock entries to get a feel for how we might best use our PNBs in the future. A lot of forces these days don't issue PNBs to their officers and some may look at them as a somewhat outdated form of note-taking, however, our force still recognises a use and importance in their existence and I am inclined to agree! The next day we had an input from the Professional Standards Department (PSD). PSD are responsible for ensuring the integrity of the force and the maintaining of the image of the Police Service in general, as well as routing out any corruption within the body of staff! This input was presumably meant to put the fear into us, however, we all found it very informative and interesting. We are all now very aware of what you should and shouldn't be doing and how an abuse of your position can easily land you without a job! It is mostly common sense, but it doesn't hurt to hammer it home. A lot of input on diversity this week - a big topic for the police. In the ever-changing and diverse society that is the British population, it is more important than ever for the Police service in the UK to recognise how we can better represent the people we serve. During these sessions we had guest speakers from various backgrounds relating to disability, sexual orientation/gender, religion, etc. all of whom provided very interesting and thought-provoking talks - we were also given the opportunity to ask questions and to determine how we might better serve these different communities as Police officers in the future. In terms of fitness input, we also had another assessment this week in the form of a timed mile. This time was recorded and added to our force records for future reference as we are expected to improve on this time in subsequent assessments. WEEK 3 By this time the class had started to come together a bit more with friendships beginning to form. When you spend the best part of 40 hours a week in close proximity to the same people, you find that relationships begin to form between you and your colleagues, perhaps more so than in other working environments. Everybody is there for the same reason and we are all in the same boat! This week also saw the workload up tremendously compared to the previous two weeks. We were now getting stuck into our legislation and were given our crime books and definitions lists... Over the next few weeks we would be expected to become familiar with these materials as it would form the basis for our crime exam at the end of Week 10 - daunting stuff! Week 3 was a real mixed bag - we covered the National Decision Model (NDM) in-depth, as this really forms a basis for modern policing. Nothing more to say about that... Being a Welsh force we also had a Welsh-input session - it is expected of all officers to reach a certain level of proficiency during the 24-week course so as to be operationally competent in the language. Some find this easier than others. We also had one-to-one sessions regarding our fitness from the weeks previously. Our Fitech bike results from Week 1 would tell us where we should be at on the bleep test and our timed mile times were also scrutinised. Both of these we would be expected to improve on throughout the duration of the course. Throughout the rest of the week, we spent our days learning our Police cautions and receiving inputs on forming reasonable suspicion and belief - the grounds on which policing is founded! This all culminated in a roleplay towards the end of the week in which we were to exercise our new found knowledge / powers in tackling a rather unrealistic scenario of littering in a public place! I'm sure that may be the last time I ever encounter such a situation, but who knows... We were all graded on our performances during the roleplays and given feedback on where to improve. It was our first roleplay of many and, of course, mistakes were made by all - the course is one big learning curve from beginning to end! Following the role plays we were given an input on statement writing. We would be expected to write a detailed statement regarding the roleplays from the day before. The statements were written as per the input we were given following on from the roleplays. They were then collected in and marked by the trainers - we would be given feedback on these at a later date. WEEK 4 This has, so far, been the most challenging week for the class - we were K.O.'d by the end of it! The workload ramped up once again as we found ourselves knee-deep in new legislation and with definitions to learn. Powers of Arrest & Further Detention and arrest necessities were the main agenda for this week - it would tie into everything we did. We were once again faced with another roleplay task, this time tackling a situation involving suspicion of theft. This one went terribly for me and has, so far, been my worst day on the course. Everything just went wrong - my mind went blank, I lost my legislation, my necessity for arrest - it all went tits up! I came out with the feedback and all I can do now is learn from my mistakes. The rest of the class experienced similar hiccups and we were all given a bit of a row at the end of the day - we needed to improve because things weren't going to get any easier... I said this week was a tough one and with the roleplays out of the way we still weren't out of the woods! At the end of the week we had our definitions check... That definition book we were given the week previously, we had a lot in there that we needed to have memorised because we were about to be tested on it! The definitions checks in our force take form as a "fill in the blanks" kind of task... The definitions will have been written out, but with critical words removed from the extract. It is important that the correct words are entered into the blank spaces as any slight deviation could entirely change the meaning of the definition and thus nullify the legislation. Thankfully everyone had prepared and we came out feeling confident... Success! We all did well and the week finished on a high. WEEK 5 And that's it up to now! I wanted to keep this somewhat brief, but that really hasn't happened... I've left out bits here and there, but that is largely the process up to now... The pleasantries are well and truly over with by week 5 and a noticeable pattern in the way the course is delivered is starting to become apparent. New legislation is thrown at us every week along with routine knowledge checks. Our fitness is tested weekly - we're pushed hard. Our uniform is scrutinised... It is all quite alien at first, but this is our daily routine now. These next few weeks will see even more challenges as we start to get stuck into the physical side of things with Personal Safety Training in Week 7 - three weeks after that and we will be almost half-way through. That still seems a long way off, but I'm sure before I know it we will be there. It will be on to the traffic legislation then (a further 10 weeks dedicated to that!), but I shall try not to get ahead of myself. I hope whoever reads this finds it interesting. I shall endeavour to put together another one of these blogs as the weeks go by - I'm sure I'll have plenty interesting to tell you!
  2. Thought it was about time I did a little update on here, thanks to @PC123WANNABE for reminding me! Since I last posted, I've pretty much completed my time as a tutored constable and will be being made independent in the next couple of weeks. At the end of the classroom training, you go out to your station and work with another officer who's a trained 'Tutor' for a number of weeks until you're allowed to work independently. In my force, the tutorship is 15 weeks. You usually get assigned one tutor and remain with that person the whole time with a midway review and a big review with your Sgt at the end to check you're ready. For me, I had one tutor until about half way until she went off sick (not my fault I promise!!). Since then, I've been with other officers, basically whoever is free, and for the past couple of weeks I've been with a traffic officer who's currently on beat and is a trained tutor. I've learnt so much in my time with my tutors and I've managed to tick pretty much everything off the 'to-do' list of incidents required to become independent. These are pretty standard things but range from dealing with a Domestic, which I've had plenty of, attending RTC's, completing files, going to CPS for advice, giving cannabis warnings, drink drive procedure, searching etc etc the list goes on but everything kind of ticks itself off during the 15 weeks! I was really worried at the beginning that 15 weeks isn't enough time to become confident and despite still absolutely pooping myself about going to my first call alone, I've gained so much confidence with my tutors that I really do feel like I might be somewhere near ready. I think I've become the shifts own personal #### magnet, everything I touch seems to end up being much more complicated than it first seemed. I've had a couple of really complicated domestics that I've found it difficult to deal with in terms of the workload and files, especially without a solid tutor during this time, but I think that's mostly due to being new and not knowing what jobs to prioritise, so just doing everything as if it's urgent and pretty much burning myself at both ends every shift. I'd say that hardest thing I've had to do so far is definitely the files, which is something I never expected when joining this job. I knew there would be paperwork, because what job is without it, but I didn't expect to spend some 10 hour shifts sat behind a desk for 8 hours completing files and typing like a crazy lady. I've had moments where I've been so stressed, my brain is absolutely fried, I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing and I'm so scared to get things wrong. But for every one of those moments, I've had someone on my shift there to help me and pick me back up. It's such a family environment and I'd like to imagine it's like that at every station. It's a bloody hard job, especially the stuff behind the scenes. But I absolutely love the satisfaction of getting a file in, or getting a nasty offender charged, the feeling of helping a really vulnerable victim and the adrenaline of going to calls. Like I said, I've been with a traffic officer for the past few weeks so I've done a lot of traffic work which I've really enjoyed. Last night alone I had two 165 no insurance seizures, a mobile phone ticket, two breathalyzers and a driver warning. I love that even when the shift is a bit quieter in terms of calls, there's nothing stopping you from going out and finding your own work, which is what we did last night, checking every car that moves and getting the naughty ones of the road. I think from the last few weeks traffic is something I'd really be interested in looking into in the future. But then again, everything else looks so fun too!! I really feel like an actual officer now, I've found my own style of doing things and my own way of speaking to people and even though I still make mistakes, and sometimes they're silly ones, I learn something new every day and face something that challenges me pretty much every shift. In terms of working shifts, I've absolutely loved it. I wasn't sure how I'd cope with nights but actually it's morning shifts that I dislike the most! I haven't had many weekends off but to be honest I haven't really minded. It is a sacrifice to your social and family life, I definitely don't see my family or friends as much, but it's really worth it. I can still say I leave for every shift so excited to get to work, and that's something I'll not be taking for granted anytime soon!!
  3. So having arrived in Glasgow last night for a festival, I went out on the hunt to find suitable parking spaces in the city. I left looking for a parking space, and came back with a final offer of employment as a Police Officer! At the moment it hasn't really sunk in, and I doubt it will seem real until I've passed out, but after starting a degree in Policing in September 2013, to applying and being rejected in 2014, it feels like a long long process has finally come to an abrupt end! Thanks to the many of you on this forum who have offered support and advice throughout the process - I wouldn't recognise any of you walking down the street but your help throughout has got me the job I always wanted and I'm truly grateful to those who are too many to name individually! Have a good weekend everyone, time to celebrate with Thom Yorke and a pint of warm, watered down lager!!
  4. It's been a while since I've posted on this blog, mainly because nothing's been happening. I attended my medical which went smoothly, but involved waiting for 4 hours with other candidates in the piping hot waiting room of a converted semi detached. Aside from that it's just been chasing up references and trying to extend my son's vocabulary past "dog", "mum", "dad" and "gone" (which is apparently now a noun used to refer to a bin) Late this morning I got a call from my local Neighbourhood Sergeant asking for a home visit. Nearly an hour later and the kettle was on and I was panic shaving the mess that I haven't bothered to touch since my interview at the start of the month. The home visit was the part of the process that really intrigued me, having not made it to this stage before it was a complete unknown although some of the saints on here gave me at least an inkling of what to expect. The first test was a fairly simple one - white tea none. I didn't get any feedback on that but there was no vomiting so I'm taking it as a pass The visit essentially consisted of an ID check, around 20 questions designed to find out my attitudes towards drugs, binge drinking and right wing political groups as well as making sure that there was nothing that I hadn't failed to declare on my vetting forms. The questions were fairly formal, but after they were out the way I had an opportunity to sit and have a cuppa with a serving supervisor who could answer any questions about the job in a formal setting. Just the vetting to wait back on now so hopefully this time next week I'll have a final offer of employment Hopefully...
  5. 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
  6. So, taking influence from @Eddzz!! and his wonderful blog, I've decided to post my own spin on what it means / involves to become a PC. I got the official go ahead about 2 1/2 weeks ago that I had been successful and I would be on the next intake, which starts on Monday October 24th. Lots of paperwork, forms and signatures to complete before then. I've been invited for a pre employment day on Saturday 15th October at the force training school. This is to be shown around, meet your new trainers / colleagues and to go through the uniform fitting again. I say again, as up until last month I was a serving special constable for the same force. It all started when I moved from Wales to England to live in Kent. I met a girl who's from this area and things kind of went from there. I didn't have any friends, family or close connections to spend time with so it was all very difficult. I joined the specials in June 2015 and I instantly fell in love with the job. The unpredictable nature of calls, tasks and day to day activities still makes me smile now. My current job is working within forensic mental health services, which sounds great, but can become boring at times - so the change is very much a good one! I feel a sense of personal proudness to not only become a special constable for one of the UKs largest forces, but to also be on the verge of becoming a full time PC. It's really been a long and difficult road but soon to be over. I aim to share my experiences and what it's like to be a PC and hopefully inspire more of you who wish to follow suit. I will update again sharing what I get up to on Saturday at the pre employment day - if there's anything you wish to know or ask, don't hesitate to comment! Dan
  7. 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 everyday tasks and small 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. This was also right up my street as a self-proclaimed amazing drunk dancer. 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.
  8. Well well well... I haven't posted on here since the 30th April 2015. Fast forward nearly two years and we've lost the likes of David Bowie and George Michael, Donald Trump is now President of the United States and England's football team still haven't won anything (I guess some things never change). On the 31st March, I handed in my scrupulously drafted application for a PC role and this morning, 10 days on, I received an email telling me that I was successful in the paper sift. One half of me is filled with an excitement that I'm finally back on the road to doing the job that I've always wanted to do, after 24 months of twiddling my thumbs and the other half of me filled with a sense of apprehension that it's going to be another 6-12 months of constantly refreshing my emails, as well as having to go through the SEARCH assessment again. In January 2015, I had a regs application withdrawn due to an unsatisfactory reference, after going all the way through the process and it honestly felt like the day would never come when I'd be looking at getting back in the saddle. I guess if anyone is in the same position - or even looking at the 6 month wait after rejection - it's a sh*tty time, there's not a lot you can do about it, but dust yourself down, get back up and do your time and the opportunity will come around again. Next step is the briefing for said assessment - I thought I'd blog the process, not sure if anyone is remotely interested or whether anyone will read this, but hopefully this time next year, I will be writing about training and the year after be writing about punch ups, fast car chases and telling naughty children to go to bed. England still won't have won anything by then mind...
  9. 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!
  10. 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!
  11. 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)
  12. 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. Here's how it all went, starting from the very beginning! Wednesday 22nd June 2016 – Application 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.
  13. Now every good story starts from the beginning, however, this is not something I can do as my mind does not stretch that far back and I would be making it up otherwise. And with this being the first blog I have ever even composed It may not read fantastically so you'll just have to put up with it I shall go back as far as I can remember... once upon a time in a land far.... no wait that's something else It's about 2230hrs, late in the year so by this point it was dark and it was cold, now having been a special for some time I am independent and can crew with other specials. I get into the station, which is an outpost so it's just me there, and kit up. I put on my Stabby, fleece, grab my bag and coat and look for a set of keys. As my luck would have it there is a set of keys for brand new car! [yes actually new] with only a few miles on the clock. I grab the keys and my radio battery and head out to the car, after checking emails and making sure my PNB is up to date. I put my kit bag in the boot of the car, do the walk around checks to make sure everything is working (lights, sirens, horn, wheels....etc) turn on my radio and tune in to the local channel. At the moment my oppo is not due for another hour. I hear comms asking for units to attend an ASB where there has been injury , I head to back up in the first instance. I get there and all is as was described over the radio, it is a small version of chaos. I attend to a male on the floor with a head injury whilst other officers start trying to sort everything else out. Ambo arrive, this male is going to hospital, no questions about it. Off goes the ambo with me in tow behind. We get to the hospital and me and the male have a chat he's going to be patched up and it may take some time so details given and we arrange for him to come to the station to give a statement at a later time, I leave him in the capable hands of A&E staff and off I trot. By this point my oppo is at the station ready and waiting, so I head back and pick them up, apologising for the..... slight... delay. we both the go out searching for wrong doers and awaiting the next job to come in. it gets to about 0200hrs and comms shout up asking us to help in the search for a missing person who has vanished from where they were supposed to be, as I said at the beginning it's dark and cold and late in the year, so there is concern for this person and their welfare, after 45mins of searching along with other officers we do not locate them. comms redeploy us to a possible criminal damage whilst other officers continue the search. We spend a good 30mins searching for any signs of any damage to anything and turned up nothing, so whatever it was that had been damaged had long gone before we got there. At this point I am starting to flag, I haven't had a coffee all shift and it's been a long day at the day job before so we both call it a day. I drop my oppo off at the main station and head back to my outpost, where I de-kit, turn my radio off, hang up the keys and find I've done about 150 or so miles... I get in my car, turn on the heating and put on some planet rock where I head home for a coffee, some food and some much needed sleep

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