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Thinking of Applying to Join? - Reality


Chief Rat
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This post is for those of you who are looking at a career within the Police Service, Fire Service or indeed the Ambulance Service or in fact any associated roles such as the NHS for instance.

Contrary to popular belief, joining anyone of these organisations is no easy task. You have to undergo lots of tests involving writing and arithmetic as well as other writing skills for reports etc. You have strict entry requirements, medical and fitness tests followed by thorough vetting (hopefully) and interviews.

At the conclusion, you may if successful be offered employment in your chosen career pathway.

Well here is the reality.

I am not sure what some people actually understand when it comes to providing a public service within an organisation such as the Police, Fire and Ambulance (NHS) services. Some people are either completely naive or simply idiots.

Let me explain.

All of these services work 24/7. That means to coin a phrase, they work shifts around the clock 24 hours a day. Now you won’t work a full 24 hour shift (well hopefully not, things will have got bad if you do !), but you will work a varied range of between 8 and 12 hours.

These are split throughout the week into early, late and night shifts. Yes contrary to belief folks, these services work in the dark hours.

I know it can be scary, but honestly it is a necessary evil and part of the job profile.

In addition to the 24/7, you will also work 7 days a week. Yes we work weekends as well, so I am sorry if this might interrupt your social life with your college friends but its a fact. Crime does not stop and vulnerable people still need us at the weekend. Now once again, you won’t work every weekend. The shifts allow for some time off to socialise and your rest days as we call them vary in and amongst your duty schedule or rota or roster as some organisations call them.

Let me assure you that when you join the police, it’s not Heartbeat. It’s stressful. Long hours, often no meal breaks, high workloads, and often a feeling of not being appreciated by some people and in some cases low morale and you have to now do all of this whilst studying for your degree !

That said there is also a sense of public satisfaction when you get your ‘villain’. That drink or drugged driver, that burglar, that thief, that child abuser or lock someone up for mentally or physically abusing their partner. Whatever it may be, you will feel a sense of pride in knowing that you have made a difference to someone’s life.

You may be asking yourself, why have I posted this?

Well would you believe it if I said, some people who have recently joined (so I hear), did not realise you had to work weekends, did not know they had to work nights, did not realise it would be so hectic at times or stressful attending traumatic incidents.

Fact. We go to those incidents that most of the general public will never see in a lifetime. You are the person they will turn to when they need advice, reassurance and guidance.

You should research the job before applying? I really do give in at times.

Anyway rant over.

Finally let me wish you and your families a safe and joyful Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Stay Safe folks and get home to your families.

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Feel better Chief?!

On a serious note, that is a good post as I saw the headlines from serving officers too about probationers being sod all use (I think that was the just of it). 

Research is vital.

There perhaps should also be a cooling off period (minimum service period of six months for example, once you get past a certain point in training). I also think really difficult training scenarios should be used as frequently as possible. 

But recruits must also be open, to dealing with almost anything. 

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"I dont want to go to that fatality/sudden death, I've already been to one and evidenced that on my PACT list"

I wish I was joking. 

Edited by Radman
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12 hours ago, Chief Rat said:

This post is for those of you who are looking at a career within the Police Service, Fire Service or indeed the Ambulance Service or in fact any associated roles such as the NHS for instance.

Contrary to popular belief, joining anyone of these organisations is no easy task. You have to undergo lots of tests involving writing and arithmetic as well as other writing skills for reports etc. You have strict entry requirements, medical and fitness tests followed by thorough vetting (hopefully) and interviews.

At the conclusion, you may if successful be offered employment in your chosen career pathway.

Well here is the reality.

I am not sure what some people actually understand when it comes to providing a public service within an organisation such as the Police, Fire and Ambulance (NHS) services. Some people are either completely naive or simply idiots.

Let me explain.

All of these services work 24/7. That means to coin a phrase, they work shifts around the clock 24 hours a day. Now you won’t work a full 24 hour shift (well hopefully not, things will have got bad if you do !), but you will work a varied range of between 8 and 12 hours.

These are split throughout the week into early, late and night shifts. Yes contrary to belief folks, these services work in the dark hours.

I know it can be scary, but honestly it is a necessary evil and part of the job profile.

In addition to the 24/7, you will also work 7 days a week. Yes we work weekends as well, so I am sorry if this might interrupt your social life with your college friends but its a fact. Crime does not stop and vulnerable people still need us at the weekend. Now once again, you won’t work every weekend. The shifts allow for some time off to socialise and your rest days as we call them vary in and amongst your duty schedule or rota or roster as some organisations call them.

Let me assure you that when you join the police, it’s not Heartbeat. It’s stressful. Long hours, often no meal breaks, high workloads, and often a feeling of not being appreciated by some people and in some cases low morale and you have to now do all of this whilst studying for your degree !

That said there is also a sense of public satisfaction when you get your ‘villain’. That drink or drugged driver, that burglar, that thief, that child abuser or lock someone up for mentally or physically abusing their partner. Whatever it may be, you will feel a sense of pride in knowing that you have made a difference to someone’s life.

You may be asking yourself, why have I posted this?

Well would you believe it if I said, some people who have recently joined (so I hear), did not realise you had to work weekends, did not know they had to work nights, did not realise it would be so hectic at times or stressful attending traumatic incidents.

Fact. We go to those incidents that most of the general public will never see in a lifetime. You are the person they will turn to when they need advice, reassurance and guidance.

You should research the job before applying? I really do give in at times.

Anyway rant over.

Finally let me wish you and your families a safe and joyful Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Stay Safe folks and get home to your families.

A great and well thought out post that shouldn't have to be posted but sadly is required! 

Some of the horror stories that I've heard from training school are frankly terrifying. 

5 hours ago, Radman said:

"I dont want to go to that fatality/sudden death, I've already been to one and evidenced that on my PACT list"

I wish I was joking. 

How about this, I was told about a girl who quit after two days because she didn't realise that she would have to get hands on with people and BETTER YET.. didn't realise she had to ARREST people as a police officer. 

Or there was the kid who did his final interview via Skype, still laid in bed, when the interviewer asked him (not that they should have to) to stand up and address the room he was wearing a t-shirt and boxer shorts! 

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Good post, certainly does seem to be an issue with recruits coming through. 
 

 

I suspect apart from a few idiots majority know about violence, shifts and so on but to be fair in general they won’t know how they’ll deal with it until they actually start. 
 

Personally as someone as who had been a special and worked with chaotic “customers” before in another role Someone things did completely shock me when I joined, 

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I imagine it's not possible to really understand what policing is like until you're actually doing it, but people should really have an idea of what they are signing up for before joining. If weekend and night shift working is unacceptable to you, an emergency service role probably isn't the right job. People who don't want to go to a fatality because they've already done one, well who else is going to go, what if the other officer doesn't want to go either?

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1 hour ago, Equin0x said:

I imagine it's not possible to really understand what policing is like until you're actually doing it, but people should really have an idea of what they are signing up for before joining. If weekend and night shift working is unacceptable to you, an emergency service role probably isn't the right job. People who don't want to go to a fatality because they've already done one, well who else is going to go, what if the other officer doesn't want to go either?

Says a lot about the recruitment process.  I know as a Cadet aged 17, who was expected to work weekends, I was present at the report of a Sudden Death of a man who had been dead for 3 months.  I had to assist in moving the body and his arm dropped out of his sleeve onto the floor. I also attended the PM because I was interested. Yes I did throw up but it opened my eyes into what I could expect.

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21 minutes ago, Zulu 22 said:

Says a lot about the recruitment process.  I know as a Cadet aged 17, who was expected to work weekends, I was present at the report of a Sudden Death of a man who had been dead for 3 months.  I had to assist in moving the body and his arm dropped out of his sleeve onto the floor. I also attended the PM because I was interested. Yes I did throw up but it opened my eyes into what I could expect.

I had a sudden death where an old yin had turned his fire on full blast, had a heart attack and fell about 3 inches away form it, head first.

He had no family and 2 weeks later when the postman noticed the smell after trying to put a letter through the letterbox, there was no skin or fluids left on his entire head. 

When the coroner's office came out to remove the body, I stood behind a door about 10 feet away as I knew what was going to happen when they tried to move him. Needless to say, the poor sod was now resting in pieces...

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13 minutes ago, Jack McCoy said:

I had a sudden death where an old yin had turned his fire on full blast, had a heart attack and fell about 3 inches away form it, head first.

He had no family and 2 weeks later when the postman noticed the smell after trying to put a letter through the letterbox, there was no skin or fluids left on his entire head. 

When the coroner's office came out to remove the body, I stood behind a door about 10 feet away as I knew what was going to happen when they tried to move him. Needless to say, the poor sod was now resting in pieces...

Yep, had a similar one and his body fat had melted and then set on the carpet with the ele4ctric fire, surprising still on.  Also a 15 year old youth who blew his head off, in the street,  with his fathers shotgun. Covered him with a jacket. Fortunately I knew the ambulance who attended and at my request he got permission from ambulance control to remove the body. 

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  • Management

I’m pleased this topic has generated some mature discussions. It’s been long overdue rather than some of the mundane topics we have seen across the forum and it would be good to see more being posted in the near future.

Like many of you I have been to many incidents over the years. Too many to discuss here and in some cases not really appropriate for a public forum.

However having been involved in policing for around 37 years now, there have been a lot of ups and downs.

Having joined the police service as a SC when I was just over 18 and staying in this role for about 6 years, I had a wonderful opportunity having applied to become a regular officer, to work alongside my regular counterparts for a full week prior to the assessment process for the force I had applied to.

Cumbria where I was working at the time (because my work life saw me in this part of country) allowed me to join the team at Kendal whilst on leave from my full time job. 

The District Commander organised for me to have a number of attachments to various departments that week ranging from Response, to Neighbourhood Teams (a version of NPT in those days), Roads Policing, CSI as well as the Boat Policing Team on Windermere Lake.

How did this go? Wow what a week it was !

I think I learnt more about myself than I had previously. Attending at the hospital to a sudden death of a walker who had suffered a heart attack, taking details from next of kin, tagging the deceased body for continuity, securing the chaps property and recording the details correctly for the reports to be submitted. Attending a fatal traffic collision and seeing first hand how all of the emergency services worked hand in hand in collaboration with one another. Helping to pull the body of deceased person from the lake after a suicide, reporting and advising drivers of boats for breaches of local bye-laws using their boats on the lake, attending burglaries and seeing how CSI worked.

A vast range of incidents (the funniest being dealing with a load of sheep blocking the road who would not move :)). 

Did this put me off. No it only increased my desire to join up full time albeit in another force.

I went onto complete my 30 years and during that time have got involved in some extremely distressing incidents for both me, my colleagues and the public. I have forgot how many times I have had to deliver bad news to families and provided that valuable support they need at such a sad time. It can be time consuming and take its toll on you as an individual as you go through their pain with them.

As a Fed Rep for many years, I have also supported colleagues as they have had their own problems in dealing with some of the traumatic incidents over the years, found it difficult to come to terms with them and in some cases had to leave the job they have loved for so many years through PTSD or other debilitating illnesses. I have been lucky and consider myself ‘only there but for the grace of God to use that phrase). So many of us have struggled both mentally, physically and emotionally over the years, but the job is beginning to see. 

The introduction of wellbeing, peer support, TRiM and other portals to get assistance within the service is growing and Managers are no longer being dismissive of individuals who are clearly struggling as they were in the past. Have we got it right? It’s work in progress and it’s not the finished article by any means but they are trying.

After 30 years did I just walk away and retire? No I got the opportunity to re-join as Police Staff and enjoy being back in the organisation that has provided with me so many opportunities over the years. I would recommend it to anyone but you need to know what you are getting yourself into. It is not a 9-5 job. It is hard work with little or not respect from certain individuals in society. Constant pressure and scrutiny from both the public, Government and our Senior Leaders. Have we let ourselves down at times, yes without a doubt. Sometimes I cringe at some of the things cops and staff alike get up to, the stupidity of their antics. What are they thinking?

Then we have the ‘bad apples’. Those who bring disrepute to the organisation and tarnish the reputations of those hard working and honest staff who do their very best for the public they serve. Like the public, we are the very public we serve. Rooting out corruption and criminality within our own rank and file is something we all strive to do, but sometimes the odd one goes unnoticed, but when they are found, out of the door they go.

It’s a fantastic role but if you are thinking of joining, then do your research and remember that we are a 24/7 service working everyday to make a difference !

This must be the longest post I have written in a long time :) so all that is left for me to add at this point is on behalf of the Management Team and Staff at Police Community, I wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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TBF I’ve watched probably the biggest recruitment drive for police officers the service will see, and the majority meet the grade and don’t come in wearing a blindfold.

I always meet my students prior to them landing. I’m quite clear, don’t moan, expect to be late off every shift; expect to see some horrible ####; expect though to have a laugh and be part of the best team going. I’ve been lucky I’ve not had anyone who didn’t do anything I told them, thought they’d be going home at 1700, or thought the most confrontation they’d see is an arm wrestle in the student Union.

The job gives you the experience you need. Most people do not have any experience of serious domestic violence/abuse; have seen anyone die or anyone rotting having died; people seriously self harming; children living in squalor and those living on a self inflicted bread line etc etc. So IMO the recruitment process is nothing but a misnomer. You may as well do it at random. I don’t know if it’s still the same but being a shopping/leisure centre customer service thingymajig is nothing like being a police officer.

I have to say though, I’ve seen some horror shows come through the process who should have been shown the door. Some just don’t get it. I remember nearly getting filled in by a builder returning home after a GBH domestic and my oppo pretty much standing and watching me fight with someone clearly stronger than me. The tutor wanted him reg 13ing, for some reason not supported by supervision and everyone else was left to carry them.

I’ve seen the tail wagging the dog with supervision “I’m frightened to go out on my own”. “OK flower you go double crewed until you feel safe”. Sorry you don’t learn to swim with arm bands on all the time.

There’s other examples.

But these are the minority. There’s a creeping culture of weak leadership and an over reliance on “welfare” in the wrong circumstances rather than an honest conversation - introspect, is this the job for you?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm considering moving back to the UK. Police or paramedic seems the best route at this point for any sort of skilled worker visa now. I am a citizen of an EU nation, but EU citizenship isn't going to help me anymore apparently; I wasn't in the UK by the deadline for the EU Settlement Scheme. I was going to move back to begin work on an MPhil, but well...Covid. I can wait and finish that later.

I earned one of my degrees in the UK, so perhaps that could help. I have multiple degrees, including a UK graduate degree, all of which were taught in English. I'm certified as a police officer (AFO, too), medic, and firefighter. 

What are my options? I would love to move back to the UK. I'm very good at my job. I have the tactical and paramilitary experience to work the worst part of policing, but my best experience come from my background working at the community level and as as social scientist. 

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7 hours ago, GermanGypsy said:

I'm considering moving back to the UK. Police or paramedic seems the best route at this point for any sort of skilled worker visa now. I am a citizen of an EU nation, but EU citizenship isn't going to help me anymore apparently; I wasn't in the UK by the deadline for the EU Settlement Scheme. I was going to move back to begin work on an MPhil, but well...Covid. I can wait and finish that later.

I earned one of my degrees in the UK, so perhaps that could help. I have multiple degrees, including a UK graduate degree, all of which were taught in English. I'm certified as a police officer (AFO, too), medic, and firefighter. 

What are my options? I would love to move back to the UK. I'm very good at my job. I have the tactical and paramilitary experience to work the worst part of policing, but my best experience come from my background working at the community level and as as social scientist. 

As this is a police forum and all I have experience of I can only advise you in a police sense and not a medical or firefighter role. 

If you are not currently residing in the UK and have never worked for a police service within the UK then you would need to apply like everyone else, you would not be treat as a returner despite your qualifications or AFO experience. You would be treat as a brand new police officer and would have to re-learn the job so to speak. Given your qualifications however you would be able to apply to forces that run the DHEP (Degree Holder Entry Programme) meaning that you would receive a incrementally better pay and would only need to serve as probationary officer for 2 years rather than 3 - meaning you could look to progress from there into the likes of AFO, traffic, CID etc. 

If you have qualifications that would progress you into a higher paid and more for fulling role such as social sciences etc then would it not be more beneficial to do that?

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