Student Officer SHORTO shares her experiences from her first weeks training....
Week 1 - Day one
Saturday was the first day of a very long 16 weeks ahead. Walking into the police station my heart was pounding, I'm not sure if it was pure dread of sitting in a classroom again after such a long time or pure excitement at learning a new career after being in my previous job for so long..
Walking into the chapel I was met by another 7 anxious looking faces, these were the other Law Enforcement recruits in the same boat as me. Not knowing anybody we settled into our first task of sitting in pairs to learn about each other and stand before the class to introduce each other, this was a real ice breaker and from then on we knew we were going to be fine and able to support each other. What a great bunch.
Week One and already I'm listed as duty student with extra duties. We set up a savings pot for our group to be able to buy tea coffee etc, plus money saved will go towards a meal once we have qualified.
The morning came and went in a flash, the afternoon was started by the issuing of the long awaited uniforms. 8 piles with our names written on. Watching every student rummage through bags and boxes, it felt like Christmas receiving gifts from Santa.
Sunday - 8am start, for me to be up so early on a Sunday picked a bit but it did feel good to be back. Today's the day of the dreaded knowledge check! Test papers placed on our desks, suddenly the room changed from banter and giggles to nervous silence, you could almost smell the fear! For me, fear = blank mind. As I turned over the paper and began to read the first question I was faced with total mental block, 2nd question, total blank. Panic set in and I started to think "what the hell am I doing here"? so a couple of deep breaths and a quiet word with myself, I calmed down and began to plough through the questions and managed to pull out some answers. 45 minutes later it's over. This time the sense of relief was apparent throughout the class and the friendly banter returned, only to find out I wasn't the only one who had a little moment of fear. The rest of the day was a breeze.
Monday - Today was the first day we were to wear our smart new uniforms. Perfectly ironed shirts and trousers and shiny new boots. The chatter turned to how long it took to iron one shirt and the methods used to get such a shine on the boots. The morning went on with a meeting with Mr Rice and getting to put suitable questions to him. what an inspiring man, not only was he the Chief of Police with great stance, but he also appears to walk around with spare ties and hands out coins to new students. we then had a short insight to HR, and yet more handouts. Again the morning flew by, then after lunch went back to our classroom to be greeted by a gentleman dressed as a police constable from the 1800's. I was amused to see the picture on the screen of him sitting dressed as he was and sitting on a modern day police bike. This was an interesting lesson on the history of Law Enforcement from as early as the 1800's. We were issued some sheets of paper with our family history showing some 'interesting stories' of generations of our families dating back to as early as the 1700's.
Later on that afternoon after a tea break we were met by another gentleman in uniform, this time he was an ex Royal Marine Commando waiting to take us through 'Drill practice' since when did I join the army? this must be a mistake, surely! Nope, oh dear, 'Dads Army' came to mind, and then it began, bumping into the person in front, arms flailing everywhere. Lots more practice required I think. After the session and suffering achy shoulders, I thought what great fun can't wait to do it again.
The rest of the week and again my biggest dread 'The fitness test'! Thank god I got through again, as we all did. Wednesday, and another inspection first thing. We all decided to arrive early with perfectly ironed shirts on hangars to avoid getting creases in them whilst driving. Again the sense of pride was noticed throughout the students on how smart we all looked and how long it took to polish boots again.
Today was the first day the class was split up with the GBA students attending Ozanne Hall for a talk on types of drugs and their paraphernalia surrounding them, whilst the Police students remained in the chapel to learn more police topics. For some strange reason the discussion turned briefly into the fact that the three GBA students were all left handed and the Police students were all right handed, boring statement but thought I'd share this rare phenomenon.
Thursday, we were instructed to all go to SOCO to have our finger prints, DNA & photographs taken. it was interesting to see how this process worked and to learn where this information is stored and why.
Friday - Our final day of what has been an exhausting 7 days for all after much intake of information, tests, revision, remembering to be in the right place at the right time, ironing, polishing etc. The first topic amongst the students was that of who's going for a well deserved beer that evening and looking forward to a weekend off. It's safe to say a few beers were indeed enjoyed that night! The day not over yet, and we sat another presentation to prepare us for the following week and our next group task, ' A Public Survey'.
The final half hour of the day and the students were given one final task for the week, a quiz prepared by moi, on what they had learned throughout the week.
Bring on week 2!!!