Student Officer DU PORT talks about Week Five........
Week 5 came around with a lot of excitement for all of the Student Officers as we had all seen on our timetables a whole week devoted to Officer Safety Training. Not only did this suggest to us that the week to come would be full of practical scenarios and drills, but more importantly a chance to stretch our legs outside of the classroom for a change. Little did we know, a few of us we would be dreaming for a return to our classroom seats to rest our bodies by the time the week was through.
We began the week with an introduction as to what Officer Safety Training is all about. In essence it gives us the skills and techniques required for us to carry out our day to day jobs in the safest way possible, protecting the public, ourselves and our colleagues. As would be the same for every practical or physical exercise to come a full body warm up was done in order to minimise the risk of muscle injuries, particularly later on in the week when arms would be bent into what seemed like impossible angles. The SPEAR principal was demonstrated to us and a series of practical's followed. This principal showed us the body's natural flinch response to stimulants, most often a subconscious movement away from the stimulus and covering of the head.
The next set of skills taught to us were techniques that could be used in order to restrain individuals safely. A variety of positions were demonstrated and then practiced on each other, this really proved the effectiveness of the safe restraint and transport positions.
The next few days introduced us to the kit that we would be carrying on our utility belts such as batons, incapacitating spray, limb restraints and most importantly hand cuffs. For each bit of kit we were shown how to use it, exactly how it worked but most importantly the safety aspects and considerations we would be required to think of before using it. This culminated in a practical exercise where we were presented with a scenario in which we had to decide on the most appropriate way to deal with someone, ranging from calming someone down with speech, to deploying incapacitating spray.
At the end of the week a written exam was taken and a practical test had to be done to demonstrate the correct techniques for each of the positions and restraints taught to us. For all of the student officers this week offered some challenges, both physical and mental. By the final day however I feel that everybody felt confident that if put into a dangerous situation they would know how to react appropriately in order to look after not only their personal safety, but also that of anyone they are interacting with.
For now it's on to week 6 where more law will be learnt and an opportunity to put to the test some of our newly acquired skills!