This is a condensed post contianing most of the detail from my previous thread, titled "The Training."
Sulhampsted, Thames Valley Polices Force Training Facility, provides a locale where all Special Constables that are invited to attend training with TVP will be taught the knowledge aend skills that they need to become proficient probationers in the role of a Volunteer Police Officer. The training is broken down into 8 weekends (5 Law weekends, 1 First Aid weekend and two Officer Safety Training weekends), and most of these weekends will be held at Sulhampsted. Some training weekends may have venues changed on an intake-by-intake basis, and you'll be notified of these in good time.
DJS writes this regarding Sulhampsted:
1 - Directions
Sully is EASY to find. From Jct 12 of the M4 it is about 3 miles away. Go South from J12 on the A4. Go straight over 2 large roundabouts keeping to the A4. About 1 mile past the second roundabout there is a BIG sign on the left directing you to the Thames Valley Police Headquarters. Turn left. Go over a few bridges and as the road starts to climb after about 1/2 mile you bear left (again, BIG sign) and about 300yds the road goes left. Carry straight on up the entrance drive. Again, BIG sign. http://maps.google.co.uk is a good start.
Carry on up the drive and on your right you pass a big low(ish) building and the drive climbs slightly. I wouldn't speed as there are some brutal speedbumps! Carry on and you come to a large white buildings with at least 4 large columns. That is reception [The Whitehouse]. When you present yourself you will receive a room key, fob for the doors into the bldg's you require access to and a security pass. Wear the pass at ALL times.
2 - Accommodation
You will stay in a single en-suite room about a 3 minute walk from reception. This will all have been pre-booked/allocated and there is no advantage to turning up early. It is perfectly functional. For some they are too hot and others too cold. There are two controllable heaters and a window. Use them to make yourself comfy. Earplugs may be a good idea if noises wake you. The walls are v. thin.
There is a kettle, tea & coffee, a cup and spoon in the desk drawer. In addition there is a hairdryer and a small CD/Radio unit. [As of 02/03/2012, a number of rooms have had Televisions installed, free to use, although the signal is not great. If you bring a laptop and the appropriate cabling, you can hook your machine up and watch a DVD.]
The bed will be stripped with a pile of clean linen, a duvet, two pillows and the requisite covers on it. You have to make-up your own bed and strip it before you leave. Don't like that then bring a sleeping bag.
The room has a shower, sink and loo. You'll need to bring towels and soap etc.
3 - Food/Drink
There is ample cold water from dispensers dotted around. The canteen is part of the training block. Food is v. institutional style. If you were/are a fan of military/school dinners then you'll love it. If you want fresh fruit then you'll have to bring it yourself as it is a limited choice and is presented sporadically. At mealtimes there is free instant coffee and teabags with boiling water, milk and sugar. On evenings when the canteen is shut then they prepare lunch bags with a sandwich/sausage roll, crisps, an apple and biscuits. It will keep you alive!
4 - Facilities
Just North of J4 (3 mi away) there is a very big Savacentre with a petrol station and a McDonalds. It is about a 10 min drive from Sully. Within the main building there is a bar with a pool table and a TV room with satellite telly. Additionally there is a kitchen [area] with two microwaves, a dishwasher and small fridge. NO bottle openers and cutlery were evident. Screw-top booze is the way forward if the bar is shut! We were given 24h notice of the bar being closed so ample time to make other arrangements. In the canteen there is a large fridge as well.
There is a gym and fairly small golf course. Speak to your trainer about getting access.
5 - The Training
6 - Car Parking
There is a very large car park. You'll see it on your right as you start up the driveway. Reception will give you a pass to be displayed at all times. The car park is very well lit during the dark. Walking to and from the car park to the accommodation block is about a 10/15 min round trip.
7 - Dress Code
It is allegedly a smart-casual environment. However, there is a distinct emphasis on the casual. As long as your clothes are clean and don't have anything offensive on them you'll be fine. You receive a uniform on w/e 3, so you wear that from then on.
Weekend 1, Day 1:
You'll need to arrive on site as early as you can; the site isn't massive but it takes a few minutes to get to the White House, get your pass for the weekend, get a room key, find your room, let yourself in, unpack, make your bed, and then find the Canteen. There are various assistants and other students around to help you find your way as best you can; if you're unsure of anything, simply ask.
Day one sees you meet the rest of your intake, plus any others who have turned up early from other intakes. You'll probably have 20 or 30 minutes for you to relax and get to know each other, before you're met by the Duty Sergeant for Training and normally the Special Chief Constable (or in our case, the Special Superintendant). There'll be a bit of information put your way in the Canteen that will include expected standards of behaviour, the expected dress code until your uniform is issued on Law Weekend 3, and some of the learning requirements for the course. The Specials Training Co-Ordinator, will then split the intake into groups if appropriate, and you'll be asked to head upstairs to a classroom to start the process off. In this session, you'll be provided with your Shoulder Numbers, and the Stations that you've been assigned to, and have an opportunity to correct any personal information. There'll be a reasonable pile of paperwork on your desk for you to take a look at as well - please ensure you're near a chair when you see it! You'll talk a little about Needs, Concerns and Expectations, and then probably head to bed!
Weekend 1, Day 2:
Into the crux of it. You'll be into the same classrooms with the same people, have a bit of an ice breaker with your trainer, and then get into the lesson about Equality and Diversity, Prejudice and Discrimination, and legislative expectations. You'll also have an appropriate introduction to the TVP Intranet, where you can find critical information, and be provided access to the TVP E-Mail system. You'll need to have the appropriate sections of your IL4SC pre-join workbook signed and ready to hand in, and be prepared to sign even more paperwork! In the same evening, you'll likely be asked to perform some E-Learning through the NCALT system; all will be explained to you if you're a technophobe!
Lessons generally end at around 18:30, but the breaks are well spaced, and the pace of the lessons is appropriate. That, and there's a limitless supply of tea and coffee! Saturday evening is generally the first sensible opportunity to head to one of the local pubs; the Fox and Hounds seems to be the more popular establishment, and their Ice Cream is simply sublime!
Weekend 1, Day 3:
On Day 3, you'll learn a little more about what you can expect as a Police Officer. You'll talk about Neighbourhood Policing, an understanding of the structure of each LPA, and where you can expect to fit into the process. You'll start talking about some sensitive information, and there's the possibility of the requirement to hand in another signed bit of paperwork. You'll then start discussing Police Inteliigence, when and how you can submit such information, and the rammifications of doing so! After that, it's home time, with some homework set for you
Weekend 2, Day 1:
Make sure you arrive on site nice and early; there's nothing quite like strolling into the classroom late because you felt like having dinner at home rather than braving Specials issue Sandwhiches... The less said about those the better!
There'll be plenty of signs around to show you where you need to be; look for your intake identifier, and it'll tell you which room you need to be in and who will be taking that lesson. Lesson number one for the weekend is quite straightforward: the rules and regulations of your Pocket Notebooks. You'll be shown a set of rules and guidance notes on how to fill them in, and various methods of writing descriptions. Please be aware that Thames Valley Police has been renamed Mnemonic Central, and you'll have about 4 to try to remember by the end of thise lesson! Before long, you'll be issued with your very own (to keep on your person whilst on shift at all times on punishment of doughnut rationing) yellow covered notebook. You'll be told how to fill in the front cover to the character (numbers and letters included), and I would urge you not to put pen to paper until you've been told exactly what to do. You'll then be taken for a casual stroll down to the Whitehouse building, where something might happen that might require you to makae your very first PNB entry!
Weekend 2, Day 2:
Morning 5 of training requires you to learn about Statements. It'll be explained to you that often, you won't be taking statements from witnesses, as this often requires extra training and comes in conjunction with interviewing technique (a week long course if any of you fancy it in the future). You'll be taught the rules for writing statements, some pointers for descriptive writing, and how statements will be used in court. From that you'll start learning about the legislation that surrounds the Power of Arrest for constables, where the power comes from, and how to use it. You'll learn a little about citizens arrest, the expectations of you as a constable whilst performing an arrest and the words you need to say when performing an arrest. Getting this wrong has severe implications, so take plenty of notes, and as ever, if you're unsure, please ask. After this, you'll have a bit of fun acting out scenarios, with the assistance of some of your classmates, that will lead to you making an arrest if you deem it to be appropriate. After that, your arrest will need to be recorded somewhere... You'll also be required to prepare a statement for anything else that may have been recoreded, possibly from the night before (if anything happened...).
Weekend 2, Day 3:
On the Sunday, you'll start learning about how the Police communicate. You'll learn about the Control Room, the functions that they perform, and how to liase with them. You'll then talk about one of the core functions of the control room more specifically; PNC Checks. PNC contains vast amounts of information that's crucial to the role of a Police Officer. You'll be taught when you can and can't request a PNC check, how to do so and an expectation of the information that you can expect back. After that, perhaps the most fun part of the weekend: airwave issue and training. You'll be given your very own Police Airwave radio, and taught it's functions. This will be followed by a fun little practical test; bring a coat: it gets cold.
Weekend Three, Day One
Tension and anticipation were high this weekend, for two reasons: remember everyone's names after the christmas break was kind of tricky, but more importantly, Friday night was Uniform Issue night! We started Friday, however, discussing the plan for the weekend, before starting to discuss the legislation behind the first bit of law that we can actually nick people for: Theft. You'd think it sounds kind of straight forward, but once you've defined "theft," you then have to define "dishonestly," "appropriates," "property" and God knows what else. Try to take it all in; it's useful to learn the format of the legislation to prepare you for what's to come.
After you've studied Theft for 90 minutes or so, you'll be taken down to the hall for your Uniform Issue. You'll be given anything between 1 and 3 bags full (or not...) of equipment, and asked to check what's IN the bag against what SHOULD be in the bag - trust me when I say there's a discorrelation. You'll then be free to lug it all back to your room, and try it all on, posing in front of whatever mirrors you can find.
Your trainers may ask you to bag your Baton, Cuffs, Warrant Card Holder and Badges and hand them in; they should be given back to you at OST, and then taken in again until your Attestation.
Weekend Three, Day Two
Get a good nights sleep because day two is long. You learnt about Theft on Friday; on Saturday you learn about more Theft, Going Equipped, Criminal Damage, Racially or Religiously Aggrevated Criminal Damage, Statutory Preventative Measures, Offensive Weapons, Bladed or Sharply Pointed Articles, Exhibits and Property Handling and as many digressions as you can fit into one day (believe me, we had lots. And many of them were my fault (sorry guys!)). The Exhibits and Property Handling section will probably be covered in the Lecture Theatre, but you can expect the rest of it to be in the classroom, and somewhat death by powerpoint. As much as the trainers try to detract from the fact that it's essentially a wall of words, there's no hiding from the fact that actually you need to know some of these down to the word.
Our trainers were nice enough to let us finish at 5; normally, you'd have dinner and be back in at 6 to start Stop and Search, but I think they're trying to phase that out.
Weekend Three, Day Three
Inevitably (because of what I've just said...), day three consisted of Stop and Search; the legal power behind it, what we need to cover whilst doing it, and the forms we need to fill out as a result of it (because the Police love forms, right?). It'll be a tough morning, but there's plenty to look forward to for the afternoon; we were asked to bring our full rig to the Stop and Search practical, and I must tell you it felt rather good to be stood outside in your full rig, roleplaying a stop search!
Take the opportunity to start reading through Blackstones well in advance of this weekend - I started looking at S&S about Tuesday last week and must say I felt reasonably familiar with what was covered in the lesson by the time we got there. Above all else, enjoy yourself! We had a great laugh with out trainer, and I think it makes the learning process a bit easier. Then again, I am a bit of a jester and the rest of my intake probably want to kill me!
Weekend Four, Day One
Arrival as always was met by
Thankfully, your friday night is relatively straight forward, but be prepared for...
Weekend Four, Day Two
Now, you may well do this in a different order, but on Day Two, we discussed Assaults and Anti-Social Behaviour in quite an amount of detail. The Assaults section was interesting, but an amount of it is common sense when you remember that an Assault can include a threat to harm, not just the physical action of doing it. Apparently a lot of Police Officers get confused over Assault, so make sure you take plenty of notes and read up on them in the future. As always, if you have questions (or even examples!) feel free to pipe up in the lesson!
Anti-social Behaviour includes the legislation that governs it, what it can be used for, and again, some examples of their proper, and improper use. Unfortunately, the current Government doesn't like ASBOs, and seem to be trying to phase them out. However, the Act that introduced them looks like it might stay, so the future of Anti-Social behaviour Orders is undetermined at the moment.
A lot of people have a clear misunderstanding of what ASBOs are designed to do. Thankfully, the lesson makes clear what options are available to us (which doesn't just constitute ASBOs but can include ABCs, ARDs, YRDs, RJ Mediation and so on and so forth), and how we can utilise them. It actually sounds rather interesting if you ask me! However, you need to be prepared for another You vs. Legislation faceoff, and bring plenty of paper! I've taken up about half an A4 notepad so far on this course!
As an aside, I shall mention here a little roleplay opportunity that we had: whilst our course was on-going, there were a number of officers attending with the prospect of becoming Tutors. These will be the people who will be guiding new Special Constables once they hit the big nasty real world. We were asked to provide a number of student Officers, stooges and observers in order to allow the assessors assess the tutors tutoring (wow...). It was another opportunity to tackle a scenario for those that took part, as well as gain some valuable feedback from experienced Officers. A good time was had by all!
Weekend Four, Day Three
Was spent looking at Public Order offences and PNDs. Public Order (and Breach of the Peace) is a fairly defined section of Law, and generally looks as though it's used in relation to drunkenness. I was actually surprised at this section, as our trainer said that often, when arresting for BoP or Public Order offences, there will often have been other offences committed as well. It's amazing how many laws a criminal breaks by opening their mouth with some rotten words in a busy street on a Saturday night!
Unfortunately this is another fun packed day of Legislation, and your wrists will probably be sore by the end of the day. However, at the end of the day is the fun sounding PND Practical! Unfortunately for us, this constituted sitting in a classroom and writing out a PND. Other versions of the same event have included speaking with a "suspect" and deciding whether or not to issue them a PND. Personally I'm a little upset, as I think every roleplay we can get will be invaluable! But I guess we made up for it on our little roleplay from Day Two.
Weekend Five, Day One
A fairly laid back evening if I'm honest, with a fairly laid back trainer. We were introduced to a room (Holdsworth Hall) in which a crime scene had been laid out. In a little bit of a roleplay, we were taken into the room, in darkness, with a Torch, and asked to "act out" the Scene, thinking of preserving the scene if appropriate. It sure as hell beat sitting in a classroom watching Power Point presentations flick past! Afterwards, we had a bit of a discussion and looked at some of the forms relevant to Scenes of Crime, and that was that for the evening. Friday was strange; everyone had the anticipation for Sunday but nobody was quite willing to admit it (in my opinion at least). It wasn't until...
Weekend Five, Day Two
... that everyone starts talking about "oh word, it's tomorrow!" Sitting down to breakfast, all you can hear is talk of Attestation. The anticipation really builds now, and Sunday can't come quickly enough. Anywho, it was back up to the classroom for 09:00, and we started talking at Powers of Entry. Sadly, no practical involvement this time (the big red door key requires a seperate course, so I'm told), buts lots of legislation to cover. Various sections of PACE and a few other fun ones thrown in as well. PofE is obviously quite important for what we do, and is yet another area where attention in the classroom is key! Later in the morning we went for a Restricted briefing (I'm not even going to tell you who from), before settlign down in the Learning Resource Centre and studying a bit of Domestic Violence.
Thankfully there was no room for practical involvement here either... We were given the best part of 2 hours after lunch to fight our way onto NCALT (it doesn't cooperate) and get through the NCALT package, before heading back down to the classroom for some discussion. We later looked at DASHH forms, which are to be filled out whenever a Domestic situation is reported and attended. Unfortunately, Domestic Violence is all too real, and not something to be taken lightly. I reckon we've all served a "get back in the Kitchen" joke in our time, and probably will do in the future. But by jove will I think of some of the videos we watched and the discussions that we had. I must say, I'm not looking forward to dealing with my first Domestic.
After we'd been thoroughl terrified by some wife beaters, we headed back downstairs to the Canteen. Somebody decided that Finger Painting was a good idea, followed by a good old toothbrush. What I actually mean by this is that our finger prints were taken in order to eliminate us from forensic investigations where appropriate, and our DNA was taken by usnig some Mouth swabs. We were told that we were lucky/fortunate enough to be allowed to take our own, but I suspect that everyone takes their own as it saves the trainers bucket loads of time! This was all rather good fun, which was followed shortly by a rehearsal for...
Attestation: Weekend Five, Day Three
A day of mixed emotions; some of the presentations that we had throughout the day were quite sombre and somewhat eye opening (even at this late stage in the game), but the mix of humour and anticipation really helped everyone pull through. Before breakfast, we headed upstairs to have our photo's taken and our Warrant cards printed. It was a strange sensation, handling and signing something that you 've yet to be issued!
We started the morning off, not quite as billed, but with a presentation about Professional Standards. Who expects what from us, what do they expect, and how can we ensure that we provide that? We were even taught how to put our hats on properly. No, I'm not joking. It goes on from the front backwards. With a thumb spare. After a quick break, back down to the classroom to learn about Crime Recording. We looked at another high-tech, modern TVP application in which notes of Crimes are recorded (we had looked at Command and Control in a previous week, but I don't remember if I wrote about it). We talked about ORCs, and our involvement in Crime Recording, but nothing too strenuous. We were meant to do another lesson on Dynamic Risk Assessment training, but our Trainer soon found out that we'd already done this at weekend one! We covered a 40 minute lesson in about 5 minutes.
Some time during the morning, our certificates for Attestation had been set out on our chairs in the Hall, and we headed down to sign them. Our Batons and Cuffs had been left for us as well, and I'm sure for about 30 minutes all I could hear was the sound of Batons being racked and collapsed!
Unfortunately, we missed out on a bit of a walk around outside after lunch because it started to snow. Instead, we practised Safe Stopping (of Vehicles) in the classroom, all stood in our Flo' jackets making strange symbols at each other. Again, this only helped break the tension and we had a good chuckle around the room. I noted at about this point during the day that time had started to crawl. A quick flick at the clock after what seemed like an eternity was only actually a 5 minute passage of time. After our Safe Stopping lesson was finished, we had 20 minutes or so to kick about by ourselves. Cue lots of phone calls to family and friends tracking people down! I headed down to the front of the Whitehouse to see my Parents in, and happened to bump into a Special who's based at the same nick as me. We got chatting and I found that my reputation had preceeded me, thanks to a regular who took me for a ride along 2 years ago. It was nice to know that I was remembered!
Back inside for our last presentation before the big event. This was taken by a Special Chief Inspector, and was a little pre-emptive chat to prepare us for what we were about to do. A lot of talk about expectations, but not just on behalf of us. There were some expectations on what the Special Constabulary would expect from us, and what we could hope to achieve. Thankfully, the SCI that took our presentation had a wealth of knowledge, and managed to break the time up with some fairly interesting stories of his past. Suddenly, the clock said 14:50 and we all sprinted to the toilet before the Ceremony began.
I shan't talk much about the Ceremony itself, as I think you'll find your own experience much more enthralling if you're not entirely sure what to expect. I will say, however, that it went without a hitch, and 36 new Officers graced the books because of it.
When all was done, we headed back to the Canteen for some networking, and a chance to introduce our supervisors to our families. Unfortunately, my dad has a massive gob on him, and we ended up talking to my Inspector, the Special Chief Officer Nigel Woodley, Assistant Chief Constable Richard Bennett and Special Chief Inspector Jason Morley-Smith (sp?) for about 30 minutes. It was actually a stark reminder that at the end of all things, we're all human! I found everyone that I spoke with the be quite approachable; even the Justice of the Peace who presided over the Ceremony came over and remembered me by name, and had the courtesy to ask what it was like going first. It was a refreshing way to end the weekend, before heading home with the family for Curry and a sleep.
Our third weekend (not to be confused with Law Weekend 3), was our introduction to First Aid. I say "introduction", but it was fairly thorough, and is designed to give us enough to get out in the field and preserve life if the situation warrants it. You can continue your training at any point with various NCALT modules, and I believe various practical sessions are hosted at Sulhampsted every now and again.
Essentially, this is a two day weekend (but you can turn up on Friday night), bulked out with death by powerpoint. The sheer pain of this is nullified slightly by the presence of the two highly qualified and highly experienced trainers, who are also quite humerous. You'll spend almost all of day one learning about Primary and Secondary Surveys, preservation of the airway and bits of anatomy. There'll be plenty of opportunities for digression, so you'll learn bits and bobs along the way. You'll learn about Heart Attacks and Strokes, how to identify these and how to provide initial care for people suffering from these. Please; if you're squemish (sp?) go and watch some horrific films for a couple of days before you go to First Aid! Some of the pictures aren't pleasant, and as one of our trainers quite accurately said; if you can't look at it on a screen in a classroom, how are you going to deal with it out in the field? There are also some practical introductions to things like the recovery position, and the use of Automatic External Defibrilators (AEDs).
Day two will expose you to the more common side of what we're likely to deal with: physical injuries to the body. Grazes, bruises, cuts, stab wounds, gunshot wounds, burns, scalds; you name it, it's probably in this day. There's slightly less work on the second day, but be ready for the two hour written exam...
Officer Safety Training: Weekend One, Day One
We spent the morning looking through the legislation behind the Use of Force, and who this applies to. Contrary to popular belief, anyone can use force, provided that it is reasonable; Common Law provides us with that power. You'll be required to learn three pieces of legislation from this session, verbatim. You'll spent a little time looking at conflict managements models, and when it's appropriate to use force, but more specifically, the order in which force can be used. It's hard to explain and stay away from operational information, but let's just say your Baton isn't your first point of call!
After lunch we spent the morning practising various handcuffing techniques. These aren't too stressful, and are fairly easy to apply once you've remembered the steps. The problem is that we practise in "pure form," with subjects who are completely compliant, and offer no resistance. The idea is to mentally blueprint the steps, so that even if, operationally, we come across some resistance, we still remember exactly how the process should look, so that we can attempt to safely enact an arrest by opposing resistance and remaining safe. Obviously though, out on the street we wont be walking up to people that we want to arrest, that are potentially offering violence, and asking them to stretch an arm out, and wrap their other hand around their elbow...
You'll learn how to cuff from four different positions; one in front, two behind and one from the floor. The cuffing position from the floor will also require you to learn how to pin people to the ground in a safe manner, being cautions of what damage you may apply to someone if you become careless. Remember; you'll have a 76 question theory exam, and a practical assessment, so if you need to take notes, feel free!
Officer Safety Training: Weekend One, Day Two
Today, the pain came.
We spent the morning looking at escort positions; ways that we can safely control a suspect, encourage/(require) them to walk with us, and how to combat any resistance they provide. This doesn't necessarily rely on pain compliance, but you will always be in a position to apply extra restraint or pain as necessary. The two escort positions you look at are OK; the next position you take a look at has the opportunity to hurt. But, as always with training, you learn and then move on. In this case, you move on to takedowns. Now, this isn't a throw because you're always in control, and you go down with them, but you go down in such a manner that they have no choice.
Let me urge you at this point: take it easy. I managed to ###### the shoulder of one of the lads on my intake, and he had a trip to Minor Injuries because of it. He was OK by the end of the day, but believe me when I say he was in pain when he was on the floor.
After the rotary takedown you'll look at a linear takedown, and from both of these you'll work on the ground pin that you learnt on Day One. You'll take lunch, and then move onto more unarmed techniques, this time in the form of strikes. Now, this isn't learning how to punch people in the face and get away with it. You learn in a controlled manner, and how to strike people in a specific way. There is an element in this of learning how to knee people in the thigh, but this is a justified technique for which you must understand the consequences. There's plenty of safety considered, and you won't be allowed to actually strike someone; safety pads are involved.
After the strikes section, you move on to learning about your equipment; Captor spray and your autolock baton. These are serious bits of kit, and you will face sanctions if you misuse them. Again, there's the opportunity to try it out (no, the Captor isn't active), and you'll have plenty of opportunity to ask notes. There's a small theory section on the Captor spray, but you're given a handout that covers the information suitably. Of course, if you learn best from your own notes, then feel free to take them! You'll crack on with Captor spray, and if you're lucky the cuffs will come out and you'll have a quick opportunity to practise some of the technique you learnt on Day One. After that, you'll be introduced to your Baton. More pad work will follow, and you will quite honestly go 100% into a pad that's affixed to someone's leg.
Officer Safety Training Weekend 2
I've rolled the two days into the one "bulletin," as really we covered a lot of old ground and learnt little that was new. We spent much of the first morning refining our Handcuffing techniques, before moving through Baton work, strikes, takedowns and everything mentioned in weekend one. The "horror," is that Saturday afternoon brings about your practical assessment. This will cover most, but not all, of what you were taught, and be prepared for little curve-balls. They won't ask you anything that wasn't taught, but make sure that if you only pay half attention to weekend one that you really work your backside off on the morning of Saturday two. You'll be assessed individually on the handcuffing techniques, pressure points and strikes, and assessed as a group for your baton work.
Don't be too worried; if you don't quite meet the expected standard on the afternoon here, then you'll be provided with another opportunity on the Sunday morning, alongside an opportunity to practise what you weren't sure on. All I will suggest is that you think before you do, and remember the basic rules of handcuffing. If you've paid close attention at weekend one, then you'll have no problems whatsoever. That's pretty much it for day One, with the exception of a few minutes exposure to your DPV, and you'll be checked over to make sure yours fits.
Day two is theory exam time. And yes, I'm serious (this time). 61 questions of terror in 6 sections. In one of these sections you must score 100%, or you'll be retaking that section. However, you have an hour to do it in. Most people in our class finished after about 40 minutes, so no real problems with time. After that, you'll get together to finalise the practial assessment pieces that weren't up to standard from the day before. This should take you to around midday, at which point it may be lunch time. After lunch, you have a more in depth exposure to searching; your search from prone is mentioned as part of your handcuffing assessment, but here you'll be taught how to properly search people from the prone position. I felt a little guilty towards one lad on my intake that works for Reliance as a Jailor. I had a knuckle duster planted on me, which, surprisingly, the lad failed to find. It was then replanted, and despite his determination to find it, sitll failed! In his defence, it did move from where it was secreted to an area that he'd already searched, and without my doing...
Later in the afternoon, you'll be introduced to the concept of SPEAR. No, you're not jabbing each other, with weapons or otherwise. I won't say too much as it'll spoil the surprise, but be prepared for a pretty strange sounding presentation with some interesting videos. After that, you'll take to the mats again and put what you've observed into some action. It's quite good fun really, and you'll be taken through it at a reasonable pace. There's a lot of talk of the instructors dressing up in FIST suits (no, not a sexual fantasy...), but we had no experience of this. I have definately seen other intakes doing OST with an instructor in a suit, but I've no idea what they were doing!
Emily1992 writes this about Cell Placements/Exists and Cell Releases:
Firstly we did the cell placement and exit. A group of four volunteered to be the first ones to give it a go, whilst the rest of us went up to the gantry which overlooks the cells, so we all had an aerial view and could clearly see what was happening inside of the cell.
Each cell placement requires a team of three officers, plus one additional person operating the cell door- this probably sounds like a useless job, but the trainer told us how important it is that it is done properly, as there has been many occasions where prisoners have had their fingers chopped off by the heavy doors as they've tried to stop it being shut. The process begins with one officer maintaining control of the subjects head throughout, whilst the other two officers have their nearest hand under the subject's arm and the other on the shoulder blade. The subject is leant forwards, and is transported backwards into the cell. Once in the cell, the subject is lowered onto their knees and then slowly lowered onto their front. Once this is done, the officer in control of the head is free and will then remove the handcuffs from the subject, whilst the other two officers adopt a ground pin position. The trainer/prisoner decided to try his luck with me and attempted to free his left side, but I think to his, and my surprise I managed to hold him down and maintain the ground pin on my side. At this point, one of the officers will move out of the ground pin position, whilst the other takes control of both arms and continues to maintain a ground pin position with both of their knees on each of the subject's shoulder blades. At this point, the officer who is now free from the ground pin will grab hold of the other officer's belt and back who is now squatting but is still pulling the subject's arms back to the point of tension, whilst the officer who was in control of the subject's head will now be holding onto the second officer in line. Once the person on the door has made sure the corridor is clear and once all officers have made sure to each other that they are ready, each officer is pulled backwards by one another. This is done quickly as to make sure the prisoner does not have the time to stand up. At this point, the person on the door will have a quick look around the doorwhilst shutting it to make sure the prisoner is still on the ground and hasn'tquickly got up in an attempt to escape/stop the door from shutting.
This one definitely didn't go as according to plan! Four of us girls attempted to do a cell release together, and due to the size of our trainer this was bound to go wrong, but we were up for the challenge anyway!
Again, one of the officers will be in control of the door throughout. Having looked through the hatch of the door, this officer will inform the rest of the officers where the prisoner is stood in the cell. At this point, the three officers will enter the cell and pin the subject to the nearest wall. Again, one will be in charge of the head, whilst the other two will take control of the subject's arms by twisting them so the palm is facing upwards, restricting his ability to resist. At this point the prisoner is leant forwards and lowered onto their knees, and then onto their front. The two officers in charge on the arms, will again adopt a ground pin position, whilst the officer who had held of the head is now able to handcuff the subject. Unfortunately, it all went rapidly downhill from here! Once the prisoner was handcuffed, and now placed onto his knees, we attempted to lift him up off of the ground, but he decided not to comply. When he finally decided to stand up, he began resisting whilst still leaning forwards and basically started throwing us around the cell with him,whilst we were desperately holding onto him and trying to regain control. However, after me nearly getting crushed between the prisoner and the wall, andit becoming obvious that we were not going to regain control, we decided to call for 'support'. At which point three of the boys came running in (they were waiting outside of the cell anyway, as we all knew we were bound to need help),and with their help we were quickly able to regain control (not surprising really when we had six on one). Three of us were then able to transport him out of the cell.
And GreenGerkin writes this about the FIST Suit:
The idea behind the suit is for you to have an experience of actually carrying out some of your newly learnt techniques under pressure in as real a situation as possible. One of the trainers got suited up in a large padded outfit protecting his arms, hands, neck, torso and legs. Then we were put into the situation, without belt kit, to have a go at our unarmed tactics. Various situations were put forward, in the earliest ones when he still was full of energy he wouldn't listen to anything that was said and you are your partner ended up having to restrain him, late on he would respond to your communication if he classes it good enough, as he was getting pretty exhausted.
When I personally had a go, we were one of the first pairs. He was refusing to listen to any of our communication and promptly swung a punch, just missing my partner. We managed to pin him to a wall and threw in a couple of kneestrikes, before he caught my partner in a headlock. We managed to drag him to the ground and pin him eventually.
It was a massive eye opener to actually how strong some people could be when they wanted. In fairness we are both quite small guys, but even with two of us going for him he was comfortably winning for the first half. In hindsight looking back it could have been ended much sooner by using pressure points and leg sweeps, but the mist descended and it felt like you were fighting, almost for your life, so tactics went out of the door.
I found it a great experience and I have found that when in conflict situations I have thought a lot more carefully (obviously in that slight millisecond you get) about how I am going to deal with the situation rather than just ended up in a complete mess of the floor rolling around. Another thing to watch was how close he came to taking my partner out with his first swing. Definitely one thing to watch is your reaction distance.
I received an e-mail late last week from my Special Inspector, who I shall refer to as "G." G invited myself and three other specials down to our assigned station (nearly...) for a bit of a tour around, and as a chance to meet him. There was some confusion as to why I was there, as I am due to be at a smaller station within the LPA. However, I am told that all officers who work within this LPA will start of at the station we toured, so it was a worthwhile visit anyway.
We met up at the station at 1800, and had a rather informal whistle-stop tour of the station. We were introduced to our Office (yes, an Office. For specials. Get in!) and pointed in the drection of Tea making facilities (very important). We were shown the yard, the captor store, and our locker... well, it's not really a room. Let's call it a Locker Fridge. Dean, Joe and Andy will understand what I mean... Anywho, it was rather a short tour, but the 30 minutes we spent gassing afterwards was well worth it. I have confirmed that I will infact be based at the "satellite" station, and found that my Team Leader will be G's wife, who was also there. To add strangeties to the situation, she also is a "G"!
Four months have felt like four weeks. I really cannot believe how quickly our training has gone, and how much I've enjoyed every minute of it. I've grown quite fond of 16 people with which I share a common thought, and despite being warned that in 2 weeks we'll have forgotten each other, I think we'll all make a concerted effort for that not to happen. As of now, I am a Police Officer with Thames Valley Police, and couldn't be more proud. I have yet to hear from my Tutor (although I do know that he has my details), and have agreed to attend an LPA Training Session on my birthday (Monday). I, like all of my intake I suspect, keep feeling this unfamilair weight in my jacket and remember what I've signed up for.
And I can't wait.
Please, if you have any questions for me, or my classmates, feel free to stick them in this thread, or send me a PM, and I shall do my best to see them answered. I'll consider continuing with my posts as and when they become relevant, but please don't expect a running commentary of every shift. For that, there's the "What I did on Duty" thread in General Discussion.