and waited and waited and just waited.
I chased up my Specials contact to find out what was happening he said that my enquiry form was still in a tray in the specials office (not knowing anything about the recruitment process I just hoped it would be processed as fast as possible).
A few months later a proper application form appeared, very old style typed not PC printed and without a sign of a competency question! I filled this in and sent it off to Force HQ. A short while later I received a letter about attending HQ to take the entrance test (this test is still the basis of the PIRT). It must have been about summer and my 20th birthday came and went, I went and took the test afterwards I didn't think about it just expect a reject letter. Then I received a letter from Divisional HQ inviting me to attend an interview board, it was now autumn.
I also received a home visit by a Regular Sgt and then a couple of weeks later also by a Specials SDO (not knowing who he really was at the time - certainly didn't sink in that he was a SC!)
The day arrived, I arrived at the front desk of the station and I was taken by a WPC (that was what they were called then!) with a big smile up to the Divisional Commanders Office (C/Supt) and I waited in the corridor. Stevenage Police Station was built in about 1971 and looked fairly modern even though it was getting on for being 20 years old.
I was getting nervous - I was called into the office, the panel consisted of the Chief Supt, Divisional Commandant of the Specials and an Inspector (reg), to be honest I got a rough ride, the boss was trying to make me argue but I wasn't biting, it got even to the point that the C/Supt picked on the fact that I had worn my watch on my right hand ( I was so nervous getting ready I did that by mistake) and he said:
I see your left handed? I have a theory about left handed people, that they are not assertive as right handed people?
there was a brief pause.............................
I then said: "Actually I'm right handed I just chose to wear my watch on right hand"
Both the Insp and the Div Cmdt chuckled and she turned to the C/Supt and said "Well Brian that told you!" The C/Supt laughed and a big smile appeared. From then on it became more of a chat and the frostiness disappeared. I was told to expect a letter in the post.
I waited nervously, I came home from work one day absolutely shattered I had a long day and was filthy as a coal miner and needed a bath, there waiting for me was a letter saying I had passed and inviting me to start training on 18 November 1987
. I was so pleased.
18 November arrived I managed to leave work early, I had to be at the Training Centre, FHQ which is located at Stanborough, Welwyn Garden City for a 7pm start. I drove down a busy A1(M) heading south, I had Chiltern Radio switched on and they were playing Alexander O'Neals 'Criticize', the station also had a thing where it did travel updates every 20 minutes, no problems for me but they kept saying if your expecting someone home on the train via Kings X then they will be delayed because of a fire (see above link) it was 6.40pm, I didn't realise the significance of what I was hearing.
I arrived at FHQ and sat in one of the training rooms, with about 15 others. The first night session was taken by a female Sgt who was from my Sub Division called Liz, I got to know her pretty well later on when she went back on division.
Basically training consisted of getting to grips with PACE, General Arrest Conditions and Public Order Act (Sec 4&5) there was a test on the final session five weeks later but it was basically definitions including 'Define a Police Constable'!
Christmas was coming, can't remember a lot about that and New Years Eve 1987 I was just celebrating out on a pub crawl round the village (we had a lot of pubs then!), what I didn't know was that my drinks were being spiked and a little before midnight I collapsed. My younger brother was out with us and he was really annoyed at me, I went home in a wheel barrow! and within a few days everybody in the village knew about it!
I next received a letter about being sworn in at the local Magistrates Court, we were done between Licensing and cases being referred to Crown Court, the next day I had to meet with my new Section Officer who took me down to FHQ to collect my uniform and warrant card.
I was then invited in on a Saturday evening, but this was really frustrating because I just sat around the station all night, apparently it was just to see if you could wear your uniform properly so I discovered later. Surely there was a better way of doing this then wasting a Saturday evening?First Duty
It was soon arranged that I was to have my first patrol, I was to be out with an experienced female SC, it was a Friday evening late January 1988, as we left the Police station she turned to me and said "Oh don't go getting into any fights because I won't rescue you!" - nice I thought. We had to share the radio which was a three channel Burndept which didn't work if you stood to close to buildings.
Walking down into the town centre it hit me, I could see my reflection in shop windows but I just felt that everyone was looking at me, it was such a weird sensation. I was only able to do 7pm to Midnight on account I had to be at work on Saturday. Nothing happened but it gave me an idea of what life was going to be like.
Edited by panda plodder, 02 September 2007 - 09:34 AM.