I've put together this diary to help all those thinking of joining, hopefully it should help!(This has already been posted in the main forum but I thought since I'm a WYP officer it may help some of you new recruits)
My life as a special started when I was at university, at the time I was studying Public Services. A friend who is now also a special was applying and kept telling me to apply as he thought I'd be good for the job. So without giving it any thought I applied, once I'd hit send that was it, I felt a stone sink to my stomach.
Around two months later I received an email from a police email address, at first I wondered what I'd done but it turned out to be a recruitment officer telling me that I'd passed the paper sift. The email warned me that the real application would come through. A couple of days later I received a fully packed a4 envelope re-confirming everything that the email had said and also my paper application forms. I was being asked everything: Health, Financial, References etc. Honestly 101 questions has nothing on these applications. I was quite concerned with the Health as I'd previously had a very serious health condition. However I completed the forms and hoped for the best.
Again around a couple of months later I got a phone call from the same recruitment officer stating that the service were happy with my application and that they'd like to offer me to come to an assessment day. I'd heard that these days were notoriously difficult to pass, so was starting to worry. All this from someone who originally wasn't too bothered about joining. I was now starting to really get into it. I think Road Wars and Traffic cops were a lot to do with it though The day came round, so I put on my best and only suit and went with high hopes. I arrived at the testing centre, gave my name at reception and was told to sit in the corner. As I looked around the room I saw 7 other faces all looking as worried as I was. All of a sudden the reception door opened and a tall figure in a police uniform called us all in. We were taken into a room and sat down on individual tables. Before us were some papers, a clock beeped and we began. After the test was done we were told to go wait in the reception again, to await our interview. Interview!? I wasn't told I'd be doing an interview, my heart raced and my brain froze trying to think of what to say. I was led into a dark, boxy type room with two officers already sat there. I felt like I was on a murder charge or something, one officer greeted me and asked me the basic questions of name and such. As the interview got under-way I was asked questions about all my life and also how I felt I could meet the force competencies. I made sure I followed the other officer's body language and thought about my answers before saying them. About 30-45 minutes passed and I was told thank you for coming and we'll be in touch. As you do, I left the building thinking my police career had come to an end. I wasn't prepared, there was no way I could of passed the tests.
I later found out a couple of weeks after that I passed my assessment and interview. It seemed I was the only one out of the 7 other people.
Quite some time passed before I got my date for the medical, however when it came I was very nervous due to having a previous medical complaint. Again I put on my lovely suit and arrived at the medical testing centre. At first I was asked about my health and such, then I had the lovely drugs test whereby they took some of my DNA and my lovely yellow urine. I was then asked to sit in a small box and place some headphones on, very low frequencies were played to me and I had to push a button when I could hear them. It was a very strange feeling; however one I managed to pass. During the end of the test I was asked to go speak to the force doctor just to confirm whether he thought it would be ok for me to work, he wasn't sure so wrote to my consultant.
That was it, I had passed everything they'd thrown at me and was now awaiting a training course date. I couldn't wait, nor could I believe that I'd got this far. A lot of time passed and at one point I had thought of applying to another force as they were taking applications for regulars however on the day I was going to phone them, I received a call from my recruitment officer telling me he had a date for me. I couldn't tell you how pleased I was when I heard that. Me, a special constable... it was really going to happen.
Training was a lot of fun, it was based over six months worth of weekends, we learnt about the core basics of law and mainly things we'd be dealing with once we got out on those mean streets. The trainers were fantastic, always there to lend a hand whether you were at training or at home, they were nice enough to give you their personal mobile numbers for help. The group that I was in was quite a diverse group of some old and some young, but we all got along and are still friends to date. During the training we had a couple of tests to contend with, which you should make sure you revise for! I think the day to look most forward to is going for your uniform fitting, It really makes it feel like it's becoming a reality!
A couple of the days to watch out for are your defensive tactics (yes it's true you do get sprayed with CS and yes it hurts) your pre-patrol day (such good fun, and informative too) and your attestation day (start polishing your boots as soon as you get them and learn how to march).
So that's it. I'm now a fully fledged Special Constable, of course I'm still a probationer and I know the work starts here. Be prepared for about 35-40% of things you've learned to mean something. Since I've been patrolling I've realised that they don't teach you quite a lot of things, but I guess that's for you to learn.
Now that I'm based at my station I'm mainly tasked with NPT duties. This can range on doing events, scene guarding, to going out with Response. The new teams I'm working with are lovely and all are very helpful. I don't think you seem to get the officers that don't respond well to Specials any more, I haven't yet found anyone like that anyway.
Part 2 coming soon.