In the latest instalment of our Tales of a Trainee series, PC Emanuele Cipolloni talks about his initial police officer training course…
I didn’t have any particular expectations about the training, but I knew it would be something totally different from anything I’ve ever done before.
Few other jobs give you such intensive and demanding training, covering such an extensive array of topics, in a relatively short period of time.
My training lasted for 20 weeks and took place at Bedfordshire Police Headquarters in Kempston.
Being trained completely within the force and by actual serving officers certainly has its advantages; the books tell the golden standard but the trainers also shared their own experiences and suggestions, which will help us to find and apply our own policing style.
On 23 February I found myself with 15 other student officers in a classroom being greeted by our two trainers: Sergeant Fitzharris and PC Roberge who would be with us for the whole training.
The first week was the most impactful: in less than three days we went from being civilians to becoming fully sworn police officers after taking the oath, and we started to wear the uniform each day.
The first few weeks concentrated on studying the law and statutes, learning the definitions and points to prove of the offences we were most likely to come across during our job. Last, but not least, we had to get used to the police terminology and get to know the functions of each unit and department inside the force.
One suggestion I would give to anyone training for the police is to maximise the time spent in the classroom, take notes and ask if something is not immediately clear, this will save a lot of time later on when studying at home.
Our first hurdle in an otherwise smooth path came in the form of a ‘knowledge check’ and was scheduled at the beginning of April; others would follow every four weeks or so.
It didn’t matter how many times the trainers tried to convince us that those checks were for our benefit and weren’t designed to trap anyone; we were still all a bit worried about them.
Even more unnerving were the life-like scenarios where we would test our abilities to apply our knowledge of the law.
All scenarios required to us perform an initial assessment of the situation, and then to choose the best way to deal with the offence, if any were present.
Thanks to the scenarios we all quickly learnt that policing is not black and white, there are many ways to address and tackle a problem.
We also regularly had uniform inspections, and drill exercises.
Then there were more lessons, more knowledge checks, more scenarios.
Finally we arrived at the beginning of July, our last week of training and our passing out parade in front our families and friends, an experience that will stay with us forever.
I have left writing about the team I had the pleasure and honour of training with as the last thing in this post, but it has been by far the most important aspect of the whole training experience.
Police forces are not organisations for people who think individually, teamwork is what makes us successful.
The one thing we didn’t find in any part of the timetable was team building, because that was meant to happen every day.
Building a team is not easy but I am happy to say we all passed the final exam, and we know that whenever we need some help or advice, we can always rely on our fellow trainees.
Recruitment for Police Officers is now open and closes on the 15th May 2016. Apply here.