Student Officer Stories
Who better to tell you about starting a career in policing than some of our current students?
Keep reading to find out about some of our current student officers, the paths they've chosen, what they enjoy and what they've found challenging about their new careers.
Jess is 7 weeks into her Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship and sat down with us to tell us about her experience so far.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
Balancing the legislation side of things and trying to learn it all whilst putting it into practice. I'm not the best at remembering numbers, so I think that's been the hardest challenge so far. I'm remembering all the different sections and differences between them.
From what we've been taught so far, say when I'm watching TV, I can sort of recognise what someone is doing that's illegal but I couldn't tell you what the numbers are for it, but I think it will come to me when I get out.
What's been the biggest highlight?
It's taken me 2 years to get onto this course, and I'm happy that I'm one of the first to join the PCDA because before it was only 10 weeks of training. I'm on week 8 next week and I don't think I would have been fully prepared to go out there, but now we get so much more training - over double the amount of training, over 22 weeks, and the tutorage period and all that support. I think it's really going to help to shape people and help them deal better with the job.
My biggest accomplishment so far has been our role plays. Just having the confidence to get stuck in and say "no, stay back, stay there" and getting hands on and being more authoritative. When you're a civilian, you're not taught how to be that dominant sort of person to stop the situation, but I think I'm just proud of myself for doing that.
Has training changed your perspective of policing?
Yes it definitely has because you don't see all the behind the scenes - you don't know how much it takes to learn all that legislation, all the numbers and years and years' worth of legislation that spans decades. It takes a lot of dedication and knowledge, and all the paperwork! You don't realise that there is a form for absolutely everything and you have to justify every single thing you do.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of joining the police?
Just do it! I say you have to fully understand that it's not just a career, it's a lifestyle choice. You have to understand that you are going to miss special dates and things. As long as you really want to do it and it's your vocation, then just get stuck in and do it, because your friends and family will understand.
If they know this is what you're destined for and what you're trying to do then just go for it and go head first. Don't be scared to call out in class and put yourself forward for things. I was scared, I don't like calling out in class but I make myself do it, because this is the job I want. This is the career I want.
Finally, what are you looking forward to most for the rest of your training?
Being on area, definitely. In my old job I was a delivery driver and I've covered so much of Suffolk and miss being out and about and dealing with members of the public - not just the bad stuff, but interacting with people and I think bringing criminals to justice will be really rewarding. Getting the convictions that they deserve will be really rewarding.
Alexandra is three months into her Police Education Qualification Framework (PEQF) training to become a police officer on the Degree Holder pathway. We asked her a few questions about her experiences so far.
What would you say your biggest challenge has been?
I would say tying in the legal understanding and then pulling that into practice during scenarios. Just having the confidence in knowing the basics in why you're doing something and being able to do it.
What about the biggest highlight?
I would say doing the personal safety training (PST) has probably been one of the biggest highlights. Learning all the different skills and gaining the confidence to go into different situations and apply them.
Has the training changed your perspective on policing?
It's definitely given me a better insight into what it's actually like and how much of it is on the go - what policing life is actually like.
What would you say to somebody to who is looking to join the police? Would you recommend it?