Starfire

Need information about police to write a novel

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Hi all.

This is my first time posting here. Nice to meet you all. I've been writing a novel with police characters inside. Been doing some research online, though there's a lot of parts I'm still not quite sure of and think that some of you could provide a clearer picture of how a day in life of a police look like. Hope it's alright to ask here. :)

One of the characters is a young male who aspires to become a police in a fictional country based on UK. He's new on the job. He works in a metropolitan area (similar to London). 

A few questions I want to ask: 

  • Timeline from applying for the job until the person is considered an official police constable. Like does he need to go through an academy? Any test or exam, and if there's any, what kind? Background check and interview? How long each step lasts? How long the whole thing last? I found an article online about some kind of training here https://www.policeuk.com/student_officers.php. Is this accurate? Is there other ways to become a police constable? I've also read somewhere that the training last 6 months, so not sure which one is correct, since the article said 2 years. 
  • When do you start working in a police station? Is it after you graduate from the academy? Can you select which station you want to work in? 
  • What's a daily routine of a police in a station? 
  • What's the hierarchy of police within the station? 
  • What you have to do to ride police car? Like is there any form you need to sign? Any requirement? Do you get a car assigned to you? 
  • Who can access the city surveillance camera footage, and how? 
  • What do a police do on their first day in the police station? How is it like? How does it feel like?
  • Do UK police have field training officer? Like a senior police that goes on patrol with them or tag along to provide guidance and supervision for a time. 
  • Let's say if a police did something wrong (like minor misconduct), who is the one who discipline them? 

Sorry for asking so many questions. I hope the questions don't sound too dump, and thank you anyone for answering! 

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On 2017-5-14 at 05:16, Starfire said:
  • Timeline from applying for the job until the person is considered an official police constable. Like does he need to go through an academy? Any test or exam, and if there's any, what kind? Background check and interview? How long each step lasts? How long the whole thing last? I found an article online about some kind of training here https://www.policeuk.com/student_officers.php. Is this accurate? Is there other ways to become a police constable? I've also read somewhere that the training last 6 months, so not sure which one is correct, since the article said 2 years. 
  • When do you start working in a police station? Is it after you graduate from the academy? Can you select which station you want to work in? 
  • What's a daily routine of a police in a station? 
  • What's the hierarchy of police within the station? 
  • What you have to do to ride police car? Like is there any form you need to sign? Any requirement? Do you get a car assigned to you? 
  • Who can access the city surveillance camera footage, and how? 
  • What do a police do on their first day in the police station? How is it like? How does it feel like?
  • Do UK police have field training officer? Like a senior police that goes on patrol with them or tag along to provide guidance and supervision for a time. 
  • Let's say if a police did something wrong (like minor misconduct), who is the one who discipline them? 

 

Recruitment timescales vary from force to force and the economic situation or backlog of current recruits.  My  recruitment took 12 months from attending an open evening to being attested but I was on a cohort with people where the same process had taken over 2 years.  

I had to attend a recruitment night, pass a simple test on the night in order to get an application form, spend ages on the form as it was nothing like any other job application I had ever seen. Once that was accepted I had to attend and pass a 1/2 day assessment centre, undertake vetting, have a medical and eyesight test, pass a final interview and pass the initial fitness test.

Once in I was enrolled in a 2 year degree course of which 6 months was spent in the local uni and at force headquarters, working in the community, learning police skills, passing tests, writing loads of essays and taking part in lots of legal and academic presentations.  After the 6 months was up I did 10 weeks in company with a tutor doing hands on police work.  That was the most enjoyable part of the course because I was finally able to do what I wanted to do and what I was being paid to do i.e. be a PC.  Once the in company period was passed ( no one failed in my cohort but two people dropped out at this stage) I had the balance of the two years to finish my SOLAP folder and to write 4 more essays for the degree side of the training.  My SOLAP took about 8 months to finish.  After 2 years I was confirmed in the rank of PC.  My force has a PDU (police development unit) made up of PCs who assist with the SOLAP folder and try to do the odd shift with probationers. Other than that PCs learn from their shift.

I started working in my nick after 6 months and no I didn't get a choice of where to work.  People from my cohort ended up all over the city and county which didn't always take into account of where they lived so some had long journeys to work.  I've effectively stayed covering the same area that I started in, albeit I've moved stations and job roles.

Daily routine varies depending on the nick, job, experience level and time of day and day of the week.  I started on response and did a 2 2 2 pattern i.e. 2 earlies 7-am 4 or 5 pm, 2 lates 3pm - 11pm, 2 nights 10 pm - 7 am followed by 4 days off, but there were also sub patterns to that.  The newbie always makes drinks for the shift and newbies always get jobs which are character building or good for developing experience, which also happen to be the jobs no one else wants....Response officers look after grade 1 and 2 job (immediate response and response within 1 hour), missing people, some ASB, burglaries, some traffic, concern for welfare, night time economy foot patrols, some proactive work, statement taking, out of force enquiries, arrest requests, handover prisoners, constants in custody and bed watches in hospital.  Basically no two days are the same and you never know what to expect when you go into work.  Quite a bit of that work has changed over the years as things like handovers always go to dedicated investigation units and no one on response gets much chance to do anything proactive or traffic related any more as they just don't have enough staff and are rushed off their feet attending grade 1 and 2 jobs.

The city LPU commander (local police unit) was a superintendent worked in my nick but it was rare to see him.  The station Inspector was however a regular sight, but 99% of daily supervisory was down to the two shifts sergeants and initially my tutor constable.  Response Inspectors would get involved in big jobs (high risk missing people, nasty assaults etc).  Loads of civis also worked in that nick but on different floors so I'd barely see them.

There are marked vans and cars in each area.  You have to have a basic driving authority just to drive a marked car but you must have a standard authority to use blues and twos.  That is achieved after a 3 week intensive driving course.  Time is spent split between single crewed and being double crewed.  Double crewing is more common at night but with staff cuts, single crewing is more and more prevalent nowadays.  Call signs go with the vehicle.

Local council CCTV is accessed by police on the radio, a phone call or a personal visit.

Discipline can be a can of worms which I won't go into detail about other than to say that some issues can be dealt with by informal words of advice whilst others have to be dealt with more formally by the sergeant or inspector, whilst a few have to go through PSD or even the IPCC.

There is a lot more than can be said in response to all of your questions so my answers are only a brief summary and are applicable to my experience on one shift in one nick and in one role.

One last thing though, my first day in company was a combination of pride and absolute terror and nervousness.

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