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Everything posted by skydiver

  1. The government definitely does a good job of giving the impression that they are deaf to our concerns about pay and a myriad number of other things such as the overall level of police funding, AFO numbers, assaults on officers etc. On pay we should be getting our annual rise now in September but they acknowledged back in June that they hadn't even looked at the PRB submission let alone decided on what we will get meaning that it will be at least December before we get it. Remember this comes for a government which back in May said that they would seriously consider pay awards of more than 1% but they then decided not to look at the recommendations for another 3 months. I worked out that had my pay kept pace with inflation I would have been over £4000 better off than now in gross terms,, whilst I have also lost take home pay due to NI and pension contribution increases. The 'protected' budget for my force is increasing at 0.3% pa when inflation is almost 3% so we are still making cuts and closing police stations, but all the easy cuts were done a long time ago. We've lost 10% of our work force since 2010 whilst the population has gone up by 10% during the same period. We're going through our third reorganisation in another vain attempt to match resources to demand but demand continually outstrips resources. Recent HMIC reports have said that we have been performing well but we've just had another inspection but I don't think we'll come out well from. On example that I've heard is that they made three attempts to report a crime and failed every time due to long call queues or no one manning a front desk. Demand isn't going down and partnership working doesn't seem to do a lot for the police particularly when other public sector bodies are facing budget cuts. In the face of that a decent budget increase and not the paltry 'protected' budget is required. I'd love to see some concrete proposals from the government but I'm not holding my breath.
  2. skydiver

    Change of Career

    I think candidates have to reapply for the next pool if they fail twice.
  3. skydiver

    Change of Career

    As I said earlier some forces have direct entry schemes to become a DC but most want PCs to be experienced in other police areas first. In my force you have to do two years in response or in a local investigation unit before being able to apply for other roles. At that point if we are recruiting DCs candidates have to apply and get through a paper sift with the successful ones being ranked in pools with the best ones getting the first positions as they become available. Most start work as DCs in the local investigation units as they deal with a broad range of crime from shop lifters to GBH and often get called in to assist complex when they are short of staff. Some new DCs go into specialist safeguarding departments straight away such as child abuse or sexual offences, but the DCs in the local units will get rotated through them after 2-3 years. New DCs have to take an advanced interview course which includes video interviews, as well as the NIE DC exam. We then have a 4 week CID course followed by a portfolio before finally qualifying as a fully fledged D. We are expected to do all that within 3 years but I aim to get mine done within 18 m of starting. We are only allowed 2 attempts at the NIE exam so if you fail both times you go back to being a PC.
  4. skydiver

    Change of Career

    Finances are looked at to see if officers would be open to corruption but small or manageable levels of debt are OK.
  5. skydiver

    Change of Career

    Most people with a basic level of fitness will cope with the fitness test but you can download a bleep test from the www if you want to practice. I'm not sure what I can suggest to help with the push/pull but again the target for that isn't high and unless your technique fails you it is easy to pass. Some forces run free 1/2 assessment centre course so its worth asking the force you are applying for or failing that google police assessment centre courses. At the moment you don't need any specific level of qualifications to join the police although that is going to change in the near future.
  6. skydiver

    Change of Career

    Some forces offer direct entry to become a DC but most current PCs are very cynical about that route. Most forces still expect new recruits to work on a response shift, neighbourhood or local investigation unit for at least two years whilst they build experience before applying to be a DC, but some forces such as the Met are struggling to fill DC roles so their attitude is different. Recruitment takes as long as it takes and can vary tremendously. My experience was good with the whole process from attending a recruitment night to being attested taking 12 months but I trained with people who had taken 2 years for the same process. Tightened budgets have also contributed to a start/stop long winded process nowadays. There were loads of steps for my recruitment from attending an open evening, taking a simple test, passing the paper sift (application form), medical, eyesight test, fitness test, assessment centre, vetting, and a final interview. You only get paid as a PC once you start work and also watch out for some forces which pay probationers different rates depending on whether they have previous police experience or not, although everyone moves to the same pay point after 6 months. An assessment centre course would be a good idea as the police assessment centre is nothing like any other assessment centre I have had experience of. Direct entry to Inspector is another very diversive topic just like direct entry DCs and again it is not popular among the rank and file.
  7. skydiver

    Realistic at my age?

    One more thing Rob. Your tutor will probably be a lot younger than you and I can guarantee that when you go to domestics people will look to you for advice rather than your tutor because you will look like the experienced one out of the two of you. Been there done that, but equally I often cringed when a 19 year old student I tutored tried to give marriage advice to a 40 year old couple, so it works both ways.
  8. skydiver

    Realistic at my age?

    Most probationers start on response then move on from there. I was on a cohort of about 22 people and I think that about 18 or 19 went straight onto response to be tutored and even those who were tutored in a neighbourhood shift moved over to response when they were signed off as independent. Most of the tick box stuff in the SOLAP folder is also easier to do on response than in other departments. I can't remember what SOLAP stands for but it is there to demonstrate your ability to do a range of activities needed in your role, such as arrests, presenting a prisoner to custody, statement taking, dealing with conflict etc etc. Things change though and now in my force students spend time on response and in a local investigation unit getting tutored swapping half way through their 10 week in company period, and remain in that unit for 6 months when they are signed off. I know some people who have never left response in 20 plus years whereas others move on as soon as they can as they hated it so much. I must admit that the novelty of having my baldness, glasses and my similarity to a ladies privates being pointed out constantly for hours on end does get boring sometimes.
  9. skydiver

    Realistic at my age?

    Opps just realised I called you Bob rather than Rob... Most people start on response partly because if you can hack that you can handle most other police roles in terms of the grief you get and the long hours. Response respond to grade 1 and 2 calls i.e. emergency and priority calls so fights, burglaries, shop theft, that sort of thing. It also involves dealing with missing people from your average truculent teenager in care to the 80 year old with dementia and although the former does get tedious you sometimes can come across child sexual exploitation and other serious crime as part of doing the initial response or debriefing them when they return. It also involves all manner of very tedious jobs such as constant watches in custody or bed watches in hospital, as well as scene preservation, or house to house. You also get pulled from pillar to post with control wanting you to finish every job before you're ready in order to go to the next one, as well as other departments wanting you to do their boring jobs for them. Depending on your force you may have a crime q to manage i.e. some more of the straight forward investigations that come your way, or you may work for a force where respond just respond, arrest and take statements before handing over. You may also do some shifts in the night time economy so prepared to get bored telling people that pregnant women can't piss in your helmet and having your picture taken with 1001 drunken revellers, as well as breaking up fights, refereeing arguments and arguing with people who think they know the law but quite obviously don't. Oh and driving fast after a 3 week standard driving course which is a massive amount of fun. Depending where you are based you may be a very long way from back up so you'll have to rely on your silver tongue, whit and sparkling repartee in order to avoid getting assaulted, or you may have 20 PCs just minutes away at the touch of an emergency button, both of which will sometimes influence the way you deal with people. Response used to be able to proactive work but those days have pretty much gone with all the cuts we've suffered, however you still may be able to deal with the odd drink driver. You sound realistic about the hours which is good and you are right in saying that you will have a lot more responsibility, but there is also a lot of scrutiny of what you are doing.
  10. skydiver

    Realistic at my age?

    Hi Bob. I joined 8 years ago as a 40 year old after working in a few other jobs since uni and to be honest I have loved every minute. Its hard work, it can be rewarding, its thankless, its boring and exciting, its funny, its disgusting, you see the best and worst of people, its perverse in that the pay is not nearly enough for the responsibility you have or for the effects you can have on peoples lives, the government generally don't support us and you'll miss a lot of your family. I took a big pay cut to join and now after 8 years I'm earning what I was prior to joining although when you take inflation into account my wages still haven't caught up. You'll also be working rolling shifts and doing a lot of lates and nights so you'll really have to be in the position of wanting to do the job if you take it on. I've spent most of my time on response, but I've had a a period regging as a temporary sergeant and I'm now a DC, so you can move around quite a bit and get experience in different areas and roles. IIRC you get your first increment after 12 months, although that may have changed due to government 'reforms, then every 12 m after that with top wack being achieved after 7 years. Also are you sure that your force starts on £22k because not all do. Good luck.
  11. If you have got such serious reservations now I'd say the job isn't for you and sometimes you have to act on a gut instinct so maybe that is the case now. There's no point going into a job where you can get into serious trouble or have a massive influence on someone's life whilst having second thoughts. I would also have thought that you could get a graduate job in another industry and get paid a lot more than with the police whilst having a lot less tress. I'd also say that although experience of an assessment day can stand you in good stead for other assessments, the police one is very different from just about every other assessment centre I've ever seen, so you may not be able to take too many lessons from it apart from teh ability to deal with the pressure of the day. Good luck whatever you decide.
  12. skydiver

    First Post Mortem

    That is a rare opportunity so I hope you are able to make the most of it.
  13. I would find the headlong rush to praise the police and to demand more resources amusing if it wasn't for the tragic circumstances which brought about the calls. Even the DM questioned the cuts in one article although normal service was quickly resumed with articles criticising the police for taking too long to ID the victims and because we hadn't kept track on the suspects. I never heard Labour jumping to our defence prior to the election but May's comments reminding voters that Labour called for 10% cuts to the police in 2015 when the Tories were discussing 20-40% cuts to our budget were extremely hypercritical and self serving. We were only saved from 20% plus cuts because of the Paris attacks which would have been on top of 20% cuts already imposed by the Tories.
  14. I tutored a former PCSO who had to take quite a substantial pay cut to become a PC although in the long run it was financially beneficial for him to make the move.
  15. Zulu are you sure that Labour cut the police budget? I thought that we had the highest budget and numbers of PCs whilst we had a Labour government with the ConDems cutting our budget in order to help tackle the banking crisis. I haven't however forgotten that Jacqui Smith tried to defer or spread out a police pay rise. Back OT. Come 0300 on a Tuesday morning my force has approximately 18 PCs, 3 or 4 sergeants and one Inspector to cover 1m people and 800,000 square miles. The local motorway is covered by AFOs rather than dedicated traffic officers at that time of the morning and there is only one dog available, although that can also be called to a neighbouring county. I'd often parade zero officers for my area on a night shift by the time a scene pres, constant or a bed watch or two had been covered.
  16. skydiver

    Walk The Beat

    Yes some still do.
  17. What changes in behaviour have people seen since the new bail act came into place? In April my force bailed 3 people with everyone else being released under investigation so bail use has plummeted. One unintended side effect was highlighted by a solicitor who was asking me about property I had seized from his client who had been RUI with the solicitor predicting taht it would probably take me longer to get it triaged now without a bail date being in place than under the previous system as I wouldn't have a firm deadline to work to. The new system for granting bail is also taking a long time to bed in with some Inspectors and custody sergeants being at odds about the rules particularly over the proportionality of certain measure.
  18. skydiver

    Assessment interview

    If its anything like the police assessment they'll be looking for the core competencies and awareness of diversity related topics. Also be prepared for someone to be angry straight away when you enter the scenario i..e no gentle build up.
  19. skydiver

    Pay scale and shift allowance

    I used to get around £80 pm unsocial hours pay when it as first introduced, but I was on a 2 2 2 pattern in a county force. I'm pretty sure pay scale moves are on the anniversary of your starting date.
  20. 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.
  21. skydiver

    Specials being sent to ambulance calls

    There are so many things wrong with policies which encourage police to take on work from other organisations whether it is PCSOs taking on the role of retained firefighters in Devon, joint police and fire patrols in Northants and specials being trained as first responders in Hants. We should be trying to shift work back to the appropriate organisations rather than taking on more work from them. We already respond to mental health problems and mispers from hospitals and children's homes, concern for welfare for social services and now fires and as a dedicated first response. Some one needs to stand their ground and say no when people come knocking on our doors asking us to do their work for them. We have enough to do for our own work with an increasing population and growing crime q's without doing the work of other organisations. You never hear about ambulance crews responding to a shop lifter so why should be provide a specific first response to a health problem. I'm not saying that we shouldn't provide first aid when we come across injured people but we shouldn't be going out of our way to provide a dedicated albeit relatively untrained response to a health problem.
  22. When I read the first couple of lines of your question my thoughts were firmly that the police wouldn't be a suitable job for you but by the time I read the entire post I changed my mind, although I can't vouch for the force that you want to join. It sounds that you have put a lot of thought into your application and have an acute awareness of your previous health concerns as well as what the police might entail so hopefully you'll be OK. I'd be as honest an upfront in your medical assessment as possible bearing in mind that the force will have asked for your medical records as part of the recruitment process. You can also use what some people may look as a negative into a positive by showing how you coped and how the experience has helped your understanding of other people's mental health conditions.
  23. This is a half decent article about the increase in knife crime https://www.theguardian.com/membership/commentisfree/2017/may/01/knife-crime-crisis-national-solutions-london which points out there are differences between the pattern in London as opposed to the rest of the country.
  24. skydiver

    The General Effectiveness Of The Police

    That's an interesting summary but I think that Songman Kang maybe looking at the problem in a completely theoretical way as opposed to taking into account real government policies and the capacity for knew jerk reactions to incidents. Take his last point as an example. We could arrest and charge a lot more people but that wouldn't necessarily lead to a larger prison population as the government policy of the day may dictate out of court or none custodial sentences. Remember Ken Clarke when he was justice minister advocated just that sort of thing whereas his successors have emphasised incarceration.
  25. skydiver


    It shouldn't have any effect on your application. I know a fair few officers in my force who have full sleeves so a couple of smaller and none offensive tats should be accepted without a problem.