Training to be a Special Constable – my journey so far

Training to be a Special Constable – my journey so far

Gwen Moore joined Thames Valley Police in 2018 as a Special Constable in Loddon Valley. This is the story of her first-four weekends of training. Keep your eyes peeled for a follow-up article from Gwen that takes a look at how she’s getting on as a fully attested Special Constable.

Name: Gwen Moore

Job title & organisation: HR Professional, IBM

Length of service as SC: <1 year

Local Policing Area: Wokingham and Bracknell

I am four weekends into my Special Constable training, I have my uniform, I have a great cohort I’m training with and simply put, I’m having an absolutely brilliant time. As I’m nearly half way through training, it’s a great opportunity to reflect and share with you all my experiences so far.

One of the reasons for doing this was to get an insight into a world which I know is there, but have been lucky enough never to have experienced. I hear about crime on the news, I see all the tragic stories and I feel lucky to have not been in the wrong place at the wrong time. So why do I want to place myself in a prime position where I hear, see and feel these situations in real life? The simple answer is
because I want to help people and there is the first parallel to life in HR, helping people. I want to make a difference and be able to help people and what better way to do it than wear the uniform and go out there and do it (as a side note, I also wanted to prove to my five year old daughter that anything is achievable if you put your mind to it).

My first weekend was an introduction to the training, and whilst it was very high level, we had some great discussions around diversity and inclusion, ethics and unconscious bias, all terms we are familiar with in HR and easy for me to contribute to. The second weekend was “Law 1” which whilst not going into the specifics, starts to go into a lot of detail about the legal aspect, including learning the Caution off by heart. We obviously don’t have to formally caution anyone at IBM (unless you count your first warning in the disciplinary process as a caution!), there is again, similarities to HR, understanding what our policies and processes are, understanding our rights and enacting those policies/process with confidence which in turn gives you credibility, something which is crucial as an officer and as a HR professional. I have four more of these Law weekends to look forward to in the New Year.

The last two weekends have been Officer Safety Training (OST) where I have really been pushed out of my comfort zone. Now I’m going to be honest, there isn’t much of a parallel between learning how to do an arm entanglement take down or learning SPEAR tactics and applying it to HR, I’ve not had many disciplinary meetings or at risk meetings where I’ve had to deploy a physical move! But what I would say is that I have learnt a huge amount as an individual. I now feel confident that if in the unlikely situation I were to be attacked, either on duty or off, I can defend myself and take control of the subject.

The most surreal moment to date was a drill I had to do in my first OST weekend. We each in turn had to face an instructor, assume they were the subject and they were resisting arrest. Using the techniques that we had been taught, I had got control of the instructor within 30 seconds, firstly using unarmed tactics and then moved to captor spray (which was water for the purposes of the exercise). Having never been in a fight or an altercation, my adrenaline was running and my heart was pounding after that 30 seconds but you know what, I did it!

All my training are on alternate weekends, so I’m working five days a week and then training on the weekend and after the last two, I do feel physically and mentally shattered but the sense of accomplishment, knowing I’m one step closer to becoming a Volunteer Police Officer makes it all worthwhile.

I am definitely becoming a stronger, more aware, more resilient person and that is after only four weekends. If you are intrigued or interested in the police, you can go for a “ride along” at your local police station – anyone over the age of 18 can do this. I did this before I applied and it was an incredible experience. You get crewed with an officer and go to every job they’re assigned to that day. I had a blue light run within 15 minutes of arriving at the station! For obvious reasons I’m not allowed to go into too much more detail, I would love to come back to you at the end of training and then subsequently when I start formally as I hope to continue on this huge learning curve and apply what I’m learning to a professional environment.

Thank you for reading.

Special Constable Moore