Last Week I wrote a post on how you trained to be a police detective. But, how do you get to that step? You have to start somewhere (Unless you’re going straight into the Met’s detective scheme which we covered last week!) and that somewhere is as a uniform police constable.
So, let’s have a bit of history for your detective in your novel. How did they get to where they are? What did they have to go through first?
- The application form ~ This is a lengthy and in-depth form that asks a lot of questions and (when I completed it) it also asks questions that allow you opinion type answers in essay form.
- The paper sift ~ Where your application form will be marked and you will either move through to the next stage or not.
- The Assessment Centre ~ This is a long and stressful day where you will go through written tests which will check your maths, English and reasoning skills as well as role play scenarios. These scenarios are where a lot of people will fall down.
- The fitness test ~ Yes, you have to be fit to be in the police and you have to maintain this for your two-year probationary period where it will continue to be tested.
- A medical.
Two-Year Probationary Period
Before they let you loose on the streets, your force will put you in a classroom and teach you the law and how to deliver what you know, so dry knowledge based information (the law) with scenario based trials. Each force delivers its own package of training, whereas when I joined I went away to a residential training school for four months. Now, it’s delivered in-force. And each force may vary how they deliver it slightly. But each probationer will get taught the same lessons, it’s just how it’s all broken up that may be different.
On the job training
Once you’ve spent some time in the classroom you go out for ten weeks with a tutor constable. You do not leave this officers side. You do not want to leave this officers side. It’s one thing to say the arrest and caution in a classroom, it’s a whole other ballgame to say it to a person in reality. I shook in my boots when I made my first arrest on my first day out!
You’re with your tutor for ten weeks (making sure you tick off everything in your book that you need to prove you can do) before you go back to class for a little while.
Back on your own
You come back to your shift and work as part of your shift now, not attached to your tutor, but as a fully functioning member of that shift. As long as you were signed off during your ten weeks tutor period. But, you are still on probation and you now have a book to complete, a list of tasks, to prove you are capable of doing the job. So as you go about doing your job, you fill in the normal amount of (excessive) paperwork, plus your probationary paperwork, and get someone to sign off that they’ve seen you complete those tasks to a satisfactory level and eventually at the end of your two years, you will become a regular old PC.
Way before your two years is up you’ll feel settled and part of the furniture anyway. It doesn’t take long to settle into the job. Especially if you have a great team to work with. And when you’re in uniform, your team, your shift is everything. That’s not to say the job won’t continue to throw up scenarios that will tax your brain cells at every opportunity, it will, but you will grow in confidence without even realising it.
And, that’s how you’re detective got to be where they are now…
Rebecca Bradley is a retired UK police detective and now a crime writer.
She writes the DI Hannah Robbins series.
When catching a killer isn’t enough…
The naked, battered body of an unidentified teenager is found dumped in an alleyway and post-mortem finds evidence of a harrowing series of events.
Another teenage death with the same MO pushes DI Hannah Robbins and her team in the Nottingham City division Major Crimes Unit, to their limits, and across county borders. In a race against the clock, they attempt to unpick a thick web of lies and deceit to uncover the truth behind the deaths.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Just how far are the team willing to push themselves to save the next girl?