Officer Safety Training - the first physical week and the one everyone has been either excited about or apprehensive about!
This week was in Guernsey, at the Les Maingys Scout Base and have to admit for the Guernsey students it was nice to have a week at home. We also were able to wear gym or sports clothes and only needed our operational belts with all our equipment on.
We had a story to start off our week with our Jersey colleagues flying over here. Will was sitting on the seat where the air hostess put all her demonstrating equipment. He proceeded to put his seat belt on and somehow managed to use half his seatbelt and half of the demo seat belt which was actually a different colour!
On Monday we started with a few presentations, learning about the National Decision Model, the Use of Force Legislation and S.P.E.A.R. Will had not started his day off well with the seat belt incident, and he was then the target for a little in class experiment and had things thrown at him to show the effects of flinching. We then moved on to learning how having your arm over 90 degrees with your palm out and fingers splayed is more effective then at a 90 degree angle or less with a clenched fist. We worked in pairs for most of the afternoon. It was a lot of fun but we learnt a lot in a short space of time and if was great to work with so many different people while helping each other. This week has definitely brought both Guernsey and Jersey officers closer together.
On Tuesday we went straight into the sports hall for more practice of what we had learnt the previous day, all of us ready to continue with no aches and pains. We learnt about unarmed strikes and again worked with lots of different colleagues. It was amazing how the most simplest of moves can generate so much force. Speaking of how much force a simple move can produce, Sam was at the receiving end of one of Matt's elbow pushes, bearing in mind that Matt is the one of the tallest guys in the group and is a kick boxing instructor. She flew past my mat and skidded across the floor still clutching her punching bag! This was the day that we practiced takedowns, restraint and immobilisation as well, so there was lots of shouting and people being thrown to the floor. Lots of yelps and screams as people were being put in wrist locks left right and centre. The good thing was we practiced a lot so we were able to get our own back on people that had caused us pain. We were back in the classroom for a presentation about searching and searching techniques. PC Duquemin took the ladies separately and we took it in turns to hide various things in our clothes, hair etc for our partners to find. The men did the same with our male trainers.
Wednesday was the day everyone was looking forward to, it was handcuff, baton and PAVA/CS spray day. We learnt how to hold, store and handle our handcuffs. The three handcuffing techniques we learnt were the front stack, back stack and rear back to back with a few take downs in between. The pads came back out and we were able to learn how to strike with our batons, by the looks of it everyone got stuck into that, especially Wayne a Guernsey Special Constable who had joined us this week. He managed to strike Staff Walder, one of our trainers in the elbow with the baton itself.
Icepack was at the ready! We had separate presentations for PAVA and CS spray and then were able to practice. We all got soaked as we were sprayed in the face with water from the canisters from our colleagues.
Our warm up today (Thursday) provided some entertainment as the squats were too much for Nick's trousers and resulted in a large rip on the left buttock! We were then introduced to leg restraints which we all took well to and moved on to multi officer teamed drills, focusing on cell relocations. We learnt quickly that working together as a team worked a treat and everyone had a go at being the lead officer. I think everyone's necks will be sore after this. The afternoon consisted of dynamic training with PC Smith and PC Williams dressing in a S.P.E.A.R suit and we had the opportunity to use our batons against them as well as our unarmed strikes. A few of us ended up on the floor, a few bruises and I even received a punch straight in the nose! It was an eye opener for all and Sergeant Yabsley showed us how it's done and took down both role players within a few minutes! We practiced multi officer take downs as well to give us an opportunity to practice our techniques. Our second ice pack of the week was needed when Nick took a hit to the side of the face!
Tomorrow is Friday and is test day. We have aches, pains and stiffness, it's been hard work and we have all gone home tired after the last couple of days. I'm sure a few of us will be practicing tonight and reading up on our notes. I believe our Jersey colleagues have been handcuffing each other in the hotel so I presume more of that will be happening tonight. They have been advised not to practice on the waiting staff or the chef! It's been great fun and we have learnt fundamental techniques that will serve us throughout our careers.