After entering two probationer teams into the Jersey Relay Marathon which took place on the Sunday, Monday morning we all looked a little bit worn-out. With lots of post-competition banter flying around the room (team ‘USR’ were still the best, even if we didn’t win), we were eagerly awaiting the arrival of our Guernsey colleagues before starting a week of intense Traffic Laws. We were led to believe that Traffic is the simple ‘black and white’ topic, but by midday we were all hugely confused with even the simplest definitions of a ‘road’ and ‘motor vehicle’ baffling us!
The pressure was on first thing Tuesday morning as we began with a Jersey VS Guernsey knowledge quiz. The inter-island team competitiveness was no less than that of a World Cup final, but Jersey managed to secure the win despite the Staff making efforts to help Guernsey earn a few extra points along the way. All in all, a good win for the home team!
We spent the rest of the day in the classroom learning about Careless/Dangerous Driving, Taking Without Consent and Taking and Driving Away offences. We learnt that there’s no such thing as ‘stealing’ a car in Jersey and spent the afternoon acting out role play scenarios with all sorts of aids (including toy cars) from the much-loved classroom prop box.
Wednesday started with an 8am inspection and even though it’s week 6, the last minute uniform checks were as frantic as ever. Rollers were being fought over as we de-fluffed and no one dares leave the classroom until being checked over by another. After this palaver, we got into our lines and on command stood to attention whilst every inch of our uniform was checked over by an Inspector. As individuals are made aware of their good-creases, bad-creases and absolutely horrific ‘you didn’t even iron your shirt, creases’; you always leave with the ambition to be better (or time your weekly ironing session better) the following week.
The rest of Wednesday was a bit more relaxed, covering a range of smaller topics including Parish Hall Enquiry Procedures and Production of Documentation. Following this we were given a ‘Prison Me No Way’ presentation, which to our delight entailed goody-bags including pencil cases, which saw smiles all-round and was by far was the highlight of our day!
An early morning drill lesson with Sergeant Hayden on Thursday ensured we were all wide awake and on form by 8:30am. After an embarrassingly bad start in last week’s lesson, we had all made an extra effort to practice in lunch breaks to avoid getting abuse shouted at us. Thankfully this week we absolutely nailed it! Feeling happy with ourselves for 5 minutes, we were soon put back in our places with a surprise uniform check, which unfortunately for some didn’t go so well. We spent the rest of the day learning Road Traffic Collision (RTC) Laws where we ventured outside into the car park to put our newly learnt skills into practice and mark-up random cars with our new chunks of road chalk. Feeling like naughty children drawing on tarmac with chalk, the vending machine delivery man looked a little perplexed as he returned to his van which was now surrounded by 18 student officers and a whole lot of chalk!
To finish what has been a great week, we all met at Fort Regent for 8am on Friday to carry out our fitness tests (as if the Relay Marathon wasn’t enough)! All ready to run our little legs off in the Bleep Test, the thought of a massive cooked breakfast at the Gun Site cafe afterwards was definitely spurring us all on. It’s fair to say that team work and motivation was high and everyone smashed through the minimum required level with some massive improvements for some individuals too. The rest of the day involved role plays at Albert Bartlett based on RTC incidents. The role-plays never fail to push you way out of your comfort zone, leaving you feel somewhat lost amongst your newly-acquired knowledge/skills and the scenario you are confronted with. Having done your best, but feeling rather traumatized by the end, you breathe a sigh of relief and walk away- usually feeling confident that you now know exactly what not to do next time!
Saturday- Jersey Student Development Exercise at La Rocquier School. Nothing could possibly have prepared us for what we were about to experience! With a morning jam-packed full of statement writing and ‘solo patrol’ role play scenarios, the nerves amongst students was almost unbearable. For the 6 role play scenarios you start outside individual doors and read the brief which outlines the basic event you are going to be confronted with as soon as you walk through the door. The brief provides the key points to identify the offence and then it is up to you what actions you take to gain control of the situation.
With one of the scenario’s involving 6 uncontrollable youths, the element of control was far from obtainable. 15 minutes in this scenario felt like a lifetime, with stories afterwards of officers ending up in shouting battles, chasing kids around tables, kids successfully stealing kit of the officer’s belts and kids drawing on officers with marker pens! I think we are all glad to have survived this event and pray that none of us are sent to anything similar in the future without a good back-up unit!
Other scenarios included robbery/larceny, stop and search, managing the enquiry desk, victim support and an angry neighbour- all of which we had great fun applying our newly-learn skills to manage. Despite being a terrifying experience, it was one which we will all enjoyed and each of these experiences are strengthening our abilities to deal with whatever may be thrown at us in the future.