Throughout my time at the police training school it became more and more like home and my class became my new family. There was little we did without each other from the extra running, extra studying and the extra beers we drunk each night. There were no computers, no mobile phones and we talked ….. a lot.
Every week we had an exam which we all passed quite easily but it was building up to the big exam on the last week which would cover everything we had learnt in our time at the police training school. There was a high pass mark and if you did not get the mark you did not qualify. We had all spent time after class revising together and testing each other but not for too long. The bar opened at 8pm so no matter what, we were queueing at the Packhorse bar door to get in. It was a strange week as we were the only class in there until almost closing time when some of the others came across after their own revision.
The final exam was a serious affair and taken much like a school exam in complete silence and with invigilators patrolling the isles like prison guards. The only thing they had missing were snarling Alsatian dogs. Although I actually liked exams as they tested your knowledge I knew every other class had really sold into the revision thing where as we had signed into the drinking and messing around thing. We were even threatened with being thrown out of the police over a high stakes game of poker. Illegal gaming was one thing we did not cover in training but that £200 pot would have been worth winning.
The results from the exam were fed through to the instructors of each class. We all passed and we also ended up with the highest class average of all the classes for the course. I know, we were like a woman whose forehead lift went to far. We all looked surprised but not as surprised as the head police training school instructors. They called our teachers in and they were interviewed to see if they had given us the answer to various questions. Our reputation in the police training school was such that we were expected to have a lot of failures. I think what it shows is that relaxing and having fun can be as important as serious revision. It is something the modern senior officers should learn. You need to play hard and work hard to get the best out of the job.
Even the fitness training and self defence classes had changed. In the last week there was a huge transformation. The hoodie who had been ripping our muscles apart for the last ten weeks became human. His excuse was that we needed to listen as what he taught us could save our lives. He was right. In that last week he gave us exactly the same lesson as that first one we had when we were all sick. It was so easy it was hard to imagine it was the same lesson. I don’t think I have ever been as fit again and was now an expert in dislocating the arms and fingers of others.
I had passed the final exam, the first aid exam, the swimming exam and the timed cross country run. All that was left was the instructors assessments which included all the practicals done on most days throughout the course. This was going to be a problem for me. You see, I thought I had managed to avoid the practicals where as the rest of the class had done several each.
Each day we learnt the law in the classroom and then went out somewhere on the camp where we would put what we learnt in the classroom into a practical experience. One or more of the other instructors would play the part of the “not so innocent” member of the public. It may be a drunk, a car accident, someone stealing or anything in between but it would be straightforward. Someone out of the class would be chosen to act as the police officer. I remember an ex-forces lad in our class being picked to deal with a drunk. He decided to deal with it by jumping on him, putting him in a headlock and dragging him toward the pretend Police station. The play acting instructor was none to pleased and the louder he protested the tighter the headlock got. He literally had to be dragged off him. For some reason he did not pass that practical.
On the last week talk turned to practicals and it was mentioned I had not done one. I was told to come to the front of the class and act as the station officer and deal with what I saw. I will be honest here and say I don’t know what a rat smells like but if I did, it would smell like this. I was right.
Over the next hour every instructor from the other classes filed in one at a time and gave me some problem or other. One brought in a pretend alligator, another a live hand grenade and one played the best escaped mental patient I have ever seen. I remember giving the hand grenade to the alligator and sending it out in the police training school yard to fetch. This solved those two problems in one go but the mental patient refused to go out with them and play. I am glad to say political correctness has moved on. Now we would send the mental patient and the crocodile into the yard. It is far easier to deal with the grenade.
Before we left there would be the class night out. The officers mess was the venue to a night of food, drinking and dancing with the instructors acting as waiters. It was a James Bond affair where dinner suits had to be worn (hired locally) and the ladies were to wear evening dresses. For some reason our class decided “Kilts” would be far better that dinner suits and we all agreed.
On the night we all got pulled to one side by the drill instructor who physically checked what we were wearing under the kilts. Today he would have been arrested but then it was hilarious and we all had to go back to the dorm to add one more item of clothing. We were checked again but during the night we all went back to being true Scottish caber tossers.
It was a good night I think. A lot of it is a blurr. There was one girl on the course everyone thought was stunning and for some reason I ended up walking her back to her dormitory. Someone in my class had given her my underwear that was removed earlier. I really hope she still does not have them but I never got them back.
The last day at the Dishforth police training college was a really sad day. It was the passing out parade in front of friends and relatives but it would also be the time we left our new family behind to go to the various forces. We were left standing on the parade square for a couple of hours before people literally passed out. Eventually we did some marching, saluting and then that was it. It was all over. It was without doubt one of the best times in my life and now it was time to join the real world as a real policeman.
Did you go to a police training school. What are your memories?