In this episode I chat with my good friend Sam on what a career in the police looks like.
We discuss the qualifications needed to join, the training itself and what career progression looks like.
We also discuss what a bad, average and good day looks like on the job, as well as advice for any aspiring police officers.
To get more information about a career in the MET here's the official website: https://www.met.police.uk/
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Hello everyone. And welcome to the curious Ulsterman podcast. The podcast designed to give you the tools you need to thrive as an adult. So my question to you today is have you ever considered joining the police? Well, my good friend, Sam, who is a police Constable, and the mat has very kindly come on as my guest today to discuss just that. So we went over things such as why he joined the mat. What qualifications do you need? What does the training consist of? Uh, what a bad average on a good day look like as well as the , uh , advice he gives to anyone considering joining the police. So here's my conversation with my good friends. Um, I , um, thanks very much for coming on the podcast today.Speaker 3:
Yeah. Good to be here . Thank you for having me.Speaker 2:
Oh, honey time , brother. Um, so I am very lucky to have known you for what, six, seven years now. A big probably fall potentiallySpeaker 3:
Being longer than I am. Maybe not eight years.Speaker 2:
Yeah. Well, it's been a great eight years , um, for the audience who don't know you, could you just give a short , uh, story about yourself please?Speaker 3:
Uh , yeah, sure. Well , um, my name Sam , uh, I used to serve in the Royal Navy. Um, so it's about nine and a half years between , uh, December, 2009 to , um, May, 2019. Uh, I was an NGN much like , um, Jonathan , uh, except, or I was on of surface ships. Um, I served on everything from aircraft carriers down to , uh , mine supers and pretty much anything in between , um, foreign , I enjoyed one time, but , uh, it did come to a point where I felt it was fun to move on and , and go through a new challenge and a part of a new challenge was joining the metropolitan police .Speaker 2:
Very nice. Yeah. Um, I know certainly I've worked in the maritime industry with you and when you said you were going to go and join the police, I fault also rule you'd be very well suited for , um, especially, you know, the temperament and the good hedge you have on you. You know, you're gonna be certainly an asset. So my question to you is though why the map ,Speaker 3:
Um, I chose to met for a number of different reasons. Um, one of which I have quite a few friends who are in the map who , um, who kind of saw these phrases . Um, a lot of my , my family live quite close to London, so where I'd been , uh , living away for so many years, it was a , it was an opportunity , um, to be a bit closer to family. Um, and , uh, the met Paintsville then , um, then any other police service in the UK , um, with , uh , London waiting and the opportunities within the Mets are much wider and greater. Uh , you can do a great deal of many different unique jobs through it.Speaker 2:
All right . Fair enough then. Um, so on your initial application, and for those who are considering joining, you know, the mat and potentially other police forces, what qualifications do you need or what was ideal for the police service?Speaker 3:
Um, so if we're just talking about on paper , uh, kind of qualifications, you , you will need a basic , uh , C and GCSE or whichever is equivalent to , um, say if you're from Scotland, they don't know how to Jesus he's outside so different , um, or even as your , uh, international , uh, joining the , uh, met police or police in general. Um, as we do take international , um, applicants, I'll work with Americans to work with , uh, people from Europe , um, uh, it's quite, quite diverse in that respect, but , uh, yeah , so certainly on paper, you will either , uh , at the very least , uh , GCC , uh, C uh , or above.Speaker 2:
Fair enough. Um, and what about qualifications, would you say? Um, like , uh , I know you came from an engineering background or anything got any professional qualifications that would help you with that, or is it just standard GCSE and we'll train you to do the rest?Speaker 3:
Um, I think in terms of , uh, I guess kind of question you're getting at is whether outside qualifications we would , uh , help you do in the job role. Um, I think certainly life experience with any degree , um, is beneficial in this type of work , um, having , um, having experience , uh , being able to learn a new subject , um, learn information, retaining information and regurgitating information is, is a very important skill to have. So if you've done that in any kind of capacity , uh , whether that be, you know, a university or an apprenticeship of , of whatever kind that is only going to help you , um, with, with the training and with, with the job role , uh, as there's a lot of legislation of , um, law, you need to learn , uh , before I set you free on the streets of London. Um , and , um, yeah, so that can only be only beneficial , uh , and anything through the , uh , I guess the selection process that helps you stand out , uh, is also helpful. Yeah . And you said something very interestingSpeaker 2:
That I never knew about the mat . You said you take international applicants so hard . Is that where you say you work with the Americans and, and this is it's quickly describe that process of how someone international, if they were interested in joining the mat , could , could go about that. Just a brief overview of it.Speaker 3:
Um, so in, in any kind of interested Africa , um, I would, I , I firstly , um , suggest you go to , um , met.police.co.uk , uh, and the website is very informative. Uh, it comes a lot of , um, you know , you kind of free, frequently asked questions about , uh, the joining process and , um, eligibility to join. Um, so , uh, yeah, when I say like international people, yet as people who, who reside in UK who have been residing in the UK for X amount of time , um, who are citizen ship here , um, are , are eligible to join the map .Speaker 2:
Okay. That's very cool. Yeah . And for those of you interested , um, that website will be in the show notes as well. So you should be a handy link to click on. Um, so you've been accepted and you're not going to go for your training. What does basic police training consists of in the mat ?Speaker 3:
Um, it's, it is a continuing to continually changing process , um, is especially with the current climate of things. It has changed a little, a little bit since I, I did my training early in , um, you know, eight months ago. Um, when I did my training , uh, you go and do what was taught to see KP , um , which is about eight week long course, which are kind of like an introduction to legislation law. Um, and then once you complete that successful completion of a multi , um, question , um, test you'll do , uh , successfully complete that, then you'll move on to the process of , um, your , um, your, your actual initial, proper training. So where you either go to , um, Henderson or you go to my house or to kind of a main police , uh, ecologies , uh , for London. Um, you go there, you'll do six months of learning legislation, learning law, learning how to use met systems. So like your various , uh, reporting systems, we have our different policies. Um, you also learn that you do a little bit of practical work, so a lot of role playing a lot of , uh, you know, your colleagues pretending to be , uh , criminals or , uh , as a suspiciously . And you do, do you do kind of like play those sort of things out. Um, and then you have your officer's safety training , uh , which is five days long , uh, where they teach you , uh, you know, all your handcuffs with techniques or your officer safety techniques , um, uh , how to, how to use , uh, the equipment, the tools that give you , um, properly and safely. Um, you also get , um, part of it , uh, which is essentially our version of pepper spray. Uh , so you get a healthy dose of that , uh, experience , um, that side of things, it's sort of similar to , um, the, the CS training , uh, you get when you're in the , uh , the forces that you get you in the gas chamber, because they get you to experience that kind of level of discomfort. So you understand , um, well, for our side of things, you understand what kind of , uh , pain or potential pain you're in 15 on all your subjects as it wereSpeaker 2:
Fair enough.Speaker 3:
Yeah . Um, that'd be six months . Yeah . I'd say that, that would be, that'd be kind of six months of training , uh, posts that then he goes, what was called St . Judy's and St. Judy's , you'll be there for about , uh, currently, now we'll be about two months St Judy's and that's when you get taken out by experienced police officers that you take real life calls. Okay. So it says , um, they'll do a bit more role-playing of view , but then soon after that, you'll go and you'll be taking real life calls. You'll meet me with real people, real situations. Um, and that is pretty much say , um, uh, your time of refining , um , you is really a trial by fire as it were. Um, and , um, yeah, you do that for a bit of time, and then they'll send you to , um, specialized units just to get a bit more experienced before they send you eventually on response team, which is what I'm on right now.Speaker 2:
All right. So there's very , in terms of what I really liked, what you said was it's constantly evolving so that you adopt and you're the most capable and efficient you can be , uh , which is always good to hear. Um, so when you do finish this training, are you a Jack of all trades? Do you specialize, how does that workSpeaker 3:
On completion of your , uh, I guess your initial police training , uh, you are a probation, so , uh , you're in your probation period, you're in your probation period for 18 months from when you join . Um, and, and when you get on team , uh , you have what we call [inaudible] , which is a bit like a task book. We would be familiar of, of different , um, uh, different things. You need to prove that you're competent in doing , uh, things as simple as an arrest or interviewing someone or taking a statement that you need to evidence that you are competent to do that by yourself without any help. Uh, this is nothing to particularly worry about. It's not exactly sort of particularly hard thing to do. Um, but it's just one of those things you need to complete in order to finish your probation and become this have started police officer. Once you become a substantial police officer , um, that is when you can look to specialize. So when you, when you finish your training , uh, your not necessarily a Jack of all trades, what you are, is your, your, your finish , your training for your actual initial role, which is a police officer, a police, Constable , um, everyone in the ma who's joined as a police officer. The first one , um , first and primary role is as a police Constable, that is diet is your bread and butter. You need to know , and be confident in being a police officer. And once you've got that kind of like , um, nailed as it were that's when you can go, right, I've got the basics and I know how to do the basics brilliantly. This is where now I can go specialize in all the really Gucci units that are available.Speaker 2:
Okay. That's , that's quite informative then. So what does career progression then look like and like this rule?Speaker 3:
Hmm it's um, it's interesting. So career for crushing, you could spend your whole career as a police Constable , um, which is if you're , if you're thinking maybe like military ranks, it's like essentially some might consider it's like the lowest rank, but actually everyone in a map, whether the , all from your one day into the job, or you are the commissioner have the exact same powers of arrest, is that same powers of, of , uh , you know , uh , sort of search or whatever it might be. Um, certainly you get up a couple more chevrons on the colors, the promotion ladder, you get more powers, but the more for, you know, major incidents or things like that, generally speaking everyone throughout the whole, the , um, of the , the map has the exact same pounds. Uh, so I make that point to sort of say progression, realistically, looks like I'm seeing a , a type of area policing you, you wish to , to, to do applying and going for it. Um, there's, there's a multitude of ways to , um, there is not one specific , um, method or one specific way of policing. Um, policing is a multitude of different things that I said it's done in a multitude of different ways. Um, whether that be community engagement or whether your you're you're really having to hammer and go hard after like the gang members or whatever it might be. Um, there , there is a 10 pound hammer and as , um , you know , um , that kind of approach of like , uh, some sides you need to , you know , a lighter touch sometimes it's , uh , uh, kicking doors through , um, kind of, kind of thing. So in terms of progression , uh, to kind of get there to your question , um, wherever you are , if you're looking at promotion , uh, then , uh, to climb the kind of the ladder as it were becomes sort of started , uh, was just subs started. Um, you can then , um, do your sergeant's exam. There's nothing stopping you from doing an exam and qualifying , uh, once you qualify , uh , to , uh, to be a Sergeant , uh, often , um, if you're suitable and you pass exam, they will get you to act up what we call acting up, which is , uh , similar to , uh, if your say in the Navy and they get you to do, do critics wrong . Um, I forget the term we use , um, when you're an accident connect [inaudible] . Yeah . So it's sort of similar sort of deal. Uh, essentially you're doing the job role of the rank above , uh, without the pay , but it's all for experience all the risk , um, lovely , uh , the reward as it were. Um, uh, yeah, so you , you you'll , you'll do that. Uh , if this doesn't make it , if I'm making that clear , um, and then , uh, you'll be subject to a board. I kind , I think before any kind of promotion within these , uh , uniform services , um, and subject to a successful board get promoted , um, and so on and so forth as you go up and up and up. Um, but yeah, so I, me being in , uh , would be just over a year now I've done , um, I hold the exact same authority, is that the same power as someone who's done 20 years as a PC, however, you know, 20 a PC on the, let them tell you what to do, because they've got clearly a lot more experience than I do. Um, but , uh, yeah, realistically in any situation you find yourself in no matter how much service you got, if you're first on scene or , uh , issue, or , you know, you know, the full picture or as much into picture as possible, you're charged essentially. Fair enough. Yeah . If that answers your question. Oh, no, it answersSpeaker 2:
It very well. Um, if we could touch on very briefly, you said something I find quite interesting and that there's a multitude of ways to police. So depending, you know, after you finished your substantive, if I'm saying that correctly , um, you're , you can then choose to specialize in a certain area of policing if I'm getting that correct. So what , what's it like a brief overview of the options available?Speaker 3:
Um, I guess , uh, so unpack that a little bit more , um, even so just to explain my position right now, so I'm on a response team in a borough of London , uh, and each bar out of London has , uh , five response teams , uh, which are on a , a rotating , um, shift plan, you know, so there's, there's three shifts a day , um, to later nighttime. So that's your shift late shift night shift. So you'll have three different teams on throughout the day , um, with, with your response team , um, depending on what type of calls you go to we'll , um, quite different approaches of styles of policing. Um, so even in that kind of area, you , you still have , um, that element of the different types of ways of policing, whether it's proactive or it's responsive on response teams. Generally speaking, we use briefs respond to nine or nine calls. Someone phones us as a fire kicking off, we respond, we find out what's going on, you know , and go from there. Um, in terms of specialization, essentially, as you are , um, say it's a foreign would say firearms , um, they are, they are dealing with your, you know, your domestic disputes or your civil disputes. They are specifically dealing with , um, very violent people , uh, or people who have, you know , uh, weapons , uh, eye guns, sometimes knives , not often as we normally do with people's lives . Um, uh, yeah, they are dealing with a very , um, high risk kind of fallen people. Um, so the approach isn't going to be nicey nicey, that approach has got to be in there , uh , to deal with, related to deal with , um, or it could be something like , uh, your safe neighborhoods teams , uh , so SNC that they're very proactive. The they're there to engage with your communities to be an ear within the community to understand what the kind of social issues might be specifically for an area. Um, uh, what people's , uh , worries are , um, around , uh, crime or whatever it might be or antisocial behavior. And they will put plans together jobs together to tackle those issues. Um, so they're kind of like two sides of the kind of big spectrum. Uh , you've also got your other units that deal with , uh , specific , um, offenses. Um, so that might be , um, things like fraud, things like , um, uh, robberies, stuff like that.Speaker 2:
There's no shortage of avenues to go depending on what your interests may be. And it's , it's very interesting to see just how professional, you know, the ma and the police are in general and the , you know, your response has to be highly nuanced. You can't, there's no one response fits all, you know, you have to have a good head on you to go in there, assess the situation, you know, is this a nicey nicey approach or is this go in hard approach yet ? So that's, that's very interesting how even within one unit such as yourself, there is a multitude of ways to , to police. So, yeah , that's very interesting then,Speaker 3:
Your experience, so far of the mat, what does, Abod an average on a good day look like?Speaker 3:
Hmm . Yeah, that's a good question. Um, I'd say an average day or solid an average day, an average day. Um, you know, you'll have , um, I work in a very , uh, busy borough . Uh , I work in one of the busiest borrowers in London. It's up in the top 10 , um, for , for different reasons. It's busy. Uh, so an average day , um, is very unpredictable. So it could be a , of a joke of my , my colleagues , um , you know , um, a couple , uh, sets of shifts to go in one day we had , uh, you know, multiple stabbings, RTCs or road traffic collisions , um, robberies , um, Arafat , like we say, Oh, you know, it's , it's , uh , it's , uh, it's , it's set itself on fire again. Um, but , uh , uh, I would say this I'll be like, Oh yeah, but it's a Wednesday, it's a Wednesday, Wednesday morning. Why, why else would , um, it'd be like this? They're like, there's no rhyme or reason why it's a busy or not busy day. It doesn't matter. It's just a tough place to the area of work. And , um, and , um, so for , for me an average day , uh, our , we can very unpredictable borrower , so, and if it can happen, literally anything can happen. And , um, you're , you know, you got your radio there and you're listening to the calls that are coming out and you're , you're , you know , you know, your colleagues in response to one type of call and you can, you know, even just hearing the details or what would say that the REMS to call you're like, okay. Yeah. That's, that's, that's, someone's, someone's getting arrested out of that. Definitely. And then lo and behold, 10 minutes later. Yeah. Can we get a van , uh , space or one adult who other dumb , whatever? Um, yeah . Yeah. So I'd say for me , uh, as a bit of a slight different , uh, case, but , um, a bad day would be when we've got lots of calls. Um, uh, but we've got quite big , uh, incidences saying like a stabbing , uh , which is always unfortunate , um, which is a big drain, a big drain on our resources. Cause we'll see, we need , um, to secure the scene, we need to speak to witnesses, to speak to and into the school victim SU hospital. Uh , we need to collect evidence. We need to, if the suspect's not there and he's trying to circulate a suspect, we need to is a suspect. Is there an interest in analytics , uh, like custody and we'll see , get in a report . So I'll get all information together to serve Texas , go interview later, if it's that sort of level of , um, of , uh, offense , um, all the while you could have all the other stuff that's still going on, you know, people still have them in having domestic issues or , um, you know, sort of antisocial behavior stuff going on. Uh, and there's only so many people. I know so many strengths of both , um, that could deal with stuff within that period of time. So a bad day is when you , your, you already on a unit that's free at your having to take all these other little, little calls. Um, essentially , uh, like I said to my wife, like today, we're just putting out fires, you know, you go from call to call to call, right? Yet you don't really a place for that far out. We have a result that goes to the next thing. Next thing you know , um, that would be a bad day, a good day, a good day. I'd say a good day is when I have a good interaction with a member of public. When you actually, so often you can go to things. And , um, we , we , we have a sort of, a bit of a saying by the people who actually really need us, don't find us and the people that don't lead us find us. Um, and you can't find it quite often and it can be frustrating cause you kind of feel like in certain circumstances, not all circumstances , but certain circumstances, especially with our regulars, that we do have regulars, we have record coolers , um, where your kind of thinking there's, there's people who really actually don't help in your, you don't really need her help, but you've called us. So therefore we still need to check and , uh, all kind of initial investigation, make sure nothing has happened. And this is , um, and , um, but good days when you come across somebody who actually genuinely needs your help and you aren't able to help them, and you're going to get a positive result and you have a positive reaction, I'm sorry, a positive , um , interaction with that individual. Um, you know, it's that whole , um, if you have a bad experience at restaurant, you're likely to tell 10 people about that bad experience , um , that bad experience, a good experience at a restaurant, you might tell one or two people. Um, so quite often it's someone has a bad experience with a police officer. They're likely to tell quite a lot of people. Um, but it's to have a good experience of a police officer then , um, you know, at least then you still got a couple of people that will be able to say, you know what, I I'm at a cool place or wherever it was. And , um, they're really good to me . They're really helpful. They , um, you know, did what the w we're here for wishes to help people.Speaker 2:
Yeah. I mean, that sounds really good. Sounds like an immense amount of job satisfaction. And it's so interesting that you said that because that's roughly the cm. Um , so the , um, my good friend, Sharon, who's a paramedic , um, she said something along similar lines is having good interactions with people and, you know, making people's days better and being of service to your community. And , um, you know, I suppose that's what you sign up for. Isn't it , you sign up to help to help and serve people. Uh, unfortunately, you know, as you say, there are domestics, there are, you know, people who perhaps needlessly call salmon and the ambulance service, people who call for a paper cut, or, you know , some other sort of nonsense. But yeah, I imagined that the , the immense satisfaction not must bring, when you turn up to your , a serious call, the people who genuinely need G you resolve it and everybody's, everybody's fine. All everyone goes to bed at night, half a and you know, you've served your community. So yeah, that's, yeah. I can imagine , uh, at least for a brief moment with that, what that must feel like. Um, so my next question then is what do you wish she knew before you had joined and would you do anything differently?Speaker 3:
Um, before I joined , I , I feel like I've been quite fortunate in my experience so far , um, in that I wanted to the new challenge. Um, I didn't want to go where it's like more [inaudible] and it's all hunky Dory and quiet wants it to go in the thick of it. Um, and , uh, I got quite fortunate with where I've been posted is that type of place , um, which is , uh, which is great , uh, things that we should kind of knew beforehand. I think if I had not done what I'd done before is not done my time in the military. Um, I would not have had the same level of appreciation for infrastructure or my , my work ethic would be different. Um, uh, you know, we, we get individually get told , right, this is what we're doing, and we're going, you know, you can be like, right, we're leaving for six months tomorrow. Oh , okay. Like, you can just drop refinish , go , you should do it. Um, whereas if you've , if you've not had that kind of , um, experience , um, your you're probably less prepared for the type of job that this is where it's very, can be quite short notice as I actually goals moved again, guys , um, we're gonna have to stay on an extra hour, two hours because , uh , science kickoff in town will need to be standby or whatever it might be. Um, so in terms of , uh, what we're showing you beforehand , um, not much, but I feel we might pass experience has helped , uh, me with the curve balls that this job sometimes throws at you. Um, uh, we'll say half that question, sorry. What'd you do anything differently? What would I do differently? Um, again, you know, I think I achieved what I can't achieve in the Navy. Um, and now I'm looking at while achieving the police while I would do differently. I wouldn't do much differently , uh, in honesty. Um, I'd maybe study more possibly during my training. Um, I passed my exams and things like that, but , um, perhaps , um, I would have , uh, put more investing more time into my, kind of like my personal study during my training. Um, it's like I would have done and I would recommend , um, you know, do that. Um, but in terms of anything , anything differently? No, I want to say so , um , very well prepared then . Yeah. As, as, as always, I would recommend though it would be , uh , if you are looking at, this is a potential job or career where you going through the selection process or whatnot, re redefined print, and the information is sent you out. Um, you know , um, I didn't go, I didn't go too much into the selection process, but when you apply , uh , on successful application, you'll be invited for day one assessment. Uh , your day one assessment is consisted of seven different , uh, tasks , um, two , which are role plays . Um, and you get an overall score on how well you're doing all seven of those different things. So he absolutely tank one of those things. You still have the opportunity to get, make up , be points of areas , uh, pass points on that. Uh , then they'll invite you for a day to assessment, which is your medical , um, and a fitness test , um, that assessed being 5.4 and a blood test , um, which is very, very achievable. Um, uh, I won't go into , uh, there's this , some people who, who struggled , but , um, personally , um, no one should be struggling at that level, if you're looking to do this job, because it can be quite a physical job. There are times you do need to be physically wrestling people or restraining people. Um, so you do need to have a level of fitness. I would suggest just for your own safety.Speaker 2:
Yeah. Very important. Yeah. Yeah. Especially if there's someone who's potentially bigger than you, or just a unit, you know, and even, you know, gets down to the fitness is good regardless of your job rule , but yeah, it's only a little only enhance your capability as a police officer if you are physically fit. Um , so you answered my last question about me even asking it. So thank you very much. Um, one thing I would like to say is , um, I really do appreciate the service. You do some and all the police officers in the UK. Um, we know it's a thankless task most of the time, but we really do appreciate the fact that, you know , um, nine times out of 10, it's a , can be a , can be a tough day, but you're just doing your job and, you know, nobody likes issuing tickets or arresting people or anything like that, but that is just part of the job. And, you know, especially in like COVID times when tensions are high and stuff, it's like, yeah, you're, you're keeping a CF despite that. So , um, my big thank you to all police officers in the UK and thank you very much, Sam, for coming on and discussing this. So audience , I hope your audience. I hope you've enjoyed that. And I hope that, you know, you're a bit more informed on the subject. So once again, thanks very much for coming on the podcast.Speaker 1:
Yeah ,Speaker 2:
There you have it folks. That was my conversation with som hopefully that has given you the information you need to make an informed decision about whether the police, it would be a career for you. If you enjoyed today's conversation, I want to stay up to date with all the future content coming your way. Then please do subscribe to the various social media platforms. I'm on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and , uh , all let the curious Ulsterman once again, thanks very much for tuning in. It's been a pleasure, all the best bye for now.Speaker 1:
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