“I wouldn’t have even thought of joining the police until you spoke with me…”

“I wouldn’t have even thought of joining the police until you spoke with me…”

Off By Ed Hanna

I’m Temporary Sergeant Ben Wisdom, and I previously Served with the Army Air Corps as a Soldier. 

I joined Surrey Police in 2005 as a contact centre call handler, before becoming a police constable in 2008. Some of you may recognise me, as I’ve been going along to many resettlement fairs, speaking with people like you about joining the police. 

I often hear people say to me that they’d never thought about joining the police until I’d spoken with them; I guess maybe because policing is often a source of media attention, but not necessarily for the right reasons. It’s important to remember that the majority of the police is made up of incredible people who want to make the world a better place, by protecting the vulnerable, tackling harmful people, and keeping their communities safe. 

I’d like to talk to you about what you can truly expect if you join Surrey Police. 

Let’s talk options…
Did you know there are specialist departments within the police? These specialist departments have roles for officers, as well as staff. An example is the Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT). They spend their time identifying, investigating, and convicting people who groom and abuse children online.

A constable is like an Infantryman. They have to know a little bit of everything but are sworn into the office of constable by a magistrate. This means they have many powers (such as the power to arrest) given to them by the courts. Constables speak to the public face-to-face and have a lot of responsibility. It is not for everybody, but for those it suits, it is so rewarding that it is difficult to match in any other walk of life. And after you become a constable, there are a variety of options available to you, whether you want to specialise or progress through the ranks. 

If you have minimum Service in the Armed Forces, you’ll automatically be eligible to join the police as a constable. You just need to have a GCSE, or foundation level qualification in both maths and English. 

To apply, you fill out an online application form and then complete a series of assessments. If you do not have a degree, you will be entered into the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA). Do not be put off by the word ‘degree’, it’s a level 6 qualification, awarded after three years. After your initial training of 15 weeks, you’ll be out doing the job alongside an experienced constable (coach).

In the Army, you’re drilled into reacting to given situations, and your training comes into its own on exercise and operations. This is the same in policing, but you’re not specialised initially; all constables start at the same place but have opportunities to specialise over time. You’re deployed to an array of incident types – no two days are the same, policing is 24/7. 

Transferable skills
You may hear this phrase often! PC Matt Stokes explains what we really mean: “I’m fairly new in the police and coming from the Army has given me a lot of skills which are welcomed within the police. Professionalism, dedication, and discipline come to mind. It’s a fantastic role, the training can be intense, and sometimes I feel like I am snowed under. However, my team, my sergeants, and my tutors are always there to speak to and offer help.” 

Like anything in life, policing is what you make it, we work for the public, and each other. To discuss any further questions, please feel free to contact: policeconstabletrainees@surrey.police.uk and ask to speak with me directly. 

Visit: www.surrey.police.uk/careers

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