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Met Specials disorganised training

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#1 OFFLINE   djaysoft



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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:01 pm

In October 2011 I applied to join the Met Specials having decided that I would be able to spare at least 8 hours per week on average (so double the minimum).  As I work shifts, which include weekends, I negotiated with my employer who kindly allowed me to change shifts to enable me to attend the weekly Sunday training course for 23 sessions.  I passed all stages of the recruitment process. Vetting was a fair shambles; they kept us all in a room for an hour whilst they made sure all details on everybody’s forms were complete and legible but despite this managed to sit on mine for 3 months before the vetting lady calling me in a panic to say that she was unable to read the email address of one of my referees and didn’t want to send it to the wrong person.  By this time, the referee was on holiday and unable to access his emails until after the deadline and I had to hastily find another referee during my lunch hour, which by some miracle I did.  Otherwise I would not have been able to do the course and those careful negotiations and arrangements with my employer would have been in vain. 


I was allocated a date to start training and felt able to complete the course and be posted to borough comfortably without it having an impact on my work.  However, on the induction day we were given a printed timetable for the course by one of our many tutors (never saw the same one twice) which included a number of weekends where we would be training on both Saturday and Sunday.  Members of the class soon raised this with the tutor (A Sergeant of 25 years experience) who was just as unaware as we were that the timetable for this supposed Sunday course contained a number of Saturdays.  I silently wondered to myself whether in her long career she made a habit of handing out, say, briefing notes at a briefing without having the faintest idea of the contents.  I went apologetically back to my employer and requested the necessary changes which were granted and began the course.


A number of the double day weekends were one following another, rather than being evenly spread throughout the course, meaning that I had one block of 23 days where I was either working or training.  This was not what was agreed and I got to around day 18 and felt so tired that if I did not rest for a day I was in danger of a serious lapse due to fatigue.  At this point I should explain that I am a bus driver, so while you can probably get away with drifting off occasionally if you work at a desk, in my current line of work, such lapses can have horrific consequences.  I felt duty bound to give my apologies and miss a day’s training (I have an obvious responsibility towards passengers and other road users).  With this day to make up and another block of 18 days solid I asked to put my training on hold.  Unfortunately, there were no courses running throughout the summer of 2012 due to the Olympics and they stipulated that I would have to restart the course from the beginning because of the time that would have elapsed.  So now I find myself in the position of having to re-start the course which I cannot do because I cannot get the time off again as the Met have frankly blown the opportunity for me by being so disorganised.  You have to complete your training within a year and this is almost up so I now have to resign and go through the whole recruitment process again if I want to join again.  I feel so annoyed by this as I considered carefully whether I could manage the training and the actual duties once attested.  Had I known that it would be a Saturday AND Sunday course I would have delayed applying and not wasted the one off opportunity of having the time off work which is not on offer anymore as in my work’s eyes I blew it and dropped out.  Only I didn’t blow it, the Met did.  Does anyone have any ideas on how to approach this?  I kind of want to get my views across but don’t want to blow future chances, or can I submit one of those Fairness at Work things mentioned in other topics on here?  With my age (34) I feel I am running out of time to join the Specials and hopefully progress into the regulars.  Thanks All.

#2 OFFLINE   AranL


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Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:22 am

Hi, To be honest specials training is awkward. It is run when most people ar enot working, Saturdays and Sundays. This causes issues for shift workers however unfortunatley this is what fits most people best. Also the Training of specials tend to be run by other specials and any full time trainers willing to work over time to help. During my training as a Special i found there was a period of 6 weeks where i had no days off and had some classes on weekday nights after work. which in volved a 2 and a half hour round trip to HQ. If you have the contact details of the training office it may be worth sending a very carefully worded email if you feel you need to get it off you chest. Alternativly i would suggest waiting till you can commit weekends fully and most of your spare week day time to revision. It is hard and gruling but so are 16-17 hour shifts. As unfortunatley you don't get to do 8 hours and go home, if your dealing with a crime scene or have a detained person and need to do search warrants etc. It has to be your main priority and if it can't or won't be dont bother as you will not enjoy it.

#3 OFFLINE   djaysoft



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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:25 pm

Thanks Aran.  I'm beginning to think joining the Specials is not really compatible with my current day job both because of the training and also because you do come across things on the road (accidents, disruptive passengers etc) that would potentially require me to act as a police officer whilst somehow not abandoning up to 90 passengers who are relying on you to get them where they need to be.  I will look at reapplying when/if I have a job that's a bit more shut away and has better hours.  I'm happy to push myself and go the extra mile but there are safety limits in my current role.  D

#4 OFFLINE   sykes


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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:39 pm

To be fair I can understand your frustration but why come on this forum and criticise the MET contact those responsible for the training and recruitment let them know how you feel

Having said that are you ready to join the specials, you claim a sgt tutor was unaware of the changes yet you would only have seen her once as you say they changed all the time it could be she was given the same info as you originally  were.


As professional driver you wouldn't be expected to act as a police office while at work, you would be putting yourself at risk with no back nothing and quickly gain a reputation that wouldnt go down well


At 34 youve plenty of time left,  to join specials or regs  but things wont change if people like yourself who have had a bad experience let the force know hopefully they will then make the right changes

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