Police train close to home

IPSWICH'S old crown court is today being used by the criminal justice system once more after new police recruits began training in the building.

IPSWICH'S old crown court is today being used by the criminal justice system once more after new police recruits began training in the building.

Sixteen probationary officers are currently learning some of the skills required on the beat as they take part in lessons and workshops within the Civic Centre building.

The training forms part of the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme, a training scheme which takes place locally, with officers learning within the communities which they will serve.

It means police recruits will no longer have to move away from home in order to train as officers and they can develop ties with organisations and community groups within the area they will work.

Pc Colin Bridge, one of the tutors, said the initiative was introduced by the government as part of efforts to improve training and make it more open.

He said: “There was a lengthy review and we realised we had to move away from the old and really look at the standard and quality of police officers and allow them to go home at the end of the day, go back to their families and communities and speak to people about what is going on in the service and in training.”

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Officers still undergo two years on probation but in Suffolk that now begins with eight weeks at headquarters in Martlesham where they have an introduction to the force and undertake a community placement in locations such as Ipswich's Foyer or the YMCA.

This is followed by 12-weeks in the professional development unit in Ipswich where they learn everything from interviewing and evidence gathering to writing crime reports and filing.

They then move to the police station where they will be based and work with police development officers to learn skills on-the-job.

Pc Bridge added: “This is a good programme. I am at the end of my police service and I left CID to do this which proves how good I think it is.

“I have seen things like Brixton, Broadwater Farm and the miners' strikes where we have got it wrong with communities and we have never really looked at ourselves and how we are seen among the community.

“This gives officers the chance to see how and what makes up the community and how we fit in.”

Do you think officers should be trained locally? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail: eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Tony De Brito, 32, said he is loving every minute of police training.

He said: “I used to work in shipping and did that for about 13 or 14 years.

“I have enjoyed the whole experience so far - it has been brilliant.

“I have friends in the police who went to Ashford, Kent for training and they say, from what I tell them, the training now is so much better. I think there was a degree before of sitting there in the classroom being spoken to, this centres more on working it out for yourself.”

Caroline Wells, 37, will be based in Lowestoft when she finishes training.

She said: “I am loving the training and wish I had done it sooner. I spent 21 years in the leisure business in sports centres and private health clubs.

“I think this sort of training is better for me being older. I was born in Lowestoft, live in Lowestoft and can't wait to work in Lowestoft.”

Adam Purser, 22, recently graduated from the University of Essex having studied law.

He said: “The training has been good definitely and it will be good to get out there and learn physically on the street. We spend ten weeks with out professional development officers learning.

“I'm not saying the classroom stuff hasn't been good though - there is a mix of different ways of learning.”

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