Detective Academy: Katie Landsborough, South Yorkshire Police
National Detective Programme 2022
The programme begins with a 14-week training academy before participants are deployed into their respective police forces to continue the two-year programme.
Katie, who will join South Yorkshire Police via the programme, is sharing her experiences of the academy as she develops the knowledge and skills required to support her community as a detective constable.
Police Now’s National Detective Programme is designed to equip participants with the core policing and leadership skills required in modern investigative work. Once deployed into their forces, participants play an integral part in solving crimes while developing their leadership, communication and problem-solving skills.
Katie Landsborough, Trainee Detective Constable on Police Now's National Detective Programme
“I studied law at The University of Law and worked in various roles alongside my studies, including as an employment officer for the council and as a volunteer at the Citizens Advice Bureau.
“Whilst I was at university, I also set up a charity called A Race for Justice, which aims to educate and empower the public on social attitudes towards race and discrimination. We achieve this through delivering workshops to different organisations across the country, such as schools and businesses, in order to raise awareness.
“I originally intended to train as a solicitor or a barrister after completing my degree, however when the time came to apply for graduate roles, I began questioning that choice. I came across Police Now at a careers fair and the idea of having a more hands-on role appealed to me. Especially one where I would be able to really help communities and individuals.
“The selling point for the programme, for me, was the push for diversity in all its forms. I think bringing people into the police from different career backgrounds, degree disciplines, genders, ethnicities and walks of life can only strengthen the service. This is a real driver for me, in everything that I do. I want to be a part of that positive change.
“My friends and family had mixed reactions when I told them I was going to train as a detective in the police service; some were proud but others disappointed that I wasn’t going to become a solicitor as originally planned. A few family members worried about what my experience would be like as a mixed-race Black Caribbean and White person joining the service, and some of them have low trust in the police. However, the more I talk to them about the role and my motivations for joining via Police Now, the more they understand why it’s important to me and that I can really help people as a detective.
“I am excited to begin my academy training this week and work alongside like-minded officers as a trainee detective constable on the National Detective Programme.”
“We have completed five weeks of academy training now and have jumped straight back into our learning after the long Easter weekend. So far, we have focused on developing our practical policing skills and learning the physical, theoretical and force-specific skills required to effectively deal with incidents on the streets. This has included stop and search of people and cars, premise searches, arrest and present to custody, use of police radios, understanding and using evidence, domestic abuse and missing persons, giving evidence in court, officer safety training and first aid training.
“I am really pleased that I have passed all my Officer Safety Training (OST) and first aid training, and I have passed both my first practical and written assessments. The practical assessment was stop search, arrest and present to custody, and the written assessment was taking witness statements.
“The feedback I received from my assessments was that I have excellent mannerisms, remaining calm and confident throughout the assessments and making genuine connections with the suspects. I also have areas that I need to improve on, such as being clearer with some of my communications and providing more details in my written statements.
“I am working on developing these skills across all my sessions, for example in my arrest and present to custody roleplays. I really enjoyed learning about how to arrest someone and present them to custody because it was the most exciting part of policing to me before starting academy. On my first role-play attempt, I was a bit nervous and I didn’t speak loudly enough. I suspect this was due to confidence but the more I practiced the more confident I became.
“When we learned how to do basic radio communication, I tried to keep my first attempt simple and focused on being clear. I was worried about slipping up on the more complex instructions, as I was still getting used to the radio codes and adapting to this new style of communicating. I hadn’t really considered that radio comms would be such an important aspect to learn, as I had only ever been aware of a few radio phrases beforehand. I now know it is vital that I have a broader understanding of different radio codes and protocols.
“Although the academy is intense, I am feeling good mentally, emotionally and physically. I enjoyed our OST and especially like the hands-on aspects of the training. My performance has room for improvement but I am making steady progress and I’m happy with the work I have put in so far.
“I am fully aware of the way I need to act in my role as a police officer, in order to maintain the trust and confidence from the public and fellow colleagues. This is constantly reinforced throughout our academy and in my personal life I have always strived to have a strong sense of integrity and fairness, so this has naturally transferred to my professional policing role.”
“We have recently completed three days of field training on our force Response teams, which for me has been the highlight of training so far. I enjoyed it so much that I volunteered to do an extra night shift on top of the three shifts I already had scheduled.
“We were supported by our tutor constables and force colleagues during the field training, and I tried my best to get a good balance of observation and hands-on practise. The new colleagues I met in my team during my shifts were very welcoming and friendly, everyone was open and approachable.
“During my time on Response I practiced using the police radio and logging incident write-ups, carried out a vehicle check, and responded to public order offences. I also dealt with an affray and assault of an emergency worker, which resulted in an arrest, and conducted a stop and search after reports of a man concealing a hammer. We also attended two domestic abuse incidents and three missing persons incidents, which led to a child protection issue with social services involved.
“I was chuffed to bits that I got to make my first ever arrest on my third Response shift. We were called to a residential property and, after taking witness statements, I arrested an individual for a ‘threat to kill’ offence under S.16 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861. I managed to remember and deliver correctly all the necessary points for a lawful arrest, including the caution and necessities, before escorting the suspect back to the station. I presented him to the custody sergeant and, after their detention was authorised, I made sure he was secured in his cell and his well-being was taken care of.
“After our field training we had a ‘digital week’ at academy, recovering at home after our field training shifts and dialling in to lectures on contemporary challenges in policing, such as mental health, anti-social behaviour and extremism and radicalism. I had to adjust my body clock after the night shifts but I admit I did miss being on the frontline.
“I feel I am a very practical learner, so I’m glad we have had the hands-on experience early on in our training before we permanently land in our forces after academy. I am now preparing for my National Investigators’ Exam and looking forward to our next week of field training, which will be in the Criminal Investigations Department.”
Today, we finally completed Police Now’s National Detective Programme academy after 14 weeks of hard work. It has not been an easy ride – we have covered a lot of ground and really had to push ourselves to reach our full potential – but it has been incredibly rewarding and informative.
During the last few weeks of academy, we all sat our National Investigators’ Exam and also completed field training in our forces’ Criminal Investigation Departments (CID). I’ll be honest, the field training in CID was challenging, but it did reaffirm that having a career as a detective is absolutely what I want to do.
I tried to put myself forward and really get stuck in where I could during these CID shifts. I analysed video footage from Body Worn Video cameras, I sat as a second (supporting officer) in a suspect interview, conducted a search at a residential property and supported members of the Domestic Abuse team. I also observed my colleagues working on cases such as a historical rape case, a Section 18 Grievous Bodily Harm case, a kidnapping case and a controlling prostitution for gain offence – but there is one moment in particular that I am very proud of.
When on shift with my tutor constable, I managed to detain and seize a knife and a firearm from a member of the public. I was presented with a ‘Special Achievement Award at the academy closing ceremony today and also received a commendation from Chief Superintendent Shelley Hemsley for my involvement in the incident, which was a huge honour. But more importantly, I removed two dangerous weapons from the streets and potentially saved lives.
During our last few weeks at academy, we also took part in a crime scene management exercise, practised our interviewing skills, networked with a number of organisations and partners across the policing sector, and heard from some guest speakers who I found interesting.
We attended a closing ceremony this afternoon, where we were addressed by Assistant Chief Constable Sharn Basra from Bedfordshire Police, and we now have a week of rest before continuing Police Now’s two-year National Detective Programme in our forces.
I can’t wait to land permanently in South Yorkshire Police and begin supporting victims of crime as a trainee Detective Constable. I am looking forward to the journey this career will take me on, and my new life in the fantastic community that is South Yorkshire.