One year on – Reflections on the Summer Academy

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PC Ben Baker was part of the first group of officers that joined Police Now. He visited the first day of training for the 2016 recruits, and here, he reflects on his own Summer Academy experience and how much things have changed – or not – since the day he got attested as an officer.

Police Now’s first cohort have just had their first anniversary. One year since we stood, not in a police station but in a school hall in one of the most deprived wards of East London, and took the oath of constable. The oath that made us all police officers. That first day of the Summer Academy was hectic, and I don’t remember that many details, but it’s hard to forget that moment. Taking the oath in front of the magistrates who swore us in and alongside the excellent serving officers who would guide us through the academy was an amazing experience.

One year later and I’m again standing in a London school hall. I’ve had one year of enjoying my time in Westminster working with Police Now and my local team to help catch criminals, find the lost, protect the vulnerable and make a positive impact for our community. Today though I’m saying the oath again as a serving officer proudly alongside a new cohort of Police Now as they join the policing family.

Being back at the new academy to witness this was a real privilege. Visiting on day one was an exciting opportunity to see the new academy in action. It’s a different academy. There’s the different uniforms from the new partner forces giving the academy a national feel. Then there’s the new venue, brighter and bigger than the original. Lastly, there’s some new faces leading the academy this year.

It was a strange experience to be back because for all these superficial differences the fundamentals were still there. The syndicates, the course partners, a few recognisable syndicate leads, the same tenets of Police Now’s vision on how you can make a difference were all repeated giving the reassuring sense of familiarity. The academy was and is a tough experience. It’ll be long days and a steep learning curve. But its all achievable and heck even enjoyable! The same advice we were given that got us through is the same today. Pull the course toward you. Work with your syndicate as a team. Be there for your course partner and they will be there for you. Enjoy it.

Our academy was one the best things I’d ever done. I remember it always with a smile and I left as a police officer part of a real policing family. The new officers I observed on Day 1 of their training will have a unique and different academy experience, but I expect they too will look back one year on and say much the same.