During my second year of university, I took a module which required me to have a voluntary placement within the Criminal Justice System (CJS). For my placement I became a Special Constable with Essex Police, which I still am today.
The placement consisted of four months of training on the weekends, and now I can arrange to go out and police whenever it suits me.
During my placement I learnt many different things, so let’s go through a few.
1. Organisation is key
The first thing I learnt was how important it is keep organised. With the police, everything must be documented and noted down, to be referenced later. My placement taught me to keep track of everything and organise everything in a way I could understand.
2. Sometimes you have to work alone
The second lesson I learnt from my placement was how to work individually and take initiative. Being a police officer requires you at times to take charge and lead a situation.
I must talk on the radio to force control, which all officers on the channel can hear. Whilst this can be nerve wracking, doing so has given me a sense of fearlessness and taught me that I can do more than I originally thought.
I have learnt to be the first one on the scene and to approach everything head on. This applies to everything now, not just policing.
3. Confidence and development
The third thing I got out of my placement ties into this: confidence. I am much more confident in my everyday life now; I talk to people and make conversation in a variety of scenarios. My placement has taught me to open myself up.
Another positive that I took from my placement is that it is important to make myself uncomfortable. Getting out your comfort zone is important to grow and develop as a student and person, my placement was the perfect opportunity for this.
I never realised how timid and quiet I was until I did this role. It helped me to become comfortable with a variety of things.
4. Making friends and connections
Finally, I really enjoyed the general aspect of the team. I loved my training and the teams I have worked in as they gave me such a unique opportunity to work and be with people who I never would have never typically. I’ve made some friends I’ll keep for life.
Overall, my placement was great, and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it, so it’s important to choose something that will benefit you. It may seem easy to choose something that won’t require a lot of work, but I have enjoyed every difficult aspect of my role and have become a much better person for doing so.
Caleb studies at ARU in Chelmsford. Find out more about Policing and Criminal Justice, and other degree courses, at one of our Open Days.