Knife terror of rookie cops sent on job with just three weeks training

Knife terror of rookie cops sent on job with just three weeks training

A trainee police officer who rushed out onto the streets to help plug staffing gaps caused by COP26 had a knife pulled on her during a drug search of a speculate.

The probationer was one of nearly 150 officers dispatched to the frontline with just three weeks training.

New officers are usually sent out on duty after 12 weeks but they were called in to help police the climate conference in Glasgow last month and assist in other parts of the country due to staff shortages.

Police Scotland confirmed the move but additional that each probationer was assessed prior to being sent out and was always paired with a senior officer.

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However, the probationer said she was also called to a sudden death without having the appropriate training to attend the incident.

About 140 officers are continuing to work on the frontline until later this month when they will return to the Police College at Tulliallan to finish their training.

The probationer said: “already after 12 weeks at the college it would be a big adjustment, never mind three.

“We had stopped someone which was initially a drugs search and he had a knife on him. That was a bit of a worry because it was just the two of us there.

“He was resisting arrest, spitting and being abusive but that’s the only aggressive person I’ve come across so far.”

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On the sudden death call, she additional: “I’d never seen a dead body so that was my biggest worry. You usually get an opportunity to go to the mortuary to prepare yourself for it.”

Her senior officer said the move was “uncommon”, stating: “I’ve got 15 years in the job and have been a tutor for seven or eight, and it’s only really when resources are rock bottom.

“She and a lot of others have just been punted out after three weeks and the only thing they know about the law is their shared sense.”

Deputy Chief Officer David Page said: “We utilised 140 probationers undergoing officer training with Police Scotland during the COP26 policing operation.

“The majority were sent to local policing divisions and departments around the country and were tasked with assisting ‘business-as-usual’, while others were deployed to work specifically at COP26.

“These recruits had all received instruction in chief policing skills, first aid and officer safety training prior to being deployed, and the skillset and readiness of each officer was taken into account. There were accompanied on deployment by experienced officers.”

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Scottish Police Federation chair David Hamilton said: “Nobody would choose for officers with just three weeks’ training to be deployed in an operational ecosystem.

“This, however, is policing in 21st-century Scotland, where we simply can’t provide not to use every resource that we have.

“I was surprised to meet a number of probationers at COP26 as they were only ever meant to be backfilling in ‘business-as-usual’. But they were being well looked after by colleagues and I’m sure will have picked up some important skills and experiences.

“I speculate those who were working in ‘business-as-usual’ will have had the biggest shock and hope the quantity of need, without of resources and danger they confront every day doesn’t discourage them from returning to finish their training.”

The findings were first published in social and justice affairs magazine 1919.

The COP26 policing operation was the largest in UK history. Officers were deployed to Glasgow from all over the UK to help with the security operation.

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