PC Lauren Clayton on how training school prepares you for the job

"...it becomes quite exciting because you can shout up and go to incidents and feel like people can really look to you for help."

An officer who was initially nervous making the leap to being a PC has spoken about how the training students receive and tuition on the job inspires confidence.

PC Lauren Clayton first joined as a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) in 2021, applying also for a PC role at the same time through the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA).

After spending around eight months as a PCSO, Lauren got the opportunity to move on to the PCDA. This meant heading to the training centre, something which all officers complete before heading out into the roles and different areas, to ensure they are prepared for the job.

She said: “Before I was a police officer, I had just finished sixth form and I was looking at different careers.

“I applied for the PCSO role and for the PCDA role. I got an interview for both, but the PCSO one came in a bit quicker, so I got this opportunity which I really enjoyed and I learned so much because I’d had no policing background before, other than some family in the police. I’d heard little bits about it, but not much at all.

“This year, I moved on to the PCDA programme, went to the training centre and I’m now a police officer. I’ve been on section since March and I’m really enjoying it.”

As part of the training centre programme, there a number of assessments and tasks which student officers complete.

Whilst she had gained some experience as a PCSO, the prospect of making the leap to being PC still hit home for Lauren, a job she is now thoroughly enjoying. She says her boost in confidence was thanks to the training and the tutorship she received.

On the training centre experience, Lauren said: “There’s people from all sorts of backgrounds there. It’s the place where you get all your fundamental knowledge, the legislation you need, the practical skills you need and the knowledge on the processes for when you’re attending incidents.

“Then you have role-plays and opportunities to practice these skills in action, where you receive feedback, and you learn loads from those. They’re all done in uniform and they’re all treated as real incidents, so you do get a proper feel for it.

“There’s officer safety training as well. I know some people might be worried about the physical side of things, but you do get training in that and how to use all your equipment.

“You do scenarios as well which are really fun to do, which you also need to pass. If you don’t pass though, there is the option to get more training and more help if you need it, so the staff are there to help you.

As Derbyshire Police welcome a host of new officers and further opportunities, she is now encouraging anyone who is at all interested in policing, no matter their confidence levels, to give it a go.

“Going out for the first time, I was nervous as being a PC is quite different to being a PCSO, so even though I’d got some prior knowledge and experience, it was still like a whole new world.

“You do have your tutor with you though and you can look to them for advice, and you build your confidence throughout the ten weeks you’re with them.

“By the time you’re at the end and if your Sergeant is saying yes, you can go out on your own, it becomes quite exciting because you can shout up and go to incidents and feel like people can really look to you for help.

“If you feel like you need more confidence, you just have to express this to the trainers and the assessors.

“They want to help people and they want to see you succeed.

“Also, don’t be put off if you’ve got no experience of policing. There’s lots of people who are coming through now who don’t know anyone in the police, or who haven’t had experience in the police before, who go through the tutorship and become brilliant officers.”