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'You can't train by taking the softly, softly approach'

An anonymous officer, having passed out of Garnerville in the past 10 years, hits out at damning report into police training

Published 08/11/2016

What do people want from their police? Do they want officers wrapped in cotton wool saying they may not go to a job because they may get hurt?

Garnerville is the ideal training ground for PSNI officers.

What was disappointing about this report is senior officers took notice of it, saying changes would be made.

Instead they should have said, 'this is our way of working - you may not agree but it works for us'.

The training college develops officers that are well prepared and focused to be able to deal with the demands of the job.

I've had to deal with drink-drivers, fist fights, people - young girls - trying to take their life.

How do you prepare for that in training?

You can't by taking the softly, softly approach.

Officers need to know how to deal with every scenario and they need to know that their decisions have consequences which can be wide-ranging.

Training at Garnerville is second to none. Practicals are fantastic. They use actors that are ex-police and so good at recreating real-life incidents.

It has changed and moved with the times. It is so different to what it was 10 years ago and that's what it needs to do for a modern policing force.

It is very far from military. Things are done at times with a joke, but the point is we need officers ready for any situation and can handle different types of people. Work as a PSNI officer is not all cotton wool and fluff.

We can't have officers thinking they are entitled to say 'I think not' when it comes to difficult calls. You just don't have that option.

Officers had their heads in their hands going 'here we go again' when we saw the headlines around this report. It talks of a nasty regime, with edge and discipline.

Officers running in their uniform? When and where do they think crime happens? When you are in your trainers?

Garnerville is challenging and not easy for recruits. But then police work is challenging and not easy for officers.

Not only do we need a PSNI with a backbone, but we also need to have officers with a backbone."

As told to Jonny Bell

Belfast Telegraph

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