When starting the journey in April 2011, it was principally driven by the fact that I was seriously lacking in talent and the chances of injury and/or expensive encounters with the gendarmerie were pretty high. There's no need to go over old ground as the journey so far has been reported in the blog since that initial assessment where Philip was able to confirm that I would indeed benefit from mentoring using the UK Police Roadcraft System (my mates were far less diplomatic!).
Apr 2011 - Initial Assessment - Philip's expression nearly made me pee myself!
Eight months after joining, I passed the Advanced Roadcraft Test after a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Serious doubts as to whether I'd ever be good enough. Well, we made it but by then, it became pretty obvious that no matter what a person does in life, learning never stops. Progressing onto Observer (mentor) training was a great way to build further skills as well as paying it forward for all the time and effort from others which had helped me to become a better rider. That took the best part of another year to pass and then it was on to Senior Observer after a couple of years of building experience. A lot of the learning has also spilled over into my personal life, especially interpersonal stuff. A real life example of win-win! Now it all starts again with another round of intensive learning but to be honest, would we really want it any other way? Retirement sure doesn't mean taking it easy!
Dec 2012 - Just passed my Observer Test and have dust in the eye (well, maybe a teardrop)
Mar 2017 - Out for a brisk social run with other Observers
Interestingly, a comment made by Dan Bateman, a training manager at Team Oregon in the USA when I passed my Advanced Test in 2011 still stands out as much as it did at the time. He said,
"Also remember that you will forever be known differently now. It is a tremendous responsibility to always reflect the proper ideals"
It's something I'm acutely aware of and that's going to be even more important now. The hooligan tendencies haven't entirely disappeared and I hope I can live up to the standards!
Arrested whilst loitering outside a country toilet!
(Steve is a police instructor and fellow IAM member)