ON THE BEAT: With Inspector Jim Tyner
This week I thought I would share with you a letter I recently sent to our new recruits:
Dear Jaki, Marc and Ben,
It is with profound gratitude that I welcome you: South Holland’s three newest police officers. I am grateful that you have answered the call to service and have joined the ranks of Lincolnshire’s finest.
You have now completed the first week of your Student Officer programme at Headquarters. You have been issued your uniform and handcuffs and have taken the oath of the Office of Constable. This ‘office’ is not a physical building: The Office of Constable has evolved over the centuries and is unique because it is the duty of police officers to protect life and property, preserve order, and prevent the commission of offences and, where an offence has been committed, to take measures to bring the offender to justice.
The high standards and restrictions are also placed on our professional and private lives. Police officers of every rank still hold the Office of Constable.
That credit-card sized bit of plastic with your photo on it isn’t simply an identification card: it’s called a warrant card. It is proof of your authority.
It may seem light, but will weigh heavy in your pocket. It means that, on duty or off duty, you can never again cross over to the other side of the road for safety. You will go forward towards danger when others turn away.
You have been through a rigorous selection process. Now is the time to make the most of your training. You will learn legal definitions and learn about the enormous powers that you now have: powers to stop vehicles; powers to demand breath-tests from motorists; powers to stop and search; powers to detain and arrest.
You will also have the power to use physical force to exercise these other powers. No other job has this range of powers and so, with your new-found powers, comes enormous responsibility.
You must learn to use your powers wisely, proportionately and responsibly. You must also learn to deal with broken parts of our society for which you have no legal powers but are still expected to help.
You must use your problem-solving skills. Be resolute towards wrong-doers and compassionate with victims. Do the right thing.
When you have finished your training, be ready to serve and protect the community of South Holland. Where every day brings with it responsibility to keep all of our community safe: safe from crime and safe from anti-social behaviour.
And though, in some ways, we are on the cutting edge of technology with automatic number plate readers and CCTV and mobile data technology, nothing will replace the reassurance value of your physical presence on our streets. Nothing will replace your ‘cop’s nose’; your sense of right and wrong and your eyes and ears in our towns and villages.
When you take your first steps on patrol, none of us know which paths your policing careers will take. The only thing I can guarantee is that at various times you will be spat upon, puked upon and looked down upon.
Rise above it. There are others that will look to you to make a difference in their lives at moments of crisis. Live up to that challenge.
We remain safe in South Holland because of the hard work and dedication of the men and women who report for duty every day. Much of their work is unseen.
My officers work in the twilight part of our community. They work every day in amongst the lost people of society: the shattered homes and shattered lives of our community. They work to help others at moments of personal disaster in their lives.
Now you wear the same uniform; carry the same warrant card. You are joining their ranks.
Thank you for answering the call to service. It’s a job like no other.
Best wishes and good luck.
Community Policing Inspector