Police recruits put through their paces before college
Becoming a police officer takes more than perfecting a steely stare and looking good in blue.
Every Tuesday morning, hopefuls go through a series of academic and physical tests at Auckland Police Recruitment in Greenlane.
And every Thursday morning, those who passed are put through their paces at the Auckland showgrounds, vaulting over walls, pushing trailers and dragging dead weights.
Then it’s 19 weeks of training at the Police College in Wellington.
Physical education officer James Campbell is one of four trainers who take recruits through the physical competency test.
Sworn police officers also have to pass the test every two years.
“It’s all about how we manage them. We warm them up properly, have a good stretch and take them through the skills first. Safety is the main thing.”
The obstacle course also shows how well the recruits complete the challenges under pressure.
Recruiting seminars run every Monday night from 7pm at the Greenlane station and every second week around the rest of Auckland.
Inspector Gary Allcock says numbers are increasing, with 57 people attending the first seminar of the year on January 19, about 30 more than last year.
“There were 110 people at the south Auckland one on the Tuesday night and 103 people at Henderson on the Wednesday night and it’s been like that ever since.”
About 10 percent of those people go on to be successful police college graduates, he says.
Mr Allcock says the television recruitment campaign is getting the message out and will be helped by a new reality show about police, fire and ambulance staff called Emergency Heroes, set to screen later this year.
Police are also working with Unitec to provide a pre-entry course for people worried about the academic testing part of recruitment.
“Most of these people are then able to come into the recruiting course.”
There are also English language courses where applicants are introduced to police jargon and report writing.
For those not ready for formal recruitment, there’s also a pre-college employment programme that involves work at police stations and gives would-be recruits the chance to brush up on necessary skills.
Mr Allcock says policing is not the job for everyone.
Successful applicants need to have good coping skills, a support network of family and friends and be able to switch off at the end of the day.
“It can be stressful and you don’t want to have that stress at home.”
For more information on joining the police, go to www. newcops.co.nz or phone 0800 NEW COPS (0800-6392677).
Tall order: Rory Williams takes a leap at the wire fence in the obstacle course.