Police Constable (briefly); invaluable training for challenging situations


My basic training class at Ryton-on-Dunsmore Police Training Centre near Coventry - can you spot me, seventh from left on back row; when I voluntarily resigned (nothing untoward had happened, just in case anyone is wondering) I contacted the impressive sergeants in charge of the training - they replied saying that it was no surprise that I had left the police but had I stuck it to reach at least Inspector level, then there would have been a place for me near the top of the service (given my independent spirit, I suspect I may not have secured the highest appointments). Although my time in the police was strictly limited, it represented invaluable training for more 'challenging' situations in life, most recently, an irritating reporter.... My mother had not been happy that I joined, fearing for my safety; my father was shocked at my initial decision but was then proud - only to not being able to comprehend, as a graduate (in my day only a fraction of students reached University) that I had given up a secure, well-paid profession, having struggled so much financially all his life - belatedly, I apologise to my parents, not sticking to a career which would have resulted in a decent income. I wrote to the two sergeants in charge of my class at Ryton to say I have voluntarily resigned; they were generous enough to respond, saying that this had come as no surprise but had I stuck at it to Inspector level, there was a place for me near the top of the police service.  Whether I could have been diplomatic enough to be selected for the most senior positions, remains a big question.

Passing Out Parade inspection at Ryton-on-Dunsmore (south of Coventry) Police Training Centre by The Duke of Kent (H.R.H. Prince Edward) - he stopped and spoke to me, observing that I looked mature for my age!  Recruits for the Hertfordshire Constabulary were normally trained in Oxon or Kent but the numbers were low for a Royal Inspection, so we made up numbers with officers from West Midlands, Leicestershire etc.

My parents missed out on attending the university degree awarding ceremony at Southampton in 1980 due to me departing to join the university expedition to Ladakh, so this made up for that, to an extent - the arrangements/planning for that trip proved to be shambolic; it may well have been possible to either return from the botanical aspects of the expedition in time to attend the ceremony if in the autumn or depart afterwards. In the end, very little additional collecting was undertaken, once I was forced to depart, with the mini-ecological project virtually meaningless. I am sure my parents and those of the other 3 members of the team, would have treasured attending that degree awarding ceremony - far more important than arriving weeks earlier than needed in India (botanical collections taking place in the late summer to autumn are less common and thus contribute more). In light of the laughable arrangements the two old-hands made (utterly incompetent), the four first-timers could have done better.  The leader and co-leader, both graduates could have gone on ahead, with the third ornithologist joining later; the so-called planning involved us spitting into two anyhow. Though, of course one of the 'ladies' had the 'botanical' project (she had studied zoology) invented by the leader (I wonder why)? See: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/main/how-did-chris-chadwell-s-expeditions-begin for further details!

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