This is the official blog of ex-Sgt Ellie Bloggs. I was a real live police constable then sergeant for twelve years, on the real live front line of England. I'm now a real live non-police person. All the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't (or didn't) pay my salary.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

The "P" Word

There comes a moment in every PC's career when they start to consider Promotion.

For some, it is in the twilight years, when they tot up their pension and decide they could do with a few extra quid (the police pension is two-thirds of your finishing salary after 30 years' service).

For others, like yours truly, it's that I've found myself looking at sergeant after sergeant thinking, "I wouldn't have done that".

I am led to believe that there are jobs in the world where you prove yourself through months or years of good work, then apply for a higher pay grade when a space comes along. Or you might even just be approached for the spot by your boss. The police, however, is a Public Sector employer, therefore has to be fair and even-handed when it comes to promotion. This means that no matter how incompetent or ineffective you may be, you have as good a chance as anyone else at getting promoted.

First you have to pass the dreaded OSPRE exam. This involves shelling out hundreds of quid on the latest "can't fail" textbooks, online question packages and one-on-one-hundred seminars, all designed to fool you into thinking there is a substitute for just learning the syllabus word for word. If you pass the exam, you have a lengthy and tortuous application form to complete, followed by an interview board. The process including revision is likely to take over a year.

Of course, no matter how well you pass the exam, you have very little hope of passing the interview if you haven't had any "Acting" experience. This is when you are given the job of sergeant overnight (along with the pay-rise) and can do it indefinitely without having to do any of the above steps.

The whole thing is repeated to get to inspector level, after which you enter a more streamlined process involving working nets and kissing things.

Life would be so much easier if it was like in Starship Troopers: the sergeant in front of you has his head blown off and someone turns to you and says, "You're it". The guy in the long mac who reads the enemy's mind would be handy too.

Copyright of PC Bloggs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have decided to have a crack at the exam this year. I'm shelling out 0 pounds and doing 0 revision. I don't actually want to be promoted yet but want the option in the future should I change my mind and have the exam already done. If I pass, great. If I fail which is much more likely it hasn't cost me anything, and even gets me a day off normal work. a win win situation. where do I sign up for the same next year?

25 February, 2008 00:35

Anonymous notellin said...

You just quoted Starship Troopers and with above average ability. This suggests you have watched it more than once.

You become more of a heroine every day.

25 February, 2008 01:21

Anonymous Anonymous said...

what ? no Ospre part duex ? has your force got rid of that sham of an examination of your core skills where you solve the problems of the known universe in 7 minutes playlets , watched by a no neck career training school bod . Good if it has . correct about the interview, though more of the same buzz word bingo I'm afraid .

25 February, 2008 10:46

Blogger Metcountymounty said...

I used to get told I looked like Doogie Hauser (the same guy who played wierd jedi ferret man) until I joined up and started working shifts, eating anything I could get hold of to help me stay awake and training on my days off with mentalist ex-military public order blokes on my new team.

As for promotion? I think I'll leave it another ten before I go for it, there is plenty to specialise in and have fun with if you want to and work for it.

25 February, 2008 11:14

Anonymous TheBinarySurfer said...

Seeing "starship troopers" more than once...

You saw it here first folks - proof that the stress of the job drives people irrevocably insane eventually!

25 February, 2008 11:56

Blogger Metcountymounty said...

the first one great as a complete no-brainer... I defy anyone to sit through starship troopers 2 more than once without wanting to gouge out their own eyes!!

25 February, 2008 13:32

Blogger PC Bloggs said...

I disagree it's a no-brainer. Quite satirical actually, if you can overlook the size of that girl's lips. (Am so glad I am able to provoke such high-brow discussion!)

25 February, 2008 14:02

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who was the bloke who could read minds ?

25 February, 2008 14:20

Blogger Metcountymounty said...

He was the one who could make a ferret chase around after imaginery bugs

25 February, 2008 16:28

Blogger Sergeant Simon said...

I went for it for the first reason.

I hope noone is thinking the same of me.

25 February, 2008 17:30

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recall the Metropolitan Police getting rid of part 2 but not sure if any other forces ditched it. My force requires you to have part one and two and then a decent amount of acting sergeant experience before you go for the board. The boards are infrequent (once every two to three years).

I haven't taken the exams but got made APS in 2006 after turning it down the year before. Basically our officer who was p1 and p2 qualified was off long term sick.
I've just seen a very good friend (and officer) be successful on the board and it got me thinking "I'll fancy some of that too".
Problem is, the one year mentioned by Bloggsy is nowhere near how long it takes people to get promoted in my force. If you passed the exams, acted up and took the board one after another, it'd still take near enough three years.

25 February, 2008 19:52

Anonymous pcR said...

They won't let anyone act up in our force at the moment due to "budgetary constraints".
Unless it's friday night and the proper sgts have a date and there is no-one else left.
Far sighted, huh?

25 February, 2008 20:19

Anonymous Anonymous said...

25 February, 2008 21:59

Blogger blueknight said...

My fear is that 'dark forces' within (this) govt will tinker with the promotion system to ensure that politically correct 'yes-persons' are the only ones to get promoted.
If you go for it Bloggs, I wish you luck. But get in quick because from what I have seen of your posts, you may have a bit too much common sense....

25 February, 2008 22:53

Anonymous TheBinarySurfer said...

I'd steer clear of the promotion route if i were you Ms Bloggs - you have to kneel and pucker up for the outstretched hand...

Just hazarding a guess here but from your posts you don't strike me as the kiss-the-ring (no pun intended) type...

26 February, 2008 08:23

Blogger Whichendbites said...

And after all that, if you don't know the steps to the corporate two-step you got absolutely no chance.
Putting aside my cynical hat, there are occasional examples where the trend is bucked but by & large, you have to fit into the mould to even stand a chance.

26 February, 2008 15:01

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmm, the great promotion debate. I have six and a bit years in and have just suffered the hell of an acting Sgt with 3 years in the job (18mths of those on CID, yawn) and the second with 4 years in, a 'Temporary Sgt.' At least the TPS has a modicum of common sense about him and has worked response his whole time.....the APS....I totalled he's done 9 months on response after training and courses...BUT HE CAN PASS AN EXAM, WHOPPEEE!! Thankfully he was secreted back 'upstairs' just prior to the shift deciding to cuff and tape him inside the Inspectors locker....

26 February, 2008 19:46

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do the Mets still have 'duty training days' when they are given tutelage in the exam (no trying to study after earlies or before nights as we had to in the neighbouring forces). Passed the exam the second time (total of 3 years study) but saw the way the wind was blowing and declined to take PtII of OSPRE as I felt I would be happier as a career PC. The difference in pension was fairly substantial but I had a much happier career.

26 February, 2008 22:11

Blogger Sergeant Simon said...

blueknight- it already is that! The promotion board requires evidence that you are capable of acting up in the next rank.

But the evidence they are looking for is one eighth thinking on your feet, dealing with serious jobs etc, calm head and all that: but the other 7/8ths is all the community and customer focus / race and diversity stuff.

27 February, 2008 14:25

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