Jack says: “You coppers are all the same, well, we’re not.”

 

“I’m a trainee police officer on a week’s placement… I didn’t know LandWorks despite living … I’ve got family in Totnes, so, I’ve kind of heard of LandWorks, but not exactly what they do. I did some research online and knew that there would be manual work and outdoor work and woodwork, but I didn’t quite realise how kind of open and just people, not left to their own devices, but taking the initiative, and are kind of left to do their own projects and that type of thing. I thought it would be quite … not regimented, but really supervised and it’s really not, and how open the site is. I said to Chris, they’ve not ever had anyone wander off and he said they’d be silly if they did because … and definitely talking to Matt as well, he said “well, why would you want to mess this up coming out here?”, which makes sense. The alternative is to be in Prison…

My first day I spent with Matt, who apparently has really taken to the woodwork and I think he’s being encouraged to do more of that. The team obviously acknowledge that’s what he enjoys doing. It does seem sort of tailored to each individual, which I think is great because you’re just going to get resistance otherwise. I’m sure it takes a few weeks, maybe, for them to realise what they want to do. It just seems really accommodating. I think talking to Chris for literally five minutes, you realise what the place is going to be like. It’s really … we’re here to help and do what we can for these chaps, which is great…

I always knew that everyone’s not bad. They might’ve done things that they shouldn’t have done, but I knew if you were coming to LandWorks, then you’re probably more on the side that you want to make a difference and you want to change. I presume you don’t come out here if you’re playing up in prison. So, that makes sense…

One bit I didn’t consider was the counselling side on offer, which actually makes total sense. When Chris said you guys were all having an afternoon session as well, I was like great. The things that you guys … that kind of emotional … and you’re always on. The tea-breaks and the lunch are purposely work, aren’t they, for reasons of trying to get conversation going and stuff. I think after my first day I was knackered. You know you want to start the conversation, but also, you’re really careful about certain subjects and trying to remember all that …

I think there’s a couple who still haven’t spoke to me, which is fine, I kind of expected that, and Chris did warn me. He did say “you won’t get beaten up, but some might be a bit abrasive”, but I expect that. I did expect there probably would be a couple here who see me as police, not Jack, which is what it’s going to be like all through my career…

My challenge was to try and get a conversation with a particular trainee. I’ve got another day. I’ve not had one yet. He made a joke about putting arsenic in my food, but I don’t know if that counts as a conversation. I’ve probably spoken to Matt the most, but I think he’s slightly different. He’s like “yeah, I did something wrong, I was treated really well by the police”. He took a real kind of interest in my life. I think I’m the same age as his son, so maybe there was that going on. We’ll see…

I think growing up in kind of military, there was always that you expect authority. It was never questioned, but I had no problem with that. We’ve heard stories since we’ve joined up of how individuals can let the police force down, let themselves down. You see all the horrible stories of police officers doing things they shouldn’t be doing, and I just think they’re ruining it for everyone else. It makes it hard for some people to … it kind of justifies their view, doesn’t it? You coppers are all the same, well, we’re not…”


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