Royal Air Force Air Cadets from 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron joined others from the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing for what has been described as an "Arresting" camp at the Defence School of Policing and Guarding at Southwick Park.
Twenty-seven Air Cadets and staff from the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing took part in a unique and extremely interesting camp at the Tri Service Police Training Centre at Southwick Park. This was the first time the establishment had ever hosted an Air Cadet camp and as such, another first for the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing.
The camps programme was varied and covered many aspects of the RAF Police Training delivered by the Southwick Park Defence School of Policing and Guarding (DSPG). The training programme also included additional visits to RAF Odiham and the Royal Military Police (RMP) Close Protection Training Unit at Longmoor. The week long camp certainly opened all our eyes to the wide variety of work undertaken by the RAF Police and RMP together with the extra opportunities to specialise after completing phase two training.
The week started with a visit to Fort Nelson (A Napoleonic Fort which overlooks Portsmouth), but to their surprise the cadets were whisked back to the American Civil war by hundreds of re-enactment volunteers who had set up both Union and Confederate camps and were practicing for a mock battle.
On their return to DSPG Southwick Park the Cadets started their Police training with some short lessons on law, (both civil and military), including when and how to conduct an arrest. The cadets then went on to witness phase two recruits undergoing Personal Safety training, effecting some extremely physical arrests against heavily padded instructors.
The cadets also had an insight into the physical demands of Police training when they undertook the RAF fitness and swimming tests, many of them passed the required standards with some obtaining exceptionally high scores. The cadets also received some very useful IT Protective Security instruction which highlighted some of the security issues associated with using social media such as facebook etc, this really caught the attention of the cadets and reminded them of the need to ensure that their security settings are updated regularly.
The police training undertaken by the cadets also included visits to Southwick Park’s mock Police station, Court Martial suite (a mock courtroom) and an Airport Security check-in training facility complete with x-ray machines etc. The Airport Security check-in proved to be a highly amusing activity with each cadet having a go at the different aspects of the check-in process, one switched on cadet even arrested a passenger who had a revolver in his bag, then seized it and let him go through!
The camp also visited the RMP Close Protection Unit at Longmoor where they train service bodyguards (Who look after all VIP's abroad, from Royals downwards), and their impressive range of weapons and vehicles. The Cadets were shown some interesting unarmed combat moves and had a go themselves against rubber dummies trying to attack the VIP they were tasked to protect. Both RMP and RAF Police officers who have completed the Close Protection course are now serving all over the world in this extremely dangerous and specialist role.
In addition to their police training the cadets also had a day visit to RAF Odiham the home of the RAF’s heavy lift Chinook helicopter. Although we were not lucky enough to get a flight - the days programme was extremely interesting and we all had the chance to get close and personal with the Chinook and the various weapons and survival equipment it carries. The policing theme of the week continued during the RAF Odiham trip with a visit to the RAF Police Dog unit. Needless to say the cadets didn’t get too close to the RAF Police dogs, with forty-two teeth, even the RAF Police describe their dogs as being a weapon that’s dangerous at both ends.
Add to this a half day of fieldcraft training and a night-ex with RMP and RAF Police instructors the cadets had every day of the camp filled with action packed activities. The evenings were also enjoyable with trips out to a Bowling Ally, the Cinema and a last night party quiz with Pizza.
The Air Cadet Camp Commandant, Squadron Leader Bryan Coats said, “This camp was an amazing opportunity for our cadets to experience the phase two trade training undertaken by the RMP and RAF Police. It was a full week programme, with no gaps, and I have no doubt that the cadets will have learnt a great deal and have really enjoyed the activities”.
“This was a very different camp to a normal annual camp on an RAF station. I think everyone will testify that it was a tiring week as there was so much going on, an excellent camp, one that the cadets will remember for many years to come”.
“On behalf of all the Cadets and Staff, I would like to thank the Air Cadet Liaison Officer (ACLO) together with all the other instructors and DSPG Southwick Park for all the hard work and effort they have all put into hosting this truly outstanding camp - we will not forget them. This was the first ever Air Cadet camp at the Defence School of Policing and Guarding, and hopefully as a result of the total success of this week, there may be others”.
More photographs from the DSPG Southwick Park Camp
Training for a Career in the RAF Police