Cadets and Staff from 121 (Nuneaton) Sqn Royal Air Force Air Cadets (RAFAC) have just returned from spending a week down south at the Defence College of Policing and Guarding based at Southwick Park located just outside Portsmouth.
The Cadets and staff attended a week long camp organised by Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing (RAFAC). The camp was organised with the intention of giving both Cadets and Staff an insight into the running and training of the 3 Service Police forces, The Royal Military Police (RMP), The Royal Air Force Police (RAFP) and the Royal Navy Regulating Branch. The camp was well attended, but sadly the attendance numbers had to be limited, however 24 Cadets and 6 Staff all spent an enjoyable week learning about the role of the Police within a military environment.
Police activities during the week included subjects like Powers of Arrest, Crime Scene investigation, Self Defence, Close Protection duties and scenario based training. These went down very well and all the cadets got involved with the training. Most Cadets really seemed to enjoy the scenario based training and were surprised at some of the Staff’s acting Skills when they witnessed a fight in a Bar and a Domestic Marital argument. These scenarios looked into not just the crimes themselves but focused mainly upon the Police’s response to dealing with them.
The Camp was not all hard work and throughout the week the Team let their hair down at various points. One such R and R trip was taken after an external visit to the new Royal Naval Aircraft Carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth. The team all had a fun filled night whilst taking a relaxing break at Southend Fairground. This went down well as all the Cadets and some Staff took full use of the unlimited ride wristbands. This evening was brought to a pleasant end for the Cadets by the usual Hot Dogs and chips. It should be noted that the Staff who had also partaken of the wristbands decided to give this final phase a miss as they didn’t want to sample the said Hot Dogs twice as they already felt a little queasy after being spun around on the Waltzers.
The accommodation throughout the camp was well above the standard usually sampled on a Cadet Camp and each Cadet had his own space (Pod) which led out into a communal area. The Cadets did keep these Pods / Areas up to a very high standard throughout their stay and this was reflected in the scores of the daily room inspections which the Camps Discip’ team carried out.
During the Stay the Team were transported to RAF Odium and were given briefings about the role, and operational use of the Chinook Helicopter. Also whilst at RAF Odium the RAF Police Dog Section carried out a display and gave the Team an insight into the life of a RAF Police Dog Handler.
Southwick Park has played a significant part in world history, it was at Southwick Park that Operation Overlord was planned and given the go ahead by General Dwight D. Eisenhower. As the Cadets were informed during a presentation by a local historian, Operation Overlord was the codename used to name the D Day landings in Normandy. The actual Map used to plot this historical turn in World War 2 history is still present and has been left as it was on that day back on the 6th June 1944.
The final day of the camp was a day I think most present will never forget. The Team were transported to Longmore RMP Close protection Unit (CPU). Whilst at the RMP CPU we were briefed on the role, duties, equipment and weaponry used by the CPU. The culmination of this briefing was a live demonstration of a VIP being extracted from a hostile situation by a team of highly trained Close Protection Officers. This demonstration was carried out using live rounds. I can honestly say that in my 28 years of military service both as a RAF Policeman and a RAF VR(T) officer I have never seen any firearm being shot from the wrong end of the barrel. Due to the location and design of the live firing range this was carried out in complete safety and it really was an unforgettable experience to see the flashes from the automatic weaponry as covering fire was used to effect a safe extraction of the VIP.