Royal Air Force Air Cadets from the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing have just returned from what has been described as a “Blue Light” camp at the Defence School of Policing and Guarding at Southwick Park, near Portsmouth. ( 31 Jul – 7 Aug 21).
Thirty-One 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 seventh time the establishment had hosted an Air Cadet camp for members of the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing.
The camp’s 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 weeklong 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 Southwick Park camp was significantly different to a normal camp on a RAF station, and we were indeed fortunate to have the stations Deputy Air Cadet Liaison Officer, Cpl Leon Wilton RAFP assigned to us for the entire week – and he was an excellent role model for the cadets throughout the camp.
The week started with and introduction to the RAF Police and a drill session with a qualified Drill Instructor, and a practice muster parade and this was followed by an actual muster parade the next day. The police training undertaken by the cadets also included visits to Southwick Park’s mock Police station, 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 and using computer simulators to see what the X-ray machines can really do with a testing exercise. The cadets also spent a whole morning undergoing CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) training that covered many aspects of this specialist role, from collecting samples, fingerprinting and DNA to photography – a visit they all found exceptionally interesting as they were dressed in full PPE.
The cadets enjoyed a substantial session of Personal Safety Training, (self-defence and arrest procedures with batons, cuffs etc), and were shown how to search rooms and interview suspects and indeed to do so under video conditions – all these activities were high on the cadets best liked activities. The cadets had every day filled full of new and exciting activities. Off station visits were not allowed this year but that was replaced with Fish supper and pizza nights as well as using the facilities of the station’s welfare facility. No one was bored!
This was a very different camp to an annual camp on an RAF station (and their accommodation was probably the best I have seen – single rooms and a kitchen for each wing of 6 rooms). The same as the phase 2 recruits in blocks all round them. Everything the cadets undertook was activities that the phase 2 recruits undertake in their 26 week course. They even took part in a graduation parade for an intake of recruits and met the RAF Provost Marshall Gp Capt D Wilkinson RAFP. The cadets will not forget this camp.
The Air Cadet Camp Commandant Sqn Ldr Bryan Coats said. “This was a valuable opportunity for the RAF Police and Royal Military Police to dispel any preconceived ideas anyone had about the branch – and they certainly did that. It was a full week programme – with no gaps, and I have no doubt cadets will have learnt a great deal, and really enjoyed many parts of the activities. I thank the ACLO and the establishment for hosting us – and will not forget them. This was only the 7th ever ATC camp at the centre, and hopefully because of the total success of the week, there may be others. I know that there are many of the cadets who attended this year now seriously considering a career in the Service Police. I feel this was the best camp so far, as they all keep surprising us by building on the previous camps programme which for all made this a tremendous success”