There comes a time after every Police officer has gone through training school that they turn up on day one with their new team. They will find that they'll actually spend more time awake with these people than virtually everyone else in their lives until they eventually find some kind of work/life balance. Most will be aware that they need to prove themselves to their new colleagues, regardless of what experience they have already outside the job or what level of respect they think they have already earned in their few short months.
Within hours of meeting my first team I found myself locked in the back of the new station van, and feeling like a bit of a plank. After making everyone a brew as payment for my foolishness in allowing myself to be locked up, I had my first sit down meeting with my new Sergeant. I'd met him a couple of times whilst at training school, when I moved my kit into my new locker and that morning on my first proper parade briefing. Apart from niceties, we hadn't really had a proper conversation yet. There was considerably more laughter and piss taking at parade than I had come to expect after the 'mock briefings' we had done at training school, but I was soon to learn that 'Sanford in Westshire' was more than a world removed from real policing.
He invited me into his office, closed the door and sat down. After an extremely uncomfortable and piercing stare that felt like it lasted a lifetime he said* -
"Welcome to the team, we've all worked together for a good few years, the guys will look after you if you do your fair share and get stuck in. I only have a few things I want to say to you, they are basically my ground rules and everyone else on the team knows them and follows them so I'm not asking anything of you that I wouldn't do myself or ask anyone else to do. First and foremost, forget everything you learned at training school with the exception of the law, you'll come to find which pieces of legislation you'll need to know inside out and which ones you'll never use but the statutes are just extra tools in the box, we'll teach you how to be a Policeman.
This is a hard city with lots of extremely hard people in it and we have to Police some of the things we deal with equally as hard. Watch your colleagues and learn, if you try any of that role play stuff, you'll end up getting your head kicked in and I'm not a big fan of the vending machine tea at A&E. If we give some of these people an inch then they will take a mile, if they don't do what we're telling them to then they get nicked, no second or third warnings, no compromises. 90% of the rest of the people are honest and hardworking and expect nothing but honesty and courtesy in return, but always watch your back.
Always keep one ear on the radio, listen to what jobs are coming out, listen to where people are getting sent to and where your colleagues are checking people. Contrary to popular belief things rarely just happen and if we're being sent to the same addresses or the same pubs then something is going to kick off sooner or later. I will occasionally ask you who's doing what and where, if you don't know then I'll want a bloody good explanation. As you'll come to hear, when something goes wrong and someone needs assistance you're only really going to get a road, shop or pub name and I expect you to know roughly which one it is so we can get there and help them out.
I want you to volunteer for bodies and get stuck in, we have all been in your position before and I know full well how much evidence you need to get to have your PDP (personal development profile) signed off, your tutor will help you get that in no time, but even if you've dealt with something before I expect you to put up for it if you're around, and I will know if you are.
Be nosey, that's what you get paid for, if you don't like the look of someone then talk to them, if you're still not happy then spin (search) them. The hairs on the back of your neck stand up for a reason, you just won't know what that reason is to start with, so do some digging and find out.
These are my three rules of Coppering, follow them at everything you do and you won't go far wrong.
1) Believe no one. Whether intentionally or not, people lie and you'll hardly ever hear 100% of the truth from anyone as most won't want to get themselves in trouble, even if they never actually will. Ask questions and you'll soon get the answers you need.
2) Assume nothing. Never take anything for granted, especially as the quiet ones are usually the ones with the blade or psychotic tendency that you never saw coming.
3) Check everything. If you're the OIC (officer in the case) of a job you need to know it inside out as you'll look like a fool in the box if you don't know something, also never assume that someone looked in the bin in the garden, they might not have, if you're unsure check it.
Last but not least, I take my tea white with one sugar and preferably with a custard cream or two if there's some in the box. See you later on in the bins (custody), have a good shift"
Believe no one, assume nothing, check everything. The 3 rules have saved my neck - quite literally - on more than a few occasions, both out on my tod and in court!!
*obviously not verbatim given it was a few years ago, but the the main bulk is there!