Posts Tagged ‘Bramshill’

English: Bush Search and Rescue volunteers bei...

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Does your SIO (Senior Investigating Officer) decide where to conduct searches as part of their investigation and if so on what basis?  Are they trained in the latest search techniques?  Have they experience of conducting many searches successfully?

The chances are that if they make the decision alone, they’ll base it on gut feeling or for the lucky (or unlucky, depending upon your yardstick) few, on experience.  There’s no need however to take this burden on themselves.

Did you know that they have access to specialist advisors called PoLSAs or Police Search Special Advisers?  In fact, every police officer has access to one.  It’s not about rank; it’s about the job at hand.

PoLSAs are graduates of the Police National Search Centre (PNSC), which was set up after the Brighton Bombing in 1984.  It is based at the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) Bramshill, Hampshire and its role is to turn out experts at searching places and premises, trained by both the military and the police.

The PNSC delivers a range of specialist courses in search and security. After training, students are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge required to plan and conduct efficient and effective searches in order to:

  • Gain intelligence
  • Obtain evidence for prosecutions
  • Assist in countering terrorism
  • Tackle criminality, by depriving them of their resources and opportunities
  • Locate vulnerable missing people
  • Protect potential targets and key events

The PoLSA course is of 17 days duration and upon passing it, a police search adviser is capable of planning, conducting and controlling counter-terrorism, crime and missing person’s searches.   A PoLSA is widely recognised as the most appropriate person to give advice and guidance in relation to searches.

So the next time your SIO needs searches conducting, don’t leave them to sort it out themselves.  Let them co-opt a PoLSA onto the enquiry.  It should give them the best places to search to help find the victim, suspect or evidence.  It might also bring your story to a more rapid conclusion so you might want to use the PoLSA for a bit of conflict with the SIO instead.  The choice is yours.

Don’t forget to book your place on the Crime Fiction – Making it Real weekend workshop March 2012

English: Picture of Bramshill House (now a pol...

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Only 40% of Chief Superintendents that apply to go on the National Strategic Command course at the National Policing Improvement Agency‘s (NPIA), National College of Police Leadership at Bramshill, Hampshire manage to get through the pre-selection process and onto the course.


Successful completion of the course is a pre-requisite of them gaining promotion to Assistant Chief Constable (ACC and the Association of Chief Police Officer (ACPO) ranks).


In the old days, much of the 9 week course was spent looking at the management of a Force and its operational issues from a strategic point of view.  This year however, the changing economy, harsh cuts in public spending and a reducing workforce has led to the course being adapted to help equip the chief officers of the future with the skills they’ll need to manage their Force through further hard and lean times to come.


The current 34 delegates from around the country spend two-weeks on Exercise Willow and are posed difficult and complex questions by others including forces such as Hertfordshire, Northumbria, Warwickshire and West Mercia along with all of the Welsh forces.


In some cases, these are real-life problems being faced by those forces.  The delegates are supported in their problem solving by representatives from the superintendents Association, Police Federation, Unison, Black Police Association, Gay Police Association and the Association of Special Constabulary Chief Officers.


The four-candidate syndicates then have to provide an explanation for their decisions and thinking around issues such as outsourcing and collaboration to a panel that consists of a Chief Constable, members of their command team, a member of the Police Authority and a HM Inspector of Constabularies HMIC).


Each of the delegates quickly realises there is a significant difference between running their own department or Basic Command Unit and managing a whole force.  In addition, when they do reach the ACPO ranks, they also have a national ACPO portfolio to manage.


So it’s no surprise really that a Chief superintendent with a “good old coppers” background should be seen as a different animal when they get back from their Strategic Command course.  Once they were down the pub with the lads, bumping their gums about the Police Authority and politicians and the next, they seem to be in bed with them, sharing their views and aspirations; turning their backs on “good, hard-working coppers”.


No wonder conflict can manifest between the gritty operational investigator and the desk bound political “puppet” they once considered a good egg.   The trick is to use it in your novels and have a reason for its existence.  Hope this provides an idea of where it can come from.

Don’t forget to book your place on the Crime Fiction – Making it Real weekend workshop March 2012