A blog by Dale Craven – METPOL Team Leader at UWTSD

METPOL is a student police volunteer scheme which was set up by UWTSD, in collaboration with South Wales Police, to provide Public Service students with professional work experience and was recognised nationally through its nomination for a prestigious Lord Ferrers Award in 2015.

When we first heard that BBC Wales was coming to film at the help point, the team and I were all very excited at the thought of being part of the upcoming Police 24/7 series. The fact that we as students at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) had been thought of by BBC Wales when deciding what to film really made us feel like we were an asset to the Police and that this was going to give us potentially a wider recognition of the work we do. The two nights that the BBC Wales team spent filming with me and my team were what felt like a perfect storm, it was chaos.

 

It was a night that Wind Street was particularly busy, we spent the time going to a variety of calls one after another. This is often the case at the help point, nights can be extremely busy leaving little time for a break. I think that this really allowed the team to show the skills we have developed by working at he help point, the BBC Wales team were very taken aback by the work we actually do and the cases we deal with. We have dealt with many different instances from life threatening situation to trivial cuts and sprains.

It was quite surreal having a camera crew with us for two nights, I was wearing a microphone as I was the team leader. Initially this made me quite nervous, however as I said it was a very busy night, so I soon forgot almost that we were being filmed. The camera attracted a lot of attention when working on Wind St, occasionally making the situations even more difficult, It was defiantly a unique experience working with BBC Wales but at the same time we just got on with the task at hand working as normal. What made the nights unique was that I had to updated the crew constantly what was going on, so while leading the team and dealing with the situations, I was also relaying to the crew what we were doing and what was going to happen next. Occasionally when the were with us I had to ask the crew to take a step back due to the nature of the incident, weather if it was very personal or it was agitating the patient.

Dale (2nd from right) and the team at the Swansea Help Point

The Help point as it is now was set up by the current Police and Crime Commissioner. It is run by St John’s Ambulance, South Wales Police along with the student volunteers from UWTSD.

The Help Point opened its doors back in September 2014, opening every Wednesday and Saturday night and on other key nights including bank holidays.

Its purpose is to help vulnerable, injured and intoxicated people in the night time economy of Swansea and to date has dealt with nearly 2000 people. The role that we play as students is very involved, we spend the night on foot patrol in the area of Wind St, either looking for people who require assistance or being assigned to a job via our control centre which works with the NightNet scheme, CCTV and the Police working on Wind St.

 

Help point crew

Help point crew

The schemes developed by the Public service course and the university have been invaluable, I feel. Volunteering with the Police and Fire service, both of which I have done through the METPOL and METFIRE programs, have allowed me to develop such important skills which are vital for those interested in a Public Service job, that I feel that with out the support and dedication from the university I would not be where I am now. Throughout my time at university I have worked over 2000 voluntary hours for the Police and Fire service, giving me an insight to the careers I wanted to pursue, which is what led me to decided to apply for the role of Police Constable last year, and for which I start training on the same day the Help Point is featured on Police 24/7. I feel proud to have lead and been apart of a nationally award winning team, comprised of all students giving up their free time to work with the public sector in some challenging roles.

 

I was originally part of the the Help Point scheme run by Safe Swansea, back before the Help Point as we know it now opened. It has been a pleasure to witness and be apart of the development of such a vital scheme in Swansea’s night time economy, and to witness the success it continues to have. It was such an honour when I was asked to be a team leader at the help point I snatched up the opportunity, I haven’t looked back. I have enjoyed my time at the help point and will be very sad to be leaving such an amazing team and scheme, however I feel that the airing of Police 24/7 marks the start to an exciting chapter in my life, All of the hard work and volunteering I did during my time at UWTSD has paid off. I feel that I’ve reached my goal – it’s onwards and upwards from here!

Dale3

Filming Police 24/7 was a brilliant experience for us as students, the evenings that the crew filmed with us we dealt with such a mixture of problems and a variety of calls. It was a pleasure working with BBC Wales and Carrie’s crew, we were able to show Carrie, the producer, the wide range of issues we regularly have to deal with and we’re all looking forward to seeing the work of Help Point highlighted in Monday’s episode.