Righto, let’s have some good news.

Okay. Beyond the internet frustrations, things are actually pretty good. Some of you will know that I applied to join the Police a loooong time ago. Two years now since I applied and since then I’ve been beset by delay upon delay. The upshot of that is I’m stuck doing a job which, although I’m good at it, offers almost zero satisfaction.

In April I had a final interview with the Police. They introduced this step because it had been 18 months since the assessment and, naturally, things may have changed. I’m pleased to say that I got through the interview. They took the assessment centre score, added the interview score and put us in a ‘pecking order’ from highest to lowest. Out of 80 candidates I came out as one of 24 who made it through to the next round. That is something to be happy with. The other 56 people will have been told thank you very much for your interest, but no thanks this time. I’m through. Yipee!!

But, it’s not time yet to go dancing around in a celebratory fashion. Rather than try to explain, I’ll just publish the letter for you to read:

Dear Alan,

Application for Police Constable

May I first take this opportunity to thank you for the interest you have taken in pursuit of your desire to become a Police Constable with Cleveland Police. Following your recent interview, I can advise you are one of a pool of 24 people who are now on a select list for possible recruitment into the Force.

The economic situation affecting the entire public sector, including Cleveland Police, means that I cannot provide an assurance that we will be able to recruit you into the organisation over the remaining months of the financial year. Indeed, whilst we have been subject of significant in year budget cuts this financial year, we are yet to learn the outcome of the Government’s spending review, due to take place in October 2010. I can confirm that the outlook for recruitment into the Force in the short term is likely to be bleak.

I realise that your receipt of this letter with on the one hand be considered good news, but on the other not so good and I share in your frustration. I am able to confirm however, that should Cleveland be in a position over the forthcoming 10 months (up until April 2011), to recruit police officers into the organisation, you will be included for consideration of appointment, subject of course to relevant security checks, fitness and health requirements.

Again, I am sorry to bring such mixed news to you at this time, but I do wish you well for the future and provide the following personal commitment; that I will write to you again in October 2010, advising you of developments affecting your future with Cleveland Police.

Yours sincerely,

Chief Superintendent

Good news? Goddamn right it is. I’m through as far as I can go. The only thing in my way is not of my devising.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this since I got it. 24 is an ideal class size. The first 30 weeks of a Police career is a foundation degree in Policing. I’m part of the 24 who will be recruited if the circumstances allow it.

You have to consider also, that regardless of budget cuts etc, there will be a need to new officers. Through natural attrition and retirement, there must be spaces below any imposed threshold. As my friend said to me yesterday, if they had the chance they would have taken all 80 applicants who reached the interview stage. Therefore, they must be being realistic about the chances of recruitment. They must have some idea of what they’re going to be allowed to recruit. Otherwise, why come to a figure such as 24, and not just take all 80?

I think I could probably drive myself mad thinking of the different connotations. But, one fact stands out. I made it. I’m through.