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Inside Out: Surprising Stories, Familiar Places

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   Inside Out - North West: Monday 13th January 2003


Tony Morris and a trainee police officer at Sandford
ON THE BEAT| Tony Morris joins trainee Tony Spleen for some exercises

Deep in the heart of Cheshire, there’s a 'village' that has uncountable incidents of petty theft, domestic disputes and public disorder. Drink drivers and shoplifters freely roam the streets.

Unbelievably, the police officers of 'Sandford' actively encourage this behaviour.

This is because 'Sandford' isn’t a real village.

It is part of Bruche training centre, where the North West police trainees are faced with the kind of incidents that they'’ll have to deal with on the beat.


Sergeant Danielle Frelaney
Sergeant Danielle Freaney at the Bruche training centre

Community Diversity Sergeant Danielle Freaney works on the training programme.

She says, "The police officers get used to being in situations where they have to consider what powers they are using."

"It’s a safe environment where they can learn and make mistakes."

"They will get feedback and learn from it."

Let’s pretend

Under the guidance of Sergeant Freaney, new recruits such as Tony Spelman (pictured above) attend Bruche for 15 weeks of intensive training.

They then join one of the North West’s police forces.

Some of the course is classroom based, but it’s during their last week of training that the trainees are really challenged.

They must take part in a series of realistic role play exercises, designed to reflect the incidents they’ll face on the beat.

The role plays re-create:

  • Traffic accidents
  • Football hooliganism
  • Stopping and searching burglars

Community involvement

Bruche Training Facts

Women make up 25 per cent of new recruits.

Around 1800 trainees attend every year.

Fictitious 'Sandford' covers only one square mile.

Seven main police forces send their trainees to Bruche including Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire.

Members of the local community don’t miss out on the fun.

They are recruited to act out the roles of criminals and innocent bystanders in role plays.

Tony Chadwick has been a community volunteer at fictitious Sandford for 10 years.

His ‘day job’ is with the fire brigade, but he’s perfected the art of the irate member of the public.

He takes his ‘acting’ role very seriously to make sure the trainees are as prepared as possible for the real world.

Ready for action

One person who has been subjected to Tony’s wrath is P. C. Tony Spelman.

Inside Out witnessed P.C. Spelman practising his public order skills with a crowd of convincing ‘football hooligans’.

Police officers
Police Constables leave Bruche ready for action

Contemplating his days tackling real crime, PC Spelman says, "Everyone gets nervous."

"But it is channeling that, using the nerve and adrenaline to good effect."

Sergeant Freaney is convinced that the make-believe village tucked away near the M6 has helped to make him well equipped to do that.

"I look forward to the challenge," says the new PC Spelman, who is now all kitted-up and eagerly anticipating his policing career.

See also ...


On the rest of the web
Centrex - UK police training
Cheshire police authority

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

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