I was at Hendon recently.
It was all rather sad as it happens, looking at the Estate as it is now.
The 'Metropolitan Police Training School Hendon' is now basically in the early throes of being converted to another overpriced piece of real estate. An institution that has produced generations of coppers, policed London and kept the Metropolis safe is now a sweet little wet dream for the developers involved.They have even built a smart new building on the outskirts of the estate to flog the stuff 'off plan'.
The Hendon estate I knew ( refurbished in the 70's and known as the 'Peel Centre') is either fenced off or genteelly left to fade away pending the day the clause in the sale says the bulldozers move in...its coming soon.
The new training 'complex ' now just consists of one new building. Rumour has it that it simply does not have the capacity to take on the role of the remaining buildings which await the developers starting pistol.
A lack of forward planning? ...in this organisation? ... who'd a thunk it?
I am fortunate to have joined the MET in a different era. I know we all look back in the past and have the ' in my day' tints on the hindsight goggles but the 5 months intensive residential at Hendon and getting through it with my intake meant a lot. The camaraderie, the feeling we were all in it together, being part of something, achievement.It was studying...marching about...drill...discipline...parades... esprit de corp'... now definitely too 'militaristic' for the new age we find ourselves in.
Years back, in one of my previous posts I wondered about the trend to 'other' means of delivering training and thought the acres of Hendon's prime NW9 site (the 'jewel in the crown') was potentially up for grabs and sadly its now turned out to be true.The rump of buildings that can be associated with the MET or police function will be surrounded by a private housing estate.
New recruits and those attending courses will not recognise what was there before or likely be able to afford any of it on based on the new police contracts in place.
New recruits pay for a chunk of training by a number of private providers and achieve stage A.
Stage B, where they might actually get the hands on practical stuff is delivered in a variety of sites 'regionally' before they are put out there and basically have to get on with it. This cannot foster any sense of tradition...where we came from.... where we are going...etc. Its the METS equivalent of a 'temp agency'...bums on seats... boots on the street. Anecdotally the new recruits don't see it as a career...just a CV issue before looking to move on....
Frankly I cant blame them.
As 'Officer Dibble' I joined with a view that this was going to be my career to see through to my end of service. There are less and less of us as the years pass by.
At some point the MET will commission some expensive review wondering where it all went wrong.
By then those that signed off all of this change or who turned a blind eye to it or were collecting tickets upstairs will have moved on.....as they do.
As I said at the top... its all rather sad as it happens......