I have been posted with probationer officers regularly for quite some time. Most have been great, a couple have been complete nightmares, and a couple have left the job since.
Not due to being posted with me, I hasten to add.
Because of that, it's a nice experience to spend time with less fresh officers.
I actually like going out with probationers, but occasionally it's relaxing to know that I don't have to worry about what the other copper with me is doing, and can just trust them to get on with the job.
I recently had an Aid requirement which was like this - for non Met officers, 'Aid' is when you are sent off borough to Aid other areas or departments with your presence, such as football aid, festivals, protests and the like.
For perhaps the only time I've ever had this, our entire serial of officers (one, three and twenty one) was bereft of probationers, full of skilled and capable officers.
An error on duties part, I'm sure.
Because of this, despite being a very long winded, busy, and violent type of aid, it was also paradoxically one of the most relaxing and straight forward.
Every time we piled into a crowd to stop a fight, I knew that my oppo would be with me. I knew that when we went into a violent situation single file I didn't have to worry about a copper getting lost, or being unable to deal with the situation.
I knew that when we were facing off, hugely outnumbered against a drunken heaving crowd, I wouldn't have to worry about anyone saying the wrong thing to someone in the crowd.
I mentioned this last point to a good mate of mine on my carrier, as we faced off against the braying crowd in question. He had to raise his visor to hear me, so I had to repeat myself.
"Hmmm" came his answer, followed by a thoughtful expression. This was not what I had expected. "What? Don't you agree?"
Another thoughtful face.
"Well now Area, yes, in theory I do. But instead of a half dozen probationer officers guaranteed to say or do the wrong thing, we have you instead."
Outrage. This from someone I had considered a friend, for years. "I resent that suggestion, and demand an apology."
"Area, you're a nice fella, but you know as well as I do that the public order manual has nothing about bringing a packet of joke sweets to work and offering them to the other coppers on your serial. It has even less about offering said sweets to crowds of thugs. Do us a favour, I want to get home before daylight tonight. Just shush..."